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In a surprising twist that I don't think anyone saw coming, Runic Games co-founder, ex-Mythos designer, and ex-FATE creator Travis Baldree as well as ex-Diablo, ex-Diablo II, and ex-Hellgate: London designer Erich Schaefer have announced their departure from the studio to pursue new interests in indepedent game development under the roof of Double Damage Games. It's unclear what they'll be working on, but Erich's brother Max has weighed in, too:
I have a little something I'd like to share. It is with the strangest mixture of elation, fondness, fear, and bitter-sweetness that I'm announcing my departure from Runic Games, a company which I co-founded nearly six years ago, and have led as its President and lead engineer ever since.
I should say from the outset that this is an amicable departure, that I consider the amazing team at Runic my friends and family, and that it is a privilege that they've let me get away with running the place for this long. I love them all, and the biggest downside to all of this is that I won't get to see them every day. They are the reason that Runic has succeeded, and are the best group of people you could hope to meet or work with.
I feel more than confident in their ability to continue to excel, drawing on all of their collective talent. I'm excited for the world to see the project they are working on now, and I know it will be spectacular when you get to play it for yourselves.
I'd also like to thank Perfect World, who have been the best partner Runic Games could have hoped to find, and have been unfailingly supportive of us over the years, no matter how many curveballs I have thrown their way. It's my wish that I can maintain a great relationship with you all going forward.
Erich Schaefer, my friend and fellow Runic co-founder, will be departing Runic as well as my equal partner. I'm so gratified to be able to continue working with him.
I'm personally excited - oh, hell, I'm SUPER-STOKED - to be getting back to smaller-scale development, where I can wear many, many hats performing many, many different kinds of tasks. Working within the boundaries of limited means and resources is the best fun I've ever had, and that sort of work satisfies me in a fundamental way - I can't wait to be working that way again.
To those of you who have played our games, interacted with us on our forums, met us at trade-shows, and Tweeted/Facebooked/social-media'ed with us over the years, I want to thank you all. You have helped to make this a rewarding journey for me, and I hope the same holds true for you.
April 2nd will be my last day at Runic, as I tie up some last technical tasks for the team, and then it's on to the next thing! I hope to see you all again soon, online, or maybe at one of those trade-shows.
Okay, if this goes on too much longer I'm gonna burst into tears-
Don't be a stranger!
Hello Runic community,
Yes, it's true. Our beloved President and lead key-masher, Travis Baldree, is leaving us, as is Erich Schaefer, my brother and long-time biz partner. As Travis said in his statement, this is a perfectly amicable parting, and we wish them nothing but the best in their new endeavor. I'm sure we'll all be watching and waiting for what they make next. It's sure to be wonderful.
Meanwhile, the rest of us here at Runic are excited to move on and continue to work on this crazy, cool, completely secret project we've been working on. We're champing at the bit to talk about it, but will wait until we're ready to show it off. Travis' right-hand man for over ten years, Marsh Lefler, has seamlessly moved into the lead chair at Runic, and after we've sent Travis and Erich off in a bourbon-fueled celebration/wake, you'll find that Marsh is more than capable of taking the reins, and the other 20-something Runic members all eager and able to pull the extra weight. Change is scary, but it's often good. And this is healthy for both Runic, and Travis and Erich.
From all of us at Runic Games, we thank Travis and Erich for the incredible body of work they leave behind, for the legacy that they left with us, and for making Runic Games what it is today. Best of luck to both of them in their new crazy downsizing scheme, but they won't need it. They will do just fine, as they always have. And to all of you out there, thank you for supporting us, and continuing to support us as we move into a future full of unknowns, excitement, adventure, and most of all, great games!
CEO, Runic Games