game designer and writer


Leaving Square Enix Montreal

I have decided to leave my position as Creative Director at Square Enix Montreal, effective last Friday. Because this was such a dream role for me, I feel it bears explaining why I’ve given it up, especially to those who have supported and encouraged me.

My team were working on a game that I deeply wish we could have shared with you. But the business strategy of the studio shifted, and our project was sadly no longer compatible. Thankfully, the talented team remain employed and valued, assigned to other projects. Because of this shift and the loss of our project, I no longer feel this is the place for me to pursue the type of work I aspire to make - the avenues of storytelling in game design I’ve been trying to explore in my career.

I love the gamemakers I worked with at Square Enix Montreal. They brought incredible design, craft, and style to our game. My team, wow:

..illustrator Sarah Gonzales & art director Quentin Baillieux
..programmers Francis Pétrin & Olivier Vezina
..designers Winnie Song & Tom Victor
..writer Cara Ellison
..producer Nathalie Gauthier
..and my project co-starter Renaud Bédard, who gifted me his trust and talents for 18 wild months. 

These people astound me. They brought out the best in me and each other. They deserve more credit than I can give in a post. I’m so very proud and grateful, and sorry we didn’t make it to the end. I thank the studio’s other developers, and fellow directors Daniel Lutz and Antoine Routon for their guidance. I look forward to the studio's upcoming games. I owe a last thanks to the games community of Montreal, who welcomed me warmly and have said goodbye with equal love.

It has been a privilege to direct at Square Enix, a company that has given me lifelong inspiration with Final Fantasy 7, Tactics, Super Mario RPG, and more. I’ll still proudly celebrate its contributions to our medium this weekend at Square Bowl IV - an independent charity JRPG stream I co-organize. 

As for the future, I’m resuming full-time indie development, with new collaborations coalescing. For now I’m headed back to Los Angeles, and I plan to hug many peers at GDC. Life and work go on. We’re certainly not the first team to lose a project. I’m a thousand times more privileged than most, and grateful for every beat of this games life. I’m eager to move forward.

♥  Teddy

Teddy Diefenbach