A Top EA Exec, Patrick Soderlund, Is Leaving The Company
After a rocky year following the Star Wars Battlefront II loot box controversy, the company's chief design officer is leaving.
Patrick Soderlund, EA's chief design officer, is one of its most recognizable executives; from taking the stage at E3 to bearing the brunt of the company's recent lootbox controversy, he has been a major public face for one of the world's largest gaming companies. Now, EA has announced Soderlund is leaving the company and "will begin a new chapter later this year."
Soderlund was formerly the head of DICE, until EA acquired the company in 2006. He has played a key role in developing the Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront franchises, and is credited with helping spearhead the Frostbite engine, which continues to be used by many of EA's games. "From his early vision for Frostbite, which has now become a cornerstone for our technology strategy, to being a champion for Players First experiences, Patrick has always ensured we put creative at the center of everything we do," said CEO Andrew Wilson in a note announcing Soderlund's departure.
"He has also been unwavering in his commitment to building our pipeline of amazing new games to come, and his fingerprints will be on the experiences that we bring to players well into the future."
The move comes just before Battlefield V releases, a franchise no doubt close to Soderlund's heart, and after a year of controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II. When the game released in November 2017, there was a considerable backlash to the game's lootboxes and progression system, with many accusing EA of making it 'pay-to-win.' Soderlund spoke openly about the controversy after the company pulled in-game transactions altogether, saying EA learned a lesson it wouldn't forget. The game failed to meet sales targets, and Star Wars Battlefront II later reintroduced loot boxes, but for cosmetic items only.
Soderlund leaving will prompt some internal shakeup in the company, as well. "A few teams will move within our organization with this change. The SEED team led by Johan Andersson will join our studios group to continue driving advanced design and innovation at the leading edge of games," said WIlson.
"We're deepening our focus on user experience, and welcoming Jason Wozencroft to our studios to lead a strong, unified UX approach for our games and services. And with new games and content playing a vital role in our networked future, the EA Originals and EA Partners teams led by Rob Letts will join our Strategic Growth group." Wilson also highlighted the company's focus on its subscriptions services, saying EA is pushing forward to offer access to "more great games and content through our industry-leading subscription services."
There's no word yet as to what we'll see next from Patrick Soderlund as he takes on this "new chapter" later this year.