Veteran developer Warren Spector has announced his departure from Austin-based studio Ion Storm, where he oversaw franchises including Deus Ex and Thief, but he will continue to work with parent company Eidos as an IP consultant.
A regular speaker at development conferences, Spector was studio director at Ion Storm and is considered to have been the creative force behind much-lauded PC title Deus Ex - although he handed the reins for subsequent titles (including Deus Ex: Invisible War) over to others at the studio.
Publisher Eidos announced his departure in a terse statement yesterday, saying that "Warren Spector has relinquished his role as studio director at Ion Storm" in order to "pursue personal interests outside the company."
However, Spector will be working for Eidos as an IP consultant in future, which fits in with speculation that he may have been tapped to help out with Crystal Dynamics' current project - developing the next Tomb Raider title, and rescuing Lara Croft's damaged reputation following the abysmal Angel of Darkness.
"His insight and expertise is highly valued by Eidos," according to the publisher's official statement, "and the company looks forward to continuing its relationship with Warren in his new role"
Other than the aforementioned "personal interests," little is known about Spector's reasons for leaving the company - although it's widely rumoured that Ion Storm has seen a significant exodus of talent in the past year, with Spector only the most high profile name to leave.
One theory is that he may pop up shortly at Midway's recently acquired Austin studio, Inevitable Entertainment (now Midway Studios Austin); US website GameSpot reports that it was rumoured at the Austin Games Conference back in mid-September that he was in negotiations to head up that division.