Rod Humble, the former CEO of Second Life studio Linden Labs and, prior to that, an executive vice president and head of The Sims label at EA, will head up a new California-based studio for Paradox Interactive called Paradox Tectonic. The studio will lead development of a brand new game for Paradox, details of which—big surprise—will be announced later.
"Our aim with Paradox Tectonic is to create open, fun, beautiful games which respect the players' intelligence and enables their creativity, freedom, emotion, and sharing," Humble said. "It’s a privilege to be reunited with so many world-class colleagues from so many triple-A projects, and the team and I are delighted to join Paradox and be part of driving the company’s next cycle of growth. Our shared values of quality and putting the customer first made Paradox the perfect fit for us."
Humble's time in the videogame business also includes a stint as the director of development on Everquest and a handful of expansions. But the "big theory" around these parts (which I must credit to the PCG UK team, whose musings I am shamelessly ripping off) is that it's his Sims experience that Paradox is after. The SimCity-like Cities: Skylines is one of Paradox's most successful (and mainstream) games but it doesn't have a comparable Sims-style series, so pushing into that seems like a natural move.
Humble's experience would also fit well with Paradox's habit of releasing multiple expansions and add-ons for its games: The Sims 3, for instance, was followed by 11 expansions, nine "stuff packs," and various bits and pieces of premium content offered through The Sims 3 Store.
"Rod Humble and his team bring a wealth of experience and a studio leader who has led work on games that have shaped the industry several times over," Paradox CEO Ebba Ljungerud said. "We hope to have some earth-shaking news to share from the Tectonic team soon."