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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 1 hour ago - Sports

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

An underwater view of swimmers including Team USA's Caeleb Dressel (R) in the final of the Olympic Tokyo Games men's 100m freestyle on July 29. Photo: François-Xavier Marit/AFP via Getty Images

There's been plenty of Olympics drama on day six of the Tokyo Games Thursday — notably China's women's swimming team beating the U.S. and Australia in the record-setting 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

The big picture: Katie Ledecky helped the U.S. win silver, which also beat the previous world record smashed by China's team. Team USA grabbed two more swimming gold medals, when Caeleb Dressel won the men's 100m freestyle and Bobby Finke triumphed in the first men's Olympic 800m freestyle.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Simone Biles during the women's team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday in Japan. Photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏊‍♂️: Caeleb Dressel wins gold in men's 100m freestyle —Bobby Finke wins gold in first men's Olympic 800m freestyle

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

🎾: "This one sucks more than the others," Naomi Osaka says on upset loss

🏃‍: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

China wins Olympic gold in women's 4x200m freestyle relay, sets world record

Junxuan Yang, Muhan Tang, Yufei Zhang and Bingjie Li of Team China react after winning the gold medal in the women's 4 x 200m freestyle relay final. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

China grabbed Olympic gold in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay, in a surprise record win in Tokyo Thursday.

The big picture: Katie Ledecky made up time as Team USA's final swimmer to help the U.S. take silver. Australia, which was the heavy favorite, won the bronze. All three teams finished ahead of the previous world record pace.