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Fullbright co-founder steps down amidst studio exodus

But will remain writer on troubled Open Roads.

Steve Gaynor, co-founder of Gone Home and Tacoma developer Fullbright, has stepped down as the studio's creative lead and manager.

Fullbright officially announced the change last night, ahead of a Polygon report which detailed an exodus of staff at the company "at least in part due to Gaynor's behaviour toward workers".

Gaynor will remain a writer on Open Roads, the upcoming Annapurna-published story of a mother and daughter, which will now no longer be released in 2021.

In a statement posted to Twitter today, the Open Roads team wrote that Fullbright believed in "fostering a work environment that is healthy and collaborative, where we can work with transparency, autonomy and trust.

"As such, Fullbright's co-founder Steve Gaynor has stepped back from his role as creative lead and manager, and transitioned to a role as a writer, handing off day-to-day responsibilities to the team to complete Open Roads."

Polygon's report includes claims that Gaynor was "controlling", and that staff, particularly women, frequently felt "undermined and demeaned", disparaged and discredited.

A total of 15 people have left Fullbright since 2019, the majority of whom were women. Some have now quit the industry entirely. Just six employees currently remain.

In response, Gaynor issued a statement which acknowledged his "leadership style was hurtful to people that worked at Fullbright, and for that I truly apologise.

"I'm sad to have stepped back from day-to-day development of Open Roads," Gaynor continued, "but it's been the right thing to do. The Open Roads team has my full faith and support as they bring the game to completion."

Annapurna is now acting as a mediator between Open Roads' remaining developers and Gaynor as work on the game continues.

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Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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