The departure of Playdead's co-founder turns out to be from a long and messy power struggle.

Co-founder of Playdead Resigned After Intense Power Struggle

The departure of Playdead's co-founder turns out to be from a long and messy power struggle.
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Back in July of 2016, Dino Patti, co-founder of indie studio Playdead, left the company after working there for nine years. He was reported to have sold his shares and granted full company ownership to fellow co-founder Arnt Jensen, stating that he wanted “to seek new challenges.” However, a recent report from Danish financial newspaper, “Børsen,” has revealed a messier side of the story with power struggles and buy-outs within the company.

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According to the report, the conflict between Patti and Jensen started back in 2015 with Patti’s frustration of the slow development progress of their projects, with each game taking four to six years to complete. The disagreement also extended to the ownership of Playdead’s game rights.

Since then, their conflict has escalated to the point that the two only communicate with each other via lawyers and emails. On November 10th, 2015, Arnt Jensen expressed his dissatisfaction with working with Patti, as well as his desire for “other ways to continue my creative activities.”

Jensen’s statement prompted a removal of Jensen as the director of Playdead’s Central Business Register (CVR) in Denmark. This act was conducted by a shocked Patti since he interpreted Jensen’s statement as an intention to step down from the company. However, Jensen’s lawyers claimed that it was all a “misunderstanding” and Jensen only intended to resign from the position of “creative director”, not co-owner of the company.

Sometime later, the Danish Business Authority decided that Patti must leave the company due to continuous disagreement between two parties. Jensen was reported to have paid 50 million DKK (~7.2 million USD) in order to buy out Patti’s shares in Playdead, thus giving him complete ownership of the company. After that, Patti believed his received amount was undervalued and attempted to trade in the money, hoping that in exchange, he could be granted back his old position at the company.

At this moment, Arnt Jensen has refused to comment about the conflict, while Dino Patti has said that he considers this all to be very personal. He has even compared the questions about the disagreement to questions about a breakup with a significant other.

Do you think this will affect the studios output? Or can Playdead weather the storm? Let us know in the comments below!

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Nam T. Bui
Freelance Journalist from Hanoi, Vietnam