Alexis Kennedy leaving Failbetter Games

Co-founder, CEO, and creative director of Sunless Sea studio moving on, will "probably found another studio eventually"

Failbetter Games has been the best kind of success, but co-founder, CEO, and creative director Alexis Kennedy today announced it's time for him to move on.

As he explained in a post on the studio's website, "We've built something that's changed the world, ever so slightly. But it's been seven years in one place, and I'm too busy running the company to do enough of the creative work I love. So, rather to my own surprise, once I've finished off one last project, I'm leaving.

"Failbetter is in an excellent place, and delights in an excellent team. Everything will be the same except that it will also be different. All of you are going to have a great time. Me, I'll be walking the earth like Jules in Pulp Fiction walking the earth like Caine in Kung Fu. Oh all right I mean I'll hang out my shingle as a freelancer. I have the entrepreneur's bug and I'll probably found another studio eventually, but I want to learn as much as I can from as many different kinds of project as I can, first."

The news fits with comments Kennedy made to at the Game Developers Conference earlier this year. In part of an interview that did not wind up in the published article, Kennedy talked about leaving the financial tech sector in 2009 to start Failbetter. While he was pleasantly surprised to wind up with more job security in the games industry, he also noted a downside--"not a big downside but a downside"--in the fact that despite the industry switch, he wound up managing software projects again (even if it was by his own hand).

"When I took myself off the writing team, changed my job title to creative director and said formally what I'm going to do is to organize our creative efforts, I thought, if I stay a writer, I might not have a chance to be a creative director in five years," Kennedy said. "But if I become a creative director, I can probably go back to being a writer in five years. It would be difficult to adjust again, but that door remains open. So if you have gone up through the ranks, you can always come back down. And of course, this is a phenomenon of our times. There are a lot of AAA names who jumped the fence to go out to indie pastures because they wanted more freedom."

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Latest comments (1)

Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 5 years ago
Well, you once said you didn't want to spend the rest of your life doing just one thing, and you're leaving what seems to be a very solid team behind you, so I feel no guilt at all in being totally selfish and saying


because I am so excited at the thought of you writing again. There are such beautiful unfathomables roaming around inside your head, and I really want to see what they do when they escape.
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