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Onward Creator Departs Meta 2 Years After Acquisition

Onward Creator Departs Meta 2 Years After Acquisition

The CEO of Downpour Interactive resigned from Meta roughly two years after his VR development studio was acquired.

Dante Buckley wrote in a note on Facebook, confirmed by UploadVR, that his departure is “by choice” and not in a layoff. Buckley is the creator of one of VR’s leading team-based shooters Onward. In April 2021, Meta announced it had acquired Downpour and its entire team.

Meta hasn’t formally announced a single new game yet from the eight VR game development studios it acquired over the last few years. The one unofficial exception was Onward 2, which was mentioned informally by Mark Zuckerberg back in 2021 shortly after the acquisition.

Buckley wrote on Facebook:

It’s been an honor and a privilege to work on Onward with my team and give our players something to enjoy. There’s been plenty of battle scars, mistakes, lessons, and wins over the years.

Another big thing I learned was the difference between a large corporate company vs a small startup, and the pros and cons of each. Some things work better in certain environments.

Meta confirmed Buckley’s departure in an emailed statement to UploadVR:

We can confirm that Dante Buckley has resigned from Meta. We’re so grateful for Dante’s collaboration with Oculus Studios and his contributions to VR gaming. We wish him the very best of luck in all future endeavors.

Meta In Transition

Meta is building toward the launch of its next consumer-oriented Quest headset later this year and locking down its VR and AR products lines for the coming years. The next Quest is likely to offer developers much more power to work with in realizing their designs, but comes as Meta undergoes a considerable transition.

Meta is also streamlining its organizational structure and laid off a considerable amount of its workforce. At the end of January, Meta shocked fans of one of VR’s most popular team sports in announcing Echo VR would shut down. Released in 2017 by Ready At Dawn and acquired by Meta in 2020, developers of the game at Meta didn’t specify what projects they’re working on next.

Late last year former Oculus CTO John Carmack departed the company as he “wearied of the fight” and lack of efficiency across the organization.

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