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Gone Home studio co-founder steps back over "hurtful" leadership practices

Gone Home
(Image credit: Fullbright)

The co-founder of the studio behind Gone Home and Tacoma has stepped down from his role as creative lead on the team's next game.

In a statement released on August 5, Fulbright Studios said that "we are [...] fervent believers in fostering a work environment that is healthy and collaborative, where we can work with transparency, autonomy, and trust."

"As such, Fulbright'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." 

Open Roads is the studio's third game, announced in December 2020, and follows a mother-daughter duo on a road trip.

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Fulbright confirmed to Polygon that Gaynor had stepped back from his role in March 2021. In a separate statement, Gaynor confirmed that he had moved roles "earlier this year", saying that "my leadership style was hurtful to people that worked at Fullbright, and for that I truly apologize".

"Stepping back has given me space and perspective to see how my role needs to change and how I need to learn and improve as part of a team, including working with an expert management consultant, and rethinking my relationship to the work at Fullbright. I care dee[ly about Open Roads and the Fullbright team. I'm sad to have stepped back from day-to-day development of Open Roads, 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."

Open Roads was due to be released in 2021, but a Fullbright representative reportedly told Polygon that the game will now not release this year. Employees reportedly cite a significant rate of staff turnover and departures, as well as a "convoluted decision-making process", for the delay. Fulbright is yet to publicly announce a delay, saying that it is "excited by how the game is shaping up".

To help you keep up, here's our list of new indie games 2021.

Ali Jones

I'm GamesRadar's deputy news editor, working with Ben T across our gaming news articles. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.