Howard Phillips, an early key figure at Nintendo of America, will join Chair Entertainment Group to serve as its studio director, Chair and owner Epic Games jointly said today.
A highly visible Nintendo employee throughout the 1980s, Phillips became responsible for the company's North American development operations.
He also worked in a production capacity at THQ and LucasArts, and most recently spent nearly a decade at Microsoft, where he provided feedback during the development of Epic's own Gears of War.
"Howard has a remarkable history in the video game industry, and we expect the talent at Chair Entertainment to thrive under his leadership," said Epic president Michael Capps. "Howard’s brainchild, Nintendo Power magazine’s 'Howard & Nester' comic, left a lasting impression on many of us. Howard’s continued inspiration, as well as his expertise in product development, will be a tremendous asset to Chair as the studio continues to grow and create ground-breaking games."
In his role at Provo, Utah-based Chair, Phillips will work to grow the studio and its development capabilities, in conjunction with founders and lead developers Donald and Geremy Mustard.
Founded in 2005 by members of the Advent Rising development team, Chair released the Xbox Live Arcade title Undertow. The company was acquired by Epic Games in 2008. Last year, Epic president Mike Capps told Gamasutra that the acquisition was in part spurred by Chair's ability to optimize and compress Epic's Unreal Engine down to 40MB for Xbox Live Arcade use.
Author Orson Scott Card has worked extensively with the studio, basing his novel Empire on upcoming Chair video games, and licensing Chair the game rights to his sci-fi classic Ender's Game.