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Report: EA loses lead developer for top-secret AAA social game

EA executive producer Catharina Mallet, who was in charge of one of the publisher's biggest and most secretive social game projects, has reportedly stepped down to take a new job.
For the past several years, EA has reportedly been working on an important top-secret project: a big-budget social game that would allow the company's Playfish division to go toe-to-toe with Zynga. That project recently encountered a bit of a hiccup, however, as the project's lead has allegedly left EA for a new job. Business Insider reports that the former executive producer Catharina Mallet was put in charge of this top-secret Zynga killer to help EA gain some much-needed traction in the social market. Thus far, EA has not shared any details about this new project (nor has it officially acknowledged its existence), but Business Insider claims that the major game is intended to help EA recover from the $400 million it spent to buy Playfish back in 2009. Mallet originally joined the EA-owned Playfish in 2010 as a project manager, and quickly ascended the ranks to lead this unannounced social initiative. Neither Mallet nor EA have announced where she is headed now that she has stepped down. Mallet's recent departure is only the latest in a string of major losses for the company over the past several years. Other major employees to step down include general manager and vice president John Earner, common technology lead Dan Borthwick, and co-founders Sami Lababidi and Sebastien de Halleux. [Update: On Monday, rival social game company King.com revealed that it has recruited Mallet to head up a newly-formed development team in London. King.com expects this division to eventually house roughly 40 employees, and under Mallet's supervision, they will develop new casual and social titles for the major European publisher.]

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