2K announced today that industry veteran and Firaxis Games chief operating officer, Heather Hazen, will take over as studio director. This begins a new era in the development of the legendary interactive entertainment studio behind Sid Meier's Civilization, XCOM and the recently released and critically acclaimed Marvel's Midnight Suns.
As Studio Head, Hazen will coordinate Firaxis Games' development teams and execute on the studio's mission to create the best strategy games in the world. With 22 years of experience in the games and entertainment industry, Hazen joined Firaxis Games in 2020 as the studio's Chief Operating Officer. Prior to that, she was Executive Producer on Fortnite at Epic Games and Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled at PopCap Games. Hazen's promotion comes at a time when Firaxis' longtime Studio Head Steve Martin is leaving the studio after more than 25 years.
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"We are delighted to welcome Heather Hazen as the new Studio Head of Firaxis Games and we believe she will continue to build on the success Firaxis has consistently achieved as part of 2K's independent studio model," said David Ismailer, President of 2K. “2K and Firaxis Games are deeply grateful for the foundation Steve Martin laid during his time at the studio overseeing more than 30 game releases across three genre-defining series, and for providing Heather with a smooth transition into her new one role made possible. Firaxis is one of the most respected studios in our company and in the industry, and we are confident that the team will continue to achieve great things under her leadership.”
"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to continue the studio's storied legacy, beginning with the announcement that Firaxis is working on the next installment in the iconic Civilization franchise," said Hazen. “I'm fortunate to work with some of the best developers in our industry, and we plan to take the Civilization series to new heights for our millions of players around the world. Additionally, we will continue to support Marvel's Midnight Suns with post-launch content and explore new creative projects for our teams."
Ed Beach will continue in his role as creative director for the upcoming Civilization. Beach has been involved in the development of Civilization titles for more than 15 years, most recently leading the design of Civilization VI, the best-selling Civilization game to date. With more than 65 million copies sold, the Civilization series is one of the most important and award-winning series in the gaming industry.
In addition, Jake Solomon, former creative director of the XCOM series and of Marvel's Midnight Suns, left the studio. Solomon is leaving the studio after over two decades at Firaxis Games and was instrumental in reviving the tactical turn-based genre with the releases of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 and Marvel's Midnight Suns.
"I'm starting a new chapter, but I'm incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue my dreams at Firaxis Games," says Solomon. "I am grateful to everyone who enjoys XCOM and Marvel's Midnight Suns, as well as my development and publishing partners who helped bring these games to life."
"Jake revolutionized tactical turn-based gaming and continued to raise the bar for storytelling in the strategy genre," adds Ismailer. "We deeply appreciate his work and can't wait to see what he does next."
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