Raphael Colantonio, the founder of Arkane Studios and creative director on Dishonored and Prey, has announced that he is leaving the studio "to to spend some time with my son and reflect on what is important to me and my future."
"The last 18 years have been an amazing adventure—from starting Arkane in 1999, to making our first game, Arx Fatalis, to joining ZeniMax Media in 2010 and releasing the Dishonored series and Prey to critical acclaim," Colantonio wrote in his farewell message. "I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest people in the industry, and I feel extremely lucky to have been part of this journey with everyone at Arkane."
Colantonio said he will stick around "for as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition to the new management team in Lyon," while is "long-time friend and colleague" Harvey Smith will head up Arkane's Austin operation. He also praised ZeniMax, which acquired Arkane in 2010, for giving it the opportunity "to emerge as a world-class studio."
"ZeniMax enabled us to make the best games that we’ve ever made," he said. "And I know there is even more to come."
Colantonio's departure is significant, because he's headed up nearly every game Arkane has made: Before Dishonored put the studio into the big leagues, he was the lead designer on Arx Fatalis (which you really should play if you haven't) and writer and creative director on the criminally-underrated Orc-booting sim Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. He's certainly earned the right to take a break and do something new, but it's a real loss for Arkane and gamers alike.