Zynga chief game designer leaving company

Zynga's chief game designer and acclaimed developer Brian Reynolds is leaving the company, Zynga officials tell Polygon.

Three sources originally confirmed Reynolds' departure to Polygon, but a Zynga official initially denied the reports. A company official has since released a statement confirming Polygon's story.

"Brian has a long history in the game industry and has been a great partner to the creative leaders at Zynga," Steve Chiang, President of Games said in a prepared statement to Polygon. "I want to thank him for his leadership of the Zynga Baltimore studio in the design and development of FrontierVille, which brought many innovations to social gaming. We appreciate Brian's contribution and we're proud of the deep bench of creative leaders who are leading the next wave of game innovation at Zynga. We wish Brian the best in his next chapter."

Zynga officials declined to say when Reynold's last day is or if he has already departed the company. A Zynga official did tell Polygon that there are no immediate plans to appoint a new chief game designer, but that could happen in the future. Tim LeTourneau, who was promoted to Zynga's chief creative officer last fall, will likely step into the role in the meantime.

Reynolds joined Zynga in 2009, stepping away from his role as CEO and creative director at Big Huge Games, shortly after the company was acquired by 38 Studios.

Reynolds was initially hired to found and head up Zynga East in Baltimore and help create new social games with a "strategic emphasis." Reynolds, whose game development portfolio includes Civilization 2, Alpha Centauri and Rise of Nations, went on to help develop Frontierville and Cityville 2 for Zynga.

Last year Zynga suffered a series of high-profile departures which included chief operating officer John Schappert, chief creative officer Mike Verdu, chief security officer Nils Puhlmann, chief technical officer of infrastructure Allan Leinwand, OMGPOP chief revenue officer Wilson Griegel and Words With Friends co-creators David and Paul Bettner. Zynga chief financial officer David Wehner was the most recent departure, leaving the company in Nov. 13

While Reynolds did not respond for requests for comment, he did take to Twitter to confirm his pending departure.

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