Take-Two Interactive has announced a major shakeup at Firaxis Games, including a new studio head and the exits of two notable leaders. On top of that, the publisher revealed that the developer is now working on the next entry in the Civilization franchise.
Heather Hazen is taking over as studio head at Firaxis, replacing Steve Martin, who is leaving after 25 years with the team. He didn’t provide a comment on his departure, but 2K President David Ismailer said he was “deeply grateful” to Martin. Meanwhile, Hazen has been chief operating officer at the developer since 2020. Before that, she served as executive producer on Fortnite, Plants vs. Zombies, and Bejeweled (at Epic and PopCap, respectively).
“I’m lucky to be working with some of the best developers in our industry, and we have plans to take the Civilization franchise to exciting new heights for our millions of players around the world,” Hazen said. “In addition, we will continue to support Marvel’s Midnight Suns with post-launch content and explore new creative projects for our teams.”
Jake Solomon, director of XCOM 2 and Midnight Suns, is also leaving Firaxis after 23 years. On Twitter, he wrote that working on those games “fulfilled two lifelong dreams.” He also expressed his thanks but seems to be embarking on something new creatively.
“I loved designing tactical turn-based games, but it’s time for other, smarter people to push that space forward,” Solomon said. “My brain is on fire with a new dream. Time to go chase it.”
This career change might explain why Solomon recently said no new XCOM was in the works at Firaxis. At the time, he stated his deep involvement in Midnight Suns was why he had no comment on the future of the strategy series.
Speaking of which, Take-Two says Firaxis will continue “to build the best strategy games on the planet.” The next Civilization game will see Ed Beach as creative director. He led design on Civilization VI, a 2016 game that is still getting support with a Leader Pass.
For more, check out GameSpot’s Midnight Suns review.