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Firefall dev Red 5 replaces CEO

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Mark Kern, co-founder of Firefall developer Red 5 Studios, has been replaced in his role as the company's CEO, a Red 5 representative confirmed to Polygon today.

Kern was replaced yesterday, Dec. 19, by Red 5's vice president of development, James Macauley, who is now serving as acting CEO. The news was first reported today by Game Front, which obtained an internal email that Macauley reportedly sent to all Red 5 employees in which he explained that Kern was ousted as CEO by the studio's board of directors.

"Effective immediately Mark will no longer have any authority to act for or on behalf of Red 5 Studios," said Macauley in the email. "As one of the founders of Red 5 Studios and our leader for many, many years, we owe Mark a great deal of appreciation for all that he has done to help build this company and to set the vision for an incredible new game. I am personally grateful for my relationship with Mark and the many years I have worked with him."

Matt DeWald, a producer at Red 5, confirmed Kern's replacement in an email to Polygon and added, "The team at Red 5 continues work on Firefall and looks forward to all that we have to offer in 2014." In a follow-up email, DeWald clarified that Kern remains an employee of Red 5 for the time being, saying, "The terms of Mark's continuing employment are still under discussion between Red 5 Studios, [parent company] The9 and Mark."

Kern co-founded Red 5 in 2006 after spending more than seven years at Blizzard Entertainment working on games such as StarCraft, StarCraft 64 and World of Warcraft. He had served as Red 5's CEO since 2009. Red 5 has been working on Firefall, a massively multiplayer online shooter, since its inception; the game is currently in open beta.

Correction: This article originally referred to Red 5's acting CEO as Jeremy Macauley. His name is James, not Jeremy. We've edited the story to fix the error.

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