More bad news for everyone's least favorite social gaming company: the FarmVille empire's former prince is AWOL, right on the heels of his hyped new release.

NY Mag's Kevin Roose tells a troubling tale: while working on a profile of Zynga exec Dan Porter (who was hired when Zynga snatched up his small studio's breakout app 'Draw Something' for around $200 mil), Porter jumped ship. This is particularly bad timing, since Porter's latest work, Draw Something 2 (which Zynga hopes might reverse its financial misery) just launched. But what's even worse is that no one knows how Porter left, or why:

Earlier this month, just a few weeks before Draw Something 2 was scheduled to launch in the U.S., Zynga announced that Porter was leaving the company under mysterious circumstances. He stopped returning my e-mails, and all Zynga would give is a rote "we wish him well in his future endeavors" statement. When I pressed for more details about Porter’s departure, I learned that not even some people with direct lines to Porter knew exactly what had happened to him...He had just disappeared, right before his major product debut. I still don’t know what happened to Porter...I’ve also heard that Porter never recovered internally from a series of too-honest comments he made about Zynga's falling stock price and its habit of copying games from smaller competitors.

After yesterday's earnings report, which showed users have abandoned Zynga by the tens of millions, this is one single departure the company really didn't need, particularly under these circumstances. But it's hard to blame Porter for wanting to have nothing to do with the place. It's even harder to feel even remotely sorry for a guy who cashed in millions on an iPhone clone of Pictionary. [NY Mag]