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Double Fine’s publishing boss leaves just months after Microsoft acquisition

Just months after it was acquired by Microsoft, Double Fine’s business development VP, Greg Rice, has announced he’s leaving the company.

Taking to his personal Twitter account (thanks, VGC), Rice confirmed that while he’d been at the studio for almost ten years in various roles, he was now moving on from leading the company’s publishing business, Double Fine Presents.

“Here’s something I never thought I’d say, yesterday was my last day at Double Fine,” Rice wrote on Twitter. “It’s been a dream come true working with the world’s greatest human [Tim Schafer] and the crew of incredibly talented, caring, wonderful people he’s assembled at Double Fine for the last decade.

“I’m so proud of all the amazing things we’ve accomplished and really really sad to leave, but am comforted to be leaving them in a great spot with Psychonauts 2 looking amazing and the Microsoft sale ensuring many many more of the insanely creative games you’ve come to expect.

“But for now, I’m going to enjoy these final moments with some of my best friends of all time and try not to dissolve into a puddle,” he added.

Though he concluded with a tease that he’s “got something really cool lined up, still in games, and am excited about the future”, Rice did not expand on his next steps.

Microsoft announced it was acquiring Schafer’s studio, Double Fine Productions, at E3 2019. At the time, Double Fine boss Time Schafer admitted the future of the studio’s publishing division was uncertain, saying: “How Double Fine Presents will evolve is kind of an unknown. It doesn’t make sense to do exactly the kind of publishing stuff if we can’t do it – like, if the platforms are limited. From a business sense, I don’t know if it structurally makes sense to have a publisher within [another publisher]. It’s a complicated issue.

“Whether or not we’re still hands-on publishing those games ourselves, we can still be fulfilling that mission of just helping indie devs even though we’re a part of Microsoft,” Schafer added at the time. “We can also still do things like Day of the Devs which is another part of Double Fine Presents that helps elevate 70 or 80 games, and we let people come meet those developers and play those games, and it’s free to the public.”

The acquisition brings the total number of development studios now working under the Xbox Game Studios brand to 15, joining Obsidian Entertainment and inXile as well as the other acquisitions Microsoft publicised at E3 2018 when it added no less than four new studios – Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, and Compulsion Games – to its first-party lineup, as well as establishing new studio, The Initiative.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond.

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