David Braben was the CEO of Frontier Developments, responsible for Elite: Dangerous, Planet Coaster and other famous sagas.
After nearly 30 years and successes such as Elite: Dangerous, Planet Coaster and Jurassic World Evolution, David Braben has decided that after 28 years, he had better step aside and step down as CEO of Frontier Developments, which has become a world-famous development studio thanks in large part to his leadership.
Braben will continue in a different role at Frontier.
According to Games Industry, Braben will not leave the company entirely but will take on a different role, with Jonny Wats, the studio’s creative director, taking over. “Frontier is significant to me, and I am delighted to be able to pass on my CEO responsibilities to the exceptionally talented Jonny Watts, who I know will do a terrific job,” said Braben.
“He has the perfect combination of creative leadership and gaming vision to build on the excellent momentum in the business,” continued Braben. “I am looking forward to my new role at Frontier, and this change enables me to focus on our longer-term strategic opportunities.”
Braben, the co-creator of the 1984 space simulator Elite, will continue to keep his hand on the steering wheel, according to Frontier, “retaining his leadership and vision for Frontier’s strategic direction, whilst maintaining and building key relationships within the games industry and the wider digital entertainment sector.”
This is still a significant change for one of the UK’s most essential and longest-established game studios.
Braben founded Frontier Developments in 1994, a year after the release of Frontier: Elite 2, and has remained at the helm ever since. In 2015, he received the Pioneer Award at GDC for his work on the Elite series, and in the same year, he was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship “in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games.”
If you look at the list of games developed by Frontiers Developments over the years, you’ll see that they’re a pretty big studio, especially in the PC world, but on 30 August, they’ll also be releasing a new console title, F1 Manager 2022, which will put you in control of an official Formula 1 team.