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Hassabis steps back as Elixir announces new game, new funding

Demis Hassabis, founder of Elixir Studios, has announced that he will be stepping down as CEO of the developer, although he will continue to act as chairman and creative director at the company, which just secured $3 million new funding.

Demis Hassabis, founder of Elixir Studios, has announced that he will be stepping down as CEO of the developer, although he will continue to act as chairman and creative director at the company, which just secured $3 million new funding.

Hassabis will be replaced as CEO by Mark Hewitt, previously European president of giant post-production firm Liberty Livewire. "Appointing a new CEO allows me to shed one of my many roles," commented Hassabis, "separate myself from the minute to minute management of Elixir, and focus more time on what I enjoy most - namely the design and creation of original, innovative games."

Indeed, the new appointment - which takes effect from June - comes just as the studio announces details not only of its new funding, but also of its second game in development.

The second game is titled Evil Genius, and is scheduled for an Autumn 2004 release through Vivendi Universal Games (or, presumably, whoever owns Vivendi Universal Games by then). The title is described as a "tongue in cheek reversal on the popular spy theme, allowing the gamer to play the part of an evil mastermind bent on world domination".

Meanwhile, the new funding, to the tune of $3 million, comes from UK-based private equity firm Lynx Capital Ventures, which is backed by the Virgin Media Group and Bear Stearns and chaired by former BBC director general Lord Birt. The cash will be used to invest in new technologies as well as funding growth at the studio.

Elixir's first game, Republic: the Revolution, is now approaching completion, and will be published via Eidos later this year.

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Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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