Stuart Black is apparently set to depart Codemasters in October. The move is a surprise, given that Black has been working on the upcoming release of Bodycount, a FPS title that many believe is Black’s spiritual successor to the Criterion title, Black, which he also developed.
While our sources say that specific information is sketchy, it is known that Black has apparently transferred the responsibility of demoing the product to a colleague so that he can finish completing the design for Bodycount. While Black is apparently departing in October, Codemasters has been quick to point out that the 80-member team at the studio isn’t going anywhere and that development will continue.
We have heard whispers that Black’s departure might be in some way connected to the recent departure of Tom Gillo, a long-time colleague of Black and the executive producer of the Bodycount project. It is unclear why Gillo departed. Andrew Wilson, who was the senior producer on the Bodycount team, will apparently pick up at least some of Black’s responsibilities.
While those in the shadows talk about some post-E3 unhappiness over the reception of Bodycount by the media, this is being denied; and apparently Codemasters is telling anyone that will listen that they are pleased with the press response to Bodycount. It is suggested that this unhappiness about Bodycount is what has driven Black from the project. However, our sources say that despite the rough demo at E3 that was plagued with some technical glitches that you would not expect from a title at this point in its development cycle, Black was still committed to the project until now.
Codemasters has a lot riding on Bodycount, as the company was hopeful that this new title would establish a new FPS franchise for the publisher that the company was planning to grow forward. While most previews of the title at E3 were positive, apparently this has not stopped some from suggesting that the title is in crisis. With Black’s departure, it is hard to know what the end product will be like when Bodycount is released. Still, we are hopeful that it will be the spiritual successor to Black; and we still think the title has that ability, even with Black’s departure from the project.