Reynolds was one of the developer's top gaming veterans, having titles like Civilization II (lead designer) under his belt prior to joining the casual gaming developer four years ago. Since then, he has assisted with the launch of FarmVille 2 and ChefVille, and created FrontierVille and CityVille 2.
"Brian has a long history in the game industry and has been a great partner to the creative leaders at Zynga," said Zynga’s President of Games Steve Chiang. "I want to thank him for his leadership of the Zynga Baltimore studio in the design and development of FrontierVille, which brought many innovations to social gaming. We appreciate Brian’s contribution and we’re proud of the deep bench of creative leaders who are leading the next wave of game innovation at Zynga. We wish Brian the best in his next chapter."
Zynga seemingly breathed new life into the PC gaming scene with the launch of FarmVille back in 2009. Within the first six weeks, that casual game alone reached ten million daily users. It helped make in-app purchasing popular which has since fueled the growth of free-to-play PC games, pay-as-you-go mobile apps and console titles.
At one point, the developer was worth $11.5 billion, and churned out new games left and right. It was sitting on top of the casual gaming world, with many rival developers trying to clone not only their success, but their popular franchises with very little success. But then Zynga went public with its stock, and everything seemingly went downhill from there.
Once investors reportedly wiped $10 billion off Zynga's market cap, executives, creative talent and even Zynga customers began to dwindle away. New games were less numerous, and the company was eventually forced to close offices and lay off employees. The once loving marriage between Facebook and Zynga became sour, leaving the former top-tier developer demoted to just another studio churning out games on Facebook.
After Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu departed in August, Reynolds was one of three expected to step up and take the position, but he surprisingly didn't get the job, losing out to Tim LeTourneau. AllThingsD points out that Zynga is essentially plugging the vacant holes with staff from other departments. Eventually the ranks will wear thin, forcing Zynga to look outward, if at all.
"Yes I’m officially leaving Zynga after 3 3/4 great years," Reynolds confirmed on Twitter. "Back soon." He later changed his Twitter handle from @ZyngaGameChief to @TheGameChief.