David Polfeldt, former managing director for Massive Entertainment, is leaving the company permanently at the end of a 6-month notice period.
Massive Entertainment, the Sweden based subsidiary to Ubisoft, is the studio responsible for games like The Division and an upcoming Star Wars title. Beginning as a small studio, Massive Entertainment now employs over 750 people in all aspects of game design, though some original developers now feel their talents aren’t as effective in a studio of such size.
The company’s size has legitimized the studio as a major gaming force thanks in large part to its work on Tom Clancy’s The Division. This is reflected in the size and scale of its AAA titles and the third-party properties the studio is now entrusted with, such as the upcoming Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, and Star Wars.
The former managing director of the studio, David Polfeldt, has revealed that he will now be leaving the company permanently at the end of his 6-month notice period. Originally Polfeldt was meant to be moving into a new strategic role in the company, but speaking to Nathan Brown for their Hit Points newsletter, Polfeldt revealed this was not to be the case. Instead, the veteran developer will be going “wherever the wind takes me.”
During the interview David Polfeldt explained his approach to game design and managing teams of developers. Polfeldt says this approach was related to his reasons for leaving the company, stating; “I think my philosophy and my skills work well for a certain kind of group of a certain kind of size.” While a studio size of 750 people is still small compared to Ubisoft’s flagship studio in Montreal which has a 3500+ employee count, it is still far from the indie-level Massive Entertainment Polfeldt first joined 17 years ago.
Polfeldt’s indie sensibilities and experience as the managing director of a major games studio could see him joining, or even starting a smaller studio to build up the same way Massive Entertainment did. There has been a trend lately of industry veterans such as Ikumi Nakamura starting their own smaller studios and, in an industry currently dominated by billion dollar buy-outs, the more mid-size studios filling the space between indie and AAA the better.
It’s a busy time at Massive Entertainment for it to be losing a major development head, with several games either upcoming or in development. Such as Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, which is scheduled for release in April 2023, or the new Star Wars title which is reportedly still in early development, meaning there is at least a few more years of work still to do on the project. Although there is probably very rarely a quiet time for a managing director at a major Ubisoft studio to slip out the door.
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