After months of rumors that his role was in flux, Warren Spector has decided to leave Ion Storm. British publisher Eidos, which owns Ion Storm, the studio behind the Deus Ex and Thief franchises, confirmed Spector's departure to GameSpot today. Eidos announces that Warren Spector has relinquished his role as studio director at Ion Storm," said a spokesperson for the publisher.
However, the same spokesperson was eager to emphasize that Spector will not sever his ties completely with Eidos. "Warren has chosen to pursue personal interests outside the company, but he will continue to work for Eidos as an IP consultant. His insight and expertise is highly valued by Eidos, and the company looks forward to continuing its relationship with Warren in his new role.
The "new role" mentioned by Eidos' rep will likely be his further advice on the upcoming Tomb Raider game, the development for which he was reportedly overseeing at another Eidos-owned studio, Crystal Dynamics. The new Tomb Raider, the seventh in the series, is due out next summer.
As soon as news spread of Spector's departure, speculation began to spread about the motivation behind it. In fact, said speculation was already widespread at the Austin Games Conference, where a well-placed source told GameSpot that Spector was rumored to be in negotiations to head up a new development studio Midway was establishing in Austin. Shortly thereafter, Midway bought Inevitable Entertainment, developer of its upcoming Area 51, and renamed it Midway Studios Austin.
As for Spector, attempts to contact him for comment on his exit from Eidos were unsuccessful as of press time.