Monte Cook has left WOTC. Posted on his Livejournal today (April 25th):
Last week I decided that I would leave my contract position with Wizards of the Coast. I am no longer working on Dungeons & Dragons, although I may provide occasional consultation in the future. My decision is one based on differences of opinion with the company. However, I want to take this time to stress that my differences were not with my fellow designers, Rob Schwalb and Bruce Cordell. I enjoyed every moment of working with them over the past year. I have faith that they'll create a fun game. I'm rooting for them.
Mike Mearls gives gives a sentence or two to this news here while announcing the public 5e playtest will start on May 24th.
I'll be honest, the news that Monte Cook has left WOTC and the 5e design team changes my opinion of 5e from "skeptical but interested" to "extremely skeptical." While I have a number of issues with Monte's Cook's D&D 3.x design work, he was pretty much out of the 4e design loop which I consider very important for my interest in 5e. Given I consider 4e the worst edition of D&D ever published for the way I like to play (and have played since 1975), having one of the lead 5e designers be someone so out of the 4e design loop that many "4vengers" loathed him was a good thing in my book.