Rocksteady Studios co-founders Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker have announced that they are departing from the studio.
This news comes as a bit of a surprise, both because Hill was the director of the studio's upcoming game, Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, and because both were original founders of the studio and masterminds behind its popular Batman Arkham series. Nonetheless, it seems the two are leaving Rocksteady amicably at the end of the year with confidence in the team they're leaving behind to carry Suicide Squad across the finish line.
Here is the statement in full:
I have some important news to share with you about Rocksteady Studios. Co-founders and studio heads Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker have made the decision to leave the studio. We are very proud to have worked alongside Jamie and Sefton, who have led their talented teams to create some of the best games in the world. From the critically acclaimed hit Batman Arkham franchise to their evolutionary thinking with Suicide Squad, they have been great leaders of the team. Visiting Rocksteady Studios has always been a highlight for me personally – the attention to detail, the energy of the people and a sense of what it is like to be in a high performing studio. They have committed to the highest quality and excellence across all facets of game development while ensuring an outstanding culture of caring for their employees. With Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League nearly finished, they have both decided to leave Rocksteady at the end of 2022 and will begin a new adventure in gaming. We have the utmost respect and gratitude for Jamie and Sefton and wish them all the best in their new endeavor, and like many fans, we look forward to what they do next.
Rocksteady is very well-positioned with veteran studio leadership being elevated to oversee the team. We are extremely pleased to announce that Nathan Burlow, long time Rocksteady Director of Production and original founding member of the studio, will step up into the role of Studio Director and Darius Sadeghian will take the reigns as Studio Product Director. Nathan and Darius are extremely talented executives and they are passionate about continuing the high-quality game development of Rocksteady for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and all future games.
It is best to hear from Jamie and Sefton as well as Nathan and Darius directly, so they have shared their thoughts below:
“Our decision to leave Rocksteady was emotional to say the least! From the day we founded the company in 2004 all the way to today, Rocksteady has been our life and soul. It has given us the opportunity to do what we love most: make great games with exceptionally talented people. We are so proud of the team here for the games we have all made together, from our first game Urban Chaos, to the much-loved Arkham series, and now the epic Suicide Squad.
But there is something extra special about Rocksteady that goes beyond the games we make, and everyone who works here feels it. It’s the incredible moments that we've shared over the years, the friendships made, and the care this team has for each other that have made this unforgettable journey so special. We believe people wear their Rocksteady T-shirts with pride because of how we treat each other and how it feels to be here. We want to thank the team for their hard work and everything they bring to make this such a great place to be.
Some of our proudest moments happened because of this team's energy and talent: getting the chance to work with Warner Bros. and DC on Batman, the wonderful Arkham Games being way more than we could possibly have imagined, the chance to work with our some of our childhood heroes, giving back to the industry we love so much by helping budding games makers, and finally, building a culture here where people can just be themselves and together make great games.
One very special ingredient in all of this is the Rocksteady fans. Their excitement and support for what we do is the fuel that motivates us to be our best. They are the extended Rocksteady team and we wish them a huge thank you for energizing us over the last 18 years! Now with Suicide Squad in safe hands, and the team here stronger than ever, it's time to hand over the reins, and for us to start a new adventure together in games.
Nathan and Darius have proved their passion and skill at Rocksteady over many years. They are veterans of our industry and we know their commitment to Rocksteady and their talent and energy will take the team to even greater heights. We couldn't be happier that they are leading the future here and wish them all the very best."
- Jamie Walker & Sefton Hill
“Having worked with Jamie and Sefton as one of the founding members of the studio, I want to thank them for creating what I consider to be one of the best games development studios in the industry. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work alongside them and I wish them all the very best in the future. I am very passionate and honored for the opportunity to continue the leadership of Rocksteady with Darius. My goal is to support our talented, hardworking team, retaining the heart and amazing culture of the studio. We are looking forward to building upon our successes with the upcoming release of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and our future games.”
- Nathan Burlow, Studio Director
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead and support the amazing, creative and talented team at Rocksteady. Throughout my career at the studio, I have been driven by the team's passion and collaborative energy to achieve their creative vision. I want to extend my thanks to Jamie and Sefton, for all the support and guidance they have provided over the years, and for the time we have spent working closely together, which has been very special to me. My commitment and goal are to continue building upon Rocksteady’s legacy for delivering innovative and world-class game experiences.”
- Darius Sadeghian, Studio Product Director
I personally want to thank Jamie, Sefton, Nathan and Darius for all of their hard work and commitment to making this transition as strong as possible. Please join me in wishing Jamie and Sefton the best and congratulating Nathan and Darius.
As you can see, the duo will remain at Rocksteady through the end of the year before embarking on "a new adventure in gaming." Suicide Squad is due out sometime in the spring of 2023. As for Rocksteady's lineup after their departure, longtime director of production and original founding member Nathan Burlow will step up into the role of studio director, and Darius Sadeghian will take over as the studio product director.