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Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

David Polfeldt, a 16-year veteran of Ubisoft Massive, will relinquish his role as the mega-studio's managing director effective July 1.

Why it matters: Polfeldt departs at a time of upheaval of Ubisoft's studio leadership and of rising excitement around Massive's projects.

  • Massive, located in Malmo, Sweden, is one of the largest studios at Ubisoft and is currently working on upcoming games tied to the "Star Wars" and "Avatar" franchises as well as maintaining the popular post-disaster Washington DC-based adventure "The Division 2."

Between the lines: In a memo to staff today, Ubisoft head of studios Virginie Haas said Polfeldt had informed management last fall that he was "ready for a new challenge."

  • He will begin a six-month sabbatical on July 1 and will return to Ubisoft in a "strategic role," Haas wrote.
  • Ubisoft has identified a new leader for Massive who will start in October, but Haas wrote that they cannot announce that person yet due to a legal agreement with his current employer.

The big picture: Ubisoft has been in a state of major change for the past year.

  • Widespread allegations of workplace misconduct have led to the dismissal of departure of several powerful men across the company, including Ubisoft's chief creative officer. (Polfeldt was not implicated in any of that.)
  • Others have left at the end of big projects or out of frustration regarding company culture.
  • Last month, Axios reported that the co-leaders of Ubisoft's Owlient studio, one of whom is the son of Ubisoft CEO, were stepping down.

"[T]he studio is in fantastic shape, and I am exceptionally grateful for what we have accomplished together," Polfeldt said in a message posted to Massive's company blog.

"We have already appointed David’s successor and look forward to sharing more details at a later date," an Ubisoft spokesperson said in a statement.

  • Last fall, Polfeldt published a book about his time in gaming, titled "The Dream Architects: Adventures in the Video Game Industry."

This post has been updated with comments from Polfeldt and Ubisoft.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 4 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker