PopCap co-founder John Vechey has left the developer, meaning none of the original founding team remains at the EA-owned studio.
PopCap Games was founded by Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka in 2000. Fiete left in 2010, prior to EA’s acquisition of PopCap, whereas Kapalka left earlier this year when former CEO Dave Roberts retired.
Vechey took over as CEO after Roberts, but his departure was announced over the weekend on the EA blog.
“John is a rare breed. His personal vitality and true passion for fun helped to define the spirit of PopCap and the games they make,” EA Labels presideent Frank Gibeau wrote.
“John’s leadership led to so many great things for PopCap, and he leaves behind a legacy of amazing games, powerful IP, and strong studio talent in place to lead the future of the studio.
“Working with people like John is what continues to make this industry great: creative, talented, and always a lot of fun. We wish him nothing but the best as he steps away from PopCap and EA to pursue his other passions in life.”
In a letter to his former colleagues at PopCap, Vechey said his recent sabbatical to get married and enjoy his daughter’s childhood gave him a new perspective, which has presumably inspired his departure. He will be working with a non-profit company and exploring “peace and social justice issues, such as war abolition, prison reform, poverty and the effects of race and gender privilege” while he works out what to do next.
Vechey reiterated his confidence in both EA and PopCap, noting his belief in EA CEO Andrew Wildon’s “vision of a company that puts its players first”.
“The best years are ahead for both EA and PopCap, and I look forward to watching development teams live up to what it means to be electronic artists,” he added.
Gibeau’s posted ended by mentioning PopCap’s mysterious “all new Peggle” again, so I guess this cryptic comment didn’t refer to the new mobile version after all.
PopCap’s catalogue also includes Bejeweled, Bookworm Adventures , Zuma, Plants vs Zombies and the long forgotten Insaniquarium. It also created a spin-off label called 4th & Battery, which has unfortunately not produced anything since the excellent Unpleasant Horse, Candy Train and Allied Star Police. None of them are on Android, curse it.