Stuart Black, the outspoken creator of cult first-person shooter Black, will leave British publisher Codemasters in October, Eurogamer can exclusively reveal.
Black is the creative director of FPS Bodycount, due out for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the first quarter of 2011.
The game's executive producer Tom Gillo has already left, but has been replaced with a project development director.
While Black is yet to offer any explanation for his departure, Eurogamer understands his decision is the result of "post-E3 fallout".
Senior producer Andy Wilson will take up the "show and tell" demos while Black focuses on completing his design responsibilities.
Bodycount is considered the spiritual successor to 2006's Black, which Black co-created and designed while at EA developer Criterion.
Set in the present day, Bodycount follows the story of a no-questions-asked task force ordered to kill "Targets" on behalf of a "Network". Destructible cover will feature, as will online multiplayer and co-op.
Underneath Bodycount lies Codemasters EGO engine, which has been used to good effect in DiRT 2 and the well-received Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising.
"Hes [Black] got all his design work to do but he's going to finish before he leaves the team to complete the game, which takes him through to October," Codemasters told Eurogamer this morning.
Codemasters issued Eurogamer with this official statement from Adrian Bolton, studio manager at Codemasters Studios Guildford: "Having created a great vision and direction for Bodycount, Stuart has decided to move on after three years with us. He will see out his design role until October and, through the transition period, will continue to work with the talented development team that will take the game through to completion."
Codemasters told Eurogamer this morning that the staff changes will not impact upon Bodycount or its release date, and "progress continues". "There is a full studio. There is an 80-strong team there." The official Bodycount site was recently updated with a "peek" at the main character model.