Square Enix Head of Product Development and Western Studios Darrell Gallagher has left his position at Crystal Dynamics after a decade of maintaining his post. He has already been replaced by studio veterans Scot Amos and Ron Rosenberg in a transition that Square Enix described as “seamless.”
Over the course of 2015, Square Enix’s Western development studios have seen a lot of positive praise. Crystal Dynamic’s own Rise of the Tomb Raider did well for itself critically despite launching on the same day as Fallout 4, and Lara Croft GO turned out to be quite the surprise hit on smartphones, nabbing the Best Mobile Game category at The Game Awards.
Just Cause 3 saw a bit of a rough launch, but there has to be a solid game buried somewhere under all the game destroying bugs and crippling loading times. And then there is Life is Strange, another one of 2015’s surprise hits that seemed to come out of nowhere. Let’s not forget 2016 either, which sees us leading into Hitman and one of the most anticipated games of the year, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
All of these were created under Gallagher’s watch, and he has been especially praised for putting the Tomb Raider franchise back on track. Square Enix Western CEO Phil Rogers issued a statement today thanking him for his hard work.
“Today Darrell Gallagher announced that he is moving on from Square Enix at the end of this year. Darrell became head of Crystal Dynamics back in 2009, led that studio to reboot the Tomb Raider franchise, and for the last 3 years he has led our western studios. I want to thank him for his tremendous effort and contribution to Square Enix, along with the amazing entertainment he has helped create. I am sad to see him go but respect his decision and we should all celebrate the sheer blood, sweat and tears he has put into our company over the last 10 years! We are excited for him and his family on their next chapter. We wish them the best of luck in the future.”
Over the last few years, Square Enix’s Western studios have really come into their own. I’ll probably forever see the company as “a JRPG powerhouse,” but the symbiotic relationship between East and West it has created is unlike any other in the video game industry. I’m hoping its new leadership can help build on that even further.