Zynga loses chief designer

Brian Reynolds out at social game company after nearly four years.

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Zynga has lost a top developer. Chief game designer Brian Reynolds has left the social game company, he announced over Twitter last night. Reynolds had spent nearly four years with the San Francisco, California-based FarmVille developer.

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It is not clear where Reynolds is headed next or if he will be replaced at Zynga.

Reynolds founded Zynga's Baltimore, Maryland studio, which released FrontierVille in June 2010. His principal game credits also include CityVille 2 and FrontierVille: Pioneer Trail.

Prior to joining Zynga in May 2009, Reynolds was a founder of Civilization studio Firaxis Games. He left Firaxis in late 1999 and founded Big Huge Games with three partners. At that company, he was lead designer on Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends, before negotiating a sale to THQ in January 2008.

It has been tough going at Zynga of late. The company enacted a major round of layoffs in October, has seen numerous top-level staff defections in the past year, and faces a high-profile lawsuit from Electronic Arts.

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