Rocksteady co-founders and studio heads Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker have officially announced their departure from the company, with their roles being filled by Rocksteady director of production Nathan Burlow and Darius Sadeghian. In a letter posted on Rocksteady’s website, Hill and Walker didn’t provide any reasons for their departure, but they did thank their staff and fans for the support shown over the years.
“There is something extra special about Rocksteady that goes beyond the games we make, and everyone who works here feels it,” Hill and Walker wrote. “It’s the incredible moments that we’ve shared over the years, the friendships made, and the care this team has for each other that have made this unforgettable journey so special.”
What is worth noting here is that Hill and Walker mentioned starting “a new adventure together” in games, so it looks like they won’t be leaving the industry just yet.
Rocksteady Studios became a household name after it released Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009, essentially becoming the go-to studio for DC titles since then as a Warner Bros. Games subsidiary. Arkham Asylum was followed by Batman: Arkham City in 2011, Batman: Arkham Knight in 2015, and Batman: Arkham VR in 2016. The studio is currently working on Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and is aiming for a 2023 release.
Back in 2020, allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior dating back several years had surfaced online in a report, and Rocksteady was accused of failing to address these issues. Since then, the company has claimed that improvements have been made, and in the departure post, it mentioned how a more positive culture has been established where “people can just be themselves and together make great games.”
Warner Bros. has also gone through a turbulent time recently, after it was merged with Discovery. Amidst massive rounds of cost-cutting that saw the completed Batgirl movie canceled, TV shows shelved, and massive layoffs, reports began circulating that the company’s gaming division could be sold off. As far back as 2020, it was rumored that previous Warner Bros. owner AT&T was looking to sell Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in a deal that was valued at up to $4 billion, with Take-Two, EA, Activision Blizzard, and Comcast have all reportedly expressing interest.
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