Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren abruptly leaves studio following Payday 3's rough launch

In-game screenshot from Payday 3
(Image credit: Starbreeze)

Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren has departed the studio as the company searches for "different leadership".

In a press release shared online on March 12 (via Game Developer), the Payday 3 developer announced that after three years as CEO, Tobias Sjögren will be stepping down from the role. Board member Juergen Goeldner will take the interim position of CEO while the company looks for a permanent solution.

"The company has a clear strategy centered around creating attractive games on our own and licensed IPs," said Torgny Hellström, Chairman of Starbreeze. "The board’s consolidated assessment is that the execution of strategy needs a different leadership. Juergen Goeldner has been part of the board since 2023 and, with over 40 years of industry experience, is a strong interim solution."

Starbreeze notes that Sjögren will be available at the studio for a smooth transition and thanked the now-former CEO for his work during the past three years.

"Tobias took over the helm of Starbreeze in a challenging phase of its journey and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Hellström continues. 

Goeldner also shared a statement saying that after launching Payday 3 "the company is well-positioned to leverage the strengths of the organization to monetize and develop the IP portfolio" and is "looking forward to assuming an operative position and, together with the management, ensure the execution of this strategy."

Although Payday 3 wasn't mentioned in relation to Sjögren's departure, it's difficult not to correlate the two, considering the game's disastrous launch only six months ago.

Payday 3 launched in September and was met with issues of server instability and matchmaking problems across all platforms. The problems were so bad, the game had to be temporarily taken offline to be fixed. After weeks of waiting for the first major update, some problems still stuck around, and it wasn't until November that Starbreeze addressed the concerns and shared its plans for the game going forward.

Last month, Sjögren finally shared a statement on the game's situation, revealing that although the game’s sales and player activity “are currently at significantly lower levels than we would like,” its “absolute priority” is making sure it “lives up to expectations.”

For more, be sure to check out our roundup of the best co-op games, as well as the best FPS games.