Ubisoft's Star Wars and Avatar studio boss steps down

A blue alien riding a flying lizard thing
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Massive Entertainment, also known as Ubisoft Massive, is a big studio with a lot going on. It's currently developing Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and Ubisoft's open-world Star Wars game, all while maintaining The Division 2. That's why it's potentially a pretty big deal that managing director David Polfeldt is stepping down on July 1.

"Seventeen years ago I joined a small Malmö-based indie-studio in a role that the founder defined as ‘Mister FixIt’. Little did I know what a roller-coaster adventure it would become!" Polfeldt said in a statement announcing his departure. 

"When we signed Star Wars, and finally completed our beautiful building Eden in 2020, I felt an overwhelming sense of completion, as if I had achieved everything I once dreamt of."

Polfeldt isn't actually leaving the company, however. After taking a six-month sabbatical, he will return to Ubisoft in "a new strategic role." According to an Axios report, his replacement at Massive has already been chosen, but hasn't been named yet because of some kind of legal agreement with their current employer.

Polfeldt's departure has not been connected to allegations of workplace harassment and abuse that has led to the resignations of numerous other Ubisoft executives, including chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, managing director of Ubisoft's Canadian studios Yannis Mallat, global head of human resources Cécile Cornet, and vice president Maxime Beland.

His decision to step down now is noteworthy nonetheless: Ubisoft's Avatar game was just unveiled last week, more than four years after it was first announced, while its Star Wars game is the first to follow the end of EA's ten-year exclusivity deal with Disney and carries extremely high expectations as a result. It doesn't seem like an ideal time for a shakeup in studio leadership, but Polfeldt suggested that this is actually a good time to make his move.

"Standing on the solid foundation of The Division, Avatar, Snowdrop, and Ubisoft Connect, the studio is in fantastic shape," he said. "I am exceptionally grateful for what we have accomplished together."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.