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Dungeon Defenders studio snares former LucasArts president as CEO

Former president of LucasArts Darrell Rodriguez joins Dungeon Defenders franchise developer Trendy Entertainment this week as its new CEO, the studio announced today.

Leaving his position as chief creative officer at gaming giant IGT, the new CEO told GamesIndustry that he aims to "empower other developers to create experiences using Playverse," Trendy's cross-platform game network that is used in its Dungeon Defender titles. He added that Trendy is "certainly not a single game company" and will expand its portfolio by developing new IPs using the Playverse technology.

"I am here to empower the developers at Trendy to achieve their amazing vision, technology, and creativity," Rodriguez wrote on the studio's official blog. "I am here so we can continue to build games you will love and create technology that will empower other independent developers to take their games to a place they could not have otherwise gone. Like everyone at Trendy, I am a big believer in collaborating with you, our community. So I'm also here to build systems to empower, to better listen to you and to make your input a reality in the games we make."

Rodriguez questioned fans, that as funding is tight as an independent developer, would they be interested in using crowdfunding campaigns to fund the development of a game's expansion and additional content.

"The Kickstarter concept of voting with your wallet to fund products you would like to see built has been popular for many independent studios so far," he wrote. "What are your thoughts on using this concept, not to fund a game, but to grow and expand one? For example, would you chip in with other players to help create new features or content for everyone to play as opposed to just buying content for yourself?"

An investigation by Kotaku last year chronicling anonymous complaints and anecdotes from nine people associated with the studio, revealed allegations of bullying, sexism and mismanagement at Trendy Entertainment. Rodriguez told GamesIndustry that he's "impressed with the huge cultural shift Trendy has already undertaken" and he aims to continue the process of cultivating a more welcoming work environment as CEO.

Rodriguez succeeded Jim Ward as LucasArts president when he resigned in 2008. During his tenure, Trendy's new CEO oversaw the launches of titles such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. Paul Meegan took over for Rodriguez when he left LucasArts in May 2010.

Prior to joining LucasArts, Rodriguez held positions at Disney Online as director of production operations, EA Canada's assistant chief operating officer and EA Los Angeles' chief operating officer.