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Reshuffle at Dauntless dev Phoenix Labs as CEO and COO step down

CEO Jesse Houston and COO Jeanne-Marie Owens are stepping down for personal reasons.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 12, 2023

1 Min Read
Artwork depicting various characters from Phoenix Labs' projects

Phoenix Labs CEO Jesse Houston and COO Jeanne-Marie Owens are both stepping down.

GamesIndustry.biz broke the news, which has been confirmed by Phoenix Labs, and noted that Houston will remain an active member of the Canadian studio's board of directors while also taking on an advisory role. Owens will also be staying on as an advisor until the end of the year. 

Ian Johnson has been tapped to replace Owens as COO, but there's no word on who'll be stepping up as CEO following the departure of Houston.

A Phoenix Labs spokesperson explained both are stepping back for personal reasons, while Houston himself said he leaves with the studio well-positioned for the future.

"After nearly a decade, I feel like I can step back from the day-to-day operations at Phoenix Labs," he added. "The future has never looked brighter—we've got an amazing pipeline of games in development and our incredible Fae Farm [just launched] for the Nintendo Switch and PC."

Restructure at Phoenix Labs

The news comes a few months after Phoenix Labs laid off around 30 employees after breaking away from parent company, Garena.

A company representative said those job cuts were part of a larger restructuring effort that would allow the studio to refocus on "fewer development projects."

The Dauntless developer recently launched cozy farming RPG, Fae Farm, for Nintendo Switch and Windows PC, and according to its website still has "several new projects" in development.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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