Kellee Santiago had been with thatgamecompany since its inception. She co-founded the company alongside the studio's creative director Jenova Chen, and has been around for each one of the heralded indie developer's projects. Now, it appears thatgamecompany will have to learn to get along without her.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Santiago announced today that she is leaving thatgamecompany for an as-yet unannounced destination. She described the split as "entirely amicable," and made it clear that it was simply time for her to move on to another place.
After doing these three games, I think it was a really great opportunity for all of us to look at what we've learned and what I've taken from that experience, and go forth and take it into new arenas.
While Chen has been the creative mind behind thatcompany's many experiments in game design, Santiago's role as president had much to do with the behind-the-scenes work of making his visions a reality.
So much of my work at Thatgamecompany was really supporting Jenova's visions for the types of games he wanted to make, and I felt like I have done everything I needed to do there, and that he's in a great place now to go on and continue with some of the other people at Thatgamecompany, to take that to a whole new height.
This marks something of a bittersweet day for thatgamecompany. Prior to Santiago's announcement, Chen had blogged that the studio's most recent project, the critically acclaimed Journey, has become the fastest selling game in the history of the PlayStation Network. The Gamasutra article also mentions that a new project has begun at thatgamecompany, though now it'll have to progress without Santiago's assistance.
Chen and those remaining at thatgamecompany expressed mutual admiration and appreciation for Santiago's work in a statement from the company.
While we want to continue the path of Thatgamecompany, Kellee has found a new direction in her career. Though our path in the future may be different, as TGC begins our next project, we wish Kellee a good journey and that our paths may cross again.