Brian Horton, the director of Rise of the Tomb Raider, leaves Crystal Dynamics and heads to a new role at Infinity Ward, developer of the Call of Duty franchise.

The video game industry has always proved itself a fluid one, with those working in gaming moving from company to company to work on new projects all the time. Now, it looks as though Crystal Dynamics is going to be the next studio facing some behind-the-scenes changes. It’s been revealed that Brian Horton, the director of Rise of the Tomb Raider, is leaving the developer to work for Infinity Ward.

The news was confirmed on Friday in a post on the official Tomb Raider Tumblr, where Crystal Dynamics released a statement on the matter. Horton played an integral role in bringing the latest version of Tomb Raider to life, working as Senior Art Director on the 2013 reboot, before then stepping up to become the director of the sequel.

Horton himself also left a message for both the studio and the fans of the franchise. The former Crystal Dynamics director stated that it was a “huge honor” to work on the Tomb Raider franchise, and to work for the developer itself. It certainly seems as though it’s an amicable split for Horton and the studio, too. “As sad as I am to leave the team at Crystal, I’m excited to play their future games as a fan,” said Horton, before thanking both the community and the developer for “the years of support and feedback” he has received.


It’s not the only change that has happened at Crystal Dynamics since the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider, with studio head Darrell Gallagher also leaving the company. It seems as though Horton’s departure from Crystal Dynamics is not entirely for business reasons, however, with Horton’s statement suggesting that a personal reason may be just as important. “After working on two amazing games, my family and I have decided to return to Southern California and start a new adventure,” read the post.

Horton leaves for Infinity Ward, the developer of the Call of Duty franchise. As of yet, it’s unknown what games Horton will be working on, with his LinkedIn page simply listing “TBA” next to his Infinity Ward project. However, with Infinity Ward set to take the reins of Call of Duty once more, following on from Treyarch’s Black Ops 3 and Sledgehammer Games’ Advanced Warfare, Horton no doubt will be keeping very busy over the course of 2016.

The former Crystal Dynamics director leaves behind a strong legacy for the Tomb Raider franchise. Rise of the Tomb Raider proved to be a critical darling, although since sales were not quite as strong it earned the dubious honor of being on the list of the best games of 2015 that weren’t played. Whoever steps up to the challenge of the third Tomb Raider certainly has a strong foundation to build upon.

Sources: Tomb Raider Tumblr, LinkedIn