|Occupation||Video game designer and producer|
|Years active||1985 - present|
|Known for||Co-founder of Legend Entertainment|
Unreal II: The Awakening
The Battle for Middle-earth
Michael Verdu (usually called Mike Verdu) is a video game executive, designer, and entrepreneur. Verdu is best known for his tenure as Zynga's Chief Creative Officer (he was at Zynga from 2009-2012), for co-founding Legend Entertainment with Bob Bates in 1989 (sold to GT Interactive in 1998), and for serving as Executive Producer and product lead for the PC real-time strategy games Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II at Electronic Arts. Verdu also designed and produced the PC video game Mission Critical and co-designed/co-produced the PC video games Frederik Pohl's Gateway and Gateway II.
In addition to his stints at Legend, EA, and Zynga, Verdu served as President of Studios and Chief Creative Officer for Kabam, joining Kabam through the acquisition of TapZen in 2015 (a mobile game company Verdu founded in 2012). He returned to EA in 2017, and is currently SVP of EA Mobile overseeing many of the company's mobile game studios.
Verdu's career began in the U.S. defense industry when he started Paragon Systems Development Corporation in 1985 to create software for the military and then sold the company to American Systems Corporation two years later. Verdu and Bob Bates then co-founded Legend Entertainment in 1989 to create PC text adventure games, filling a gap in the market left behind by the collapse of Infocom. Verdu was credited as producer on a number of Legend's games starting with the PC adventure game Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All the Girls in 1990. Verdu's first game design credit was for Frederik Pohl's Gateway in 1992, followed by Gateway II in 1993 and then Mission Critical in 1995. Legend was acquired by GT Interactive in 1998.
In 2002 Verdu joined Electronic Arts to work on Command & Conquer: Generals, taking a two level demotion from studio chief to Senior Producer. He was also credited as a Senior Producer on The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth. Verdu took over the EA RTS business in 2005 and led the teams building The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, the expansion pack The Rise of the Witch King, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, and the C&C3 expansion pack Kane's Wrath. He became General Manager of the EA Los Angeles Studio (EALA) in 2007.
Verdu jumped from EA to Zynga in 2009 as VP of Games. During his three-and-a-half year tenure at Zynga, he rose to President of External Studios and eventually became the company's Chief Creative Officer. He oversaw the development, launch, and operations of Zynga Facebook games including FrontierVille, CastleVille, and Empires & Allies. In 2012 Verdu left Zynga to start his own mobile gaming company TapZen, Inc. (with a total of $18 Million in funding from Zynga and Tencent). TapZen released the mobile game This Means WAR! in early 2014 and was subsequently acquired by Kabam in 2015. Verdu served as President of Studios and Chief Creative Officer at Kabam.
- "Mike Verdu". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
- "Michael Verdu Video Game Credits and Biography - MobyGames". MobyGames. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
- "Kabam acquires TapZen, Magic Pixel". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
- "Exclusive: Zynga's Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu Exits to Start a New Company". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
- "Where are they now? - Mike Verdu". www.choicestgames.com. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
- Dave, Paresh. "Game firm exec fuses art and technology". latimes.com. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
- Chapman, Lizette (2014-06-26). "TapZen Scores $8M From Tencent, Launches "This Means War!"". WSJ. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
- "Mike Verdu - External Development Summit (XDS)". External Development Summit (XDS). Retrieved 2017-12-04.