In a statement issued to VGC, the Microsoft owned studio confirmed the departure and insisted that Everwild development would be in good hands going forward.
Studio head Craig Duncan said: “We thank Simon for all his hard work on Everwild and wish him the very best of luck for the future.
“The Everwild team are in good hands and passionate about building a game that will give players unforgettable experiences in a natural and magical world.”
No reason was given for the creative director’s decision to leave, though studio sources told VGC that he had been absent for some time after submitting his resignation earlier this month.
Woodroffe joined Rare in 2012, following over a decade as head of design at Sega’s technology group, where he was most recently creative director for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.
Although he originally joined Rare as creative director for the entire studio, it’s understood that Woodroffe’s duties were shifted to Everwild, as Sea of Thieves became well established under the leadership of veteran Gregg Mayles and producer Joe Neate.
Everwild’s direction will now seemingly be left solely to executive producer Louise O’Connor, the Conker’s Bad Fur Day animator who has led most of the game’s promotion.
Rare’s studio art director, Ryan Stevenson, is helming the visual direction for the project, having previously led art for Sea of Thieves and Viva Pinata.
Everwild, which VGC understands is an ambitious third-person adventure title with god game elements, is described by Rare as set in a “natural and magical world.”
Studio head Duncan recently said that Rare hadn’t discussed Everwild publicly much because it was still exploring how the title’s core themes would translate into gameplay.
“We learned a lot from Sea of Thieves,” he told Polygon in July. “At its heart, we love the idea of Sea of Thieves [and] players creating stories together.
“I think with Everwild, Louise [O’Connor] and her leadership team are really passionate about giving players a world that they can just lose themselves in — you know, a lot of nature feels magical.
“So the notion of, ‘What does it mean to nurture a world? What does it mean to be in nature?’
“Part of the reason we haven’t talked a lot about Everwild is because we’re still feeling a lot of these things out. We’re still playing around with gameplay ideas.
“We’ll have plenty to say in the future on that, but … we have an idea we feel really passionate about, and we think there’s something special. I have a team of people that wake up every morning with the desire to make this game that they’re really, really passionate about.”