In a statement on its website, Copenhagen-based video game development studio IO Interactive announced Ryan Barnard’s hiring as gameplay director on its new episodic “Hitman” title, which launched the same week as “The Division.” Barnard will oversee three of the teams at IO that will be constructing the game over the course of 2016.
Barnard was an employee at Ubisoft Massive in Malmo, Sweden (located across the Oresund Strait from Copenhagen), where he worked for four and a half years and was the boss on “The Division” for three, according to his LinkedIn page, which notes that the end of his tenure at Massive came in February.
It’s a high-profile loss for Massive, particularly coming at the conclusion of pre-release work on “The Division,” the biggest new release of 2016 thus far. “The Division” was originally planned for launch in 2014 but was pushed repeatedly to this year, with numerous rumors of hiccups behind the scenes along the way as several other Ubisoft studios were brought in to aid in production.
When reached for comment, a Ubisoft spokesperson issued the following statement to TheWrap: “We thank Ryan for his contributions to The Division and we wish him all the best. He was a part of the team that made The Division an incredible success for Ubisoft, and that team is continuing to focus on delivering the best experience for players who are enjoying the game and taking part in the game‘s community.”