Amazon's Gaming Division Loses Three Key Figures

Update 2: Clint Hocking returns to Ubisoft after five years at three other companies.

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[Update 2] Clint Hocking, the director of numerous triple-A projects including Far Cry 2, has returned to Ubisoft after a five-year spell away. Since leaving the publisher in 2010, Hocking bounced between LucasArts, Valve, and finally Amazon. He returns to his erstwhile employer as creative director at Ubisoft Toronto.

[Update 1] It's been brought to our attention that, in addition to Hocking and Nylund, Amazon principal game designer Jonathan Hamel has also left the company. He joined Amazon in April 2014, coming to the company after spending more than five years at Tomb Raider studio Crystal Dynamics.

The original story is below.

Amazon Game Studios, the retailer's internal division dedicated to video games, has lost a pair of its highest-profile employees. Industry veterans Clint Hocking and Eric Nylund have left the company.

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Hocking joined Amazon in early 2014 alongside Portal designer Kim Swift. He came to the company after more than a decade at Ubisoft, where he worked on Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Far Cry 2. Following his run at Ubisoft, Hocking worked at Valve and LucasArts on unannounced projects.

It was never clear what Hocking was working on at Amazon. He only confirmed that he had joined the company as a senior game designer for an unspecified project. IGN first reported Hocking's departure.

The other Amazon key hire who has now left the company is Eric Nylund, whose LinkedIn profile states that he quit in July 2015. Nylund, who spent more than 13 years at Microsoft working on the Halo franchise and others, originally joined Amazon as its director of narrative design in July 2013.

Nylund worked at Amazon as its narrative director for first- and second-party games. His job was to lead the "effort to create and manage the story of multiple game titles, create new intellectual properties, and develop connected media strategies for proprietary platfroms."

Amazon Game Studios has published a number of mobile games, including the latest game from Prey developer Human Head. But the company might now being eyeing another platform. Earlier this summer, a job listing suggested the company was working on an "ambitious" PC game. The company also acquired Killer Instinct developer Double Helix and bought video streaming site Twitch.

This past weekend, The New York Times published an in-depth feature about the working conditions inside of Amazon, but it's unclear if the departure of Hocking and Nylund is in any way related. They have not announced any future plans, but we'll have those details for you as they become available.

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