Arrowhead CEO steps down to focus on role as chief creative officer

3 weeks ago 42

Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead Games Studios has a new CEO.

Former Paradox Interactive chief business development officer Shams Jorjani is the company’s new CEO, replacing company founder Johan Pilestedt in the role. Pilestedt will remain chief creative officer and chairman.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Pilestedt said the decision to hire a dedicated CEO will give him more time to focus on game creation.

“I’ve been thinking about the journey ahead for Arrowhead, the future games we’re going to be making, and running the organisation beyond the 120 or so developers we have currently,” he said.

“I realised that running an organisation of over 100 people to however large it is going to get… it means I will [have to choose] between deepening my love for game creation, or the business track.”

Pilestedt explained that the massive success of Helldivers and the associated pressure of running the business led him to explore moving away from the CEO role.

“So I reached out to Shams. We had a lunch, and we asked him that if I was to reconsider running Arrowhead for the next decade, and I needed to hire a new CEO, would he be interested?”

Jorjani said: “When you’re talking to creatives like Johan, it’s not like he wants to retire. Helldivers 2 isn’t the highlight of his career. Hopefully it’s the fourth best game he ever makes.”

Bethesda has Todd Howard, Kojima Productions has Kojima, Remedy has Sam Lake… but when you ask who is running these companies, who is the CEO or managing director… you can’t name the humble servant [laughs] behind the scenes,” he added.

“So that’s the set-up. How do we enable Johan to make more Helldivers, and what I bring is a structure around that.”

Since its release, Helldivers has enjoyed record breaking success for both Arrowhead and publisher Sony.

Last week, Sony said Helldivers 2 was PlayStation’s fastest-selling game launch ever, “far exceeding expectations” with 12 million copies sold across PC and PS5 in its first 12 weeks.

The live service game surpassed the 11 million copies of God of War Ragnarök sold in its first 10 weeks last year.

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