NBA Jam, NFL Blitz creator joins Zynga - Report

[UPDATE] EA Sports confirms architect of classic arcade-style sports games Mark Turmell's departure from Tiburon studio to join FarmVillve creator.

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EA Sports' Tiburon branch is having a tough time holding onto its talent. In March, Madden series creative director Ian Cummings and EA Sports CTO Richard Wifall left the studio, followed by Madden executive producer Phil Frazier, who jumped ship last month. Now, another prominent EA Sports staffer has reportedly left the developer.

Mark Turmell.
Mark Turmell.

According to gaming blog Kotaku, EA Sports senior creative director Mark Turmell has left the publisher's Tiburon studio for a position at FarmVille creator Zynga. Turmell--who joined EA Sports just last year--created the arcade sports franchises NBA Jam and NFL Blitz, as well as the arcade game Smash TV. As of press time, neither Zynga nor EA Sports had responded to GameSpot's requests for comment on the matter.

If Turmell does in fact move to Zynga, he will join ex-Electronic Arts COO John Schappert, who was hired by the social game house in late April. Zynga is the creator of the wildly popular casual games FarmVille, CityVille, and Mafia Wars, which are played on the Facebook social network. The game company recently went public, valued in the range of $15 billion to $20 billion.

[UPDATE] EA Sports has confirmed Turmell's departure from the Tiburon studio, telling GameSpot in a statement, "We appreciate Mark's contribution to Tiburon and EA Sports and wish him well in future endeavors."

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