After 25 years in the game industry, Fortnite veteran Donald Mustard is retiring from his role as Epic's chief creative officer.
Mustard announced his retirement, which goes into effect this month, on social media today, saying that among his many accomplishments, "I am especially proud of the opportunity I’ve had to help create and shape Fortnite." He added, "I can’t wait to now share in the future of Fortnite as a player alongside all of you! The teams are in the best hands and they are working on huge, jaw dropping, amazing things!!!"
The phrasing of the message seems to suggest that this is, indeed, a retirement, and not the start of some new development venture. And hey, if I was pulling in 'chief creative officer of the Fortnite studio' money, I'd have sworn off work years ago.
Mustard's earliest credit appears to be for cinematography on the schlocky PS2-era action game BloodRayne, but his first notable leadership role was on the cult classic 2005 shooter Advent Rising, which he designed with his brother Geremy. The brothers also founded Chair Entertainment, which was acquired by Epic Games in 2008. As part of Epic, Mustard directed games like the excellent Metroidvania Shadow Complex and the sterling mobile action game Infinity Blade.
In 2016, Mustard became Epic's chief creative officer - one year before the launch of Fortnite. At the time, Fortnite was conceived as a co-op shooter with tower defense elements, something that still lives on as its Save the World mode. While the battle royale mode that followed was certainly derivative of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, it still rocketed the game to nearly unbelievable success, and set Fortnite as the stage for IP crossover and metaverse experiments that would have a massive influence not just in video games but across all of entertainment.
Mustard concludes his retirement message by simply saying "I’m excited to spend time with my wife and family and am forever grateful for Tim Sweeney and the Epic Games family."
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