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Chris Metzen to Retire from Blizzard

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Blizzard's Senior VP of Story and Franchise Development is leaving to spend time with his family.

 

Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development, and generally thought of as Blizzard's "story guy", having been behind the Diablo universe and working on all the Warcraft lore stuff for a long time, has decided to retire after 23 years. Business Insider broke the news and quickly thereafter, the man himself took to the forums to explain:

Blizzard LogoChris Metzen

I had just turned twenty years old when I started working at Blizzard. Seems like a lifetime ago. Guess it was. Those first few years were the start of a very grand adventure for me, one that would take me around the world, introduce me to thousands of wonderful geeks just like me—and ultimately shape the course of my adult life.

Of course when I started, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to make games or build entertainment products.…

But I had an insatiable passion for ideas. For stories. For heroes.

My only real training before joining Blizzard was the long-running D&D campaign I had with my closest friends—Sam, Mike P., Daniel, and Mikey C. (you know who you are, boys…HAMRO!). Building ideas—vast worldscapes, characters, and plotlines with my friends was my first great love. I lived for it. It was a safe space amid the tension and change of some rough teenage years. The grand refuge of D&D was a glorious meeting of minds and imaginations where I felt I truly belonged.

It was a space where friendship and imagination were inextricably linked.

The sharing of ideas on the fly, the crazy, unexpected turns other players would take—it stretched our imaginations in ways we’d never have dreamt of on our own. I loved how roleplaying through adventures taught us so much about each other—and, more often than not, ourselves. Imagining together helped us make sense of the crazy world we were growing up in. It made us stronger together.

I wouldn’t really understand the depth of it for many years, but I had learned an important truth from my friends back then:

Creativity is relational.

Looking back at my years at Blizzard, I see now how profoundly this idea has shaped my career. I see how profoundly my friends and coworkers at Blizzard have shaped me as a person.

For nearly twenty-three years I’ve had the very distinct privilege of shaping worlds and building games with the brightest creative minds in entertainment. I’ve walked with giants (and stood on some giants’ shoulders, too).

In short, I’ve had the time of my life.

I pretty much had the coolest job ever—but the truth is, sometimes it was really hard. Building games with dozens of brilliant, passionate alpha-geeks with their own red-hot instincts and perspectives can be pretty tricky. Coming to consensus about certain design decisions, story motifs, or courses of art direction takes a lot of communication, patience, and “give and take.” It stretches you. Sometimes it wasn’t all that pretty. But engaging with your teammates and collaborating through the potential quagmire of all that creative tension is where the real magic happens.

It’s not just the decisions you come to—or even the final shape of the product you craft.… It’s bigger than that—and infinitely more important. True collaboration builds trust—and trust is the basis of all lasting relationships. With trust you build more than just a great product.

You build a TRIBE…that can build anything.

A family of craftsmen.

That’s what Blizzard has been for me. My second family, through all of life’s ups and downs, it’s always been there. The great, geeky backdrop of my life. I don’t just mean “the job” or even the creative mission—but the people. The people who over and over lifted me up, believed in me—and pushed me to find my potential as both an artist and as a leader all these years.

To my Blizzard brothers and sisters…I wish I had the words.

Everything just sounds…trite.

All I can think of is…

You helped me believe in myself and achieve every one of my wildest dreams.
I am forever grateful to you.

I love you all with everything I’ve got.

Thank you.

And to all of you out there in Blizzard’s vast gaming community—those of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and all of you around the world I’ve only heard about—thank you.

Thank you all for letting me be a special part of your community. For letting me belong with you. We’ve shared countless adventures together and I’ve always been overwhelmed and humbled by your passion for our games as well your commitment to each other. Thank you for all the BlizzCon hugs, smiles, handshakes, and stories over the years. You will never know how much you’ve all touched my heart and inspired me to give my all into this craft.

With that said, I’ll try to get down to the point, here. I’ve come to a turn in the road. A new, far quieter chapter in my life looms ahead.

I am retiring.

Yup.

Hangin’ up my guns.
Clockin’ out.
Takin’ the last gryphon out of Stormwind.
You get the picture.

Crazy, I know.

It’s a massive change for me, but it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. It’s ironic given the fact that things have never been better or more energized at Blizzard. Just this year alone has been incredible.

Legion’s arrival.
The launch of Overwatch.
The Warcraft feature film.

I’ve never been more proud of Blizzard and the quality of its products than I am now. It’s remarkable that even after all these years we can still reach new heights and take the world for an amazing ride. I believe Blizzard’s future is brighter than ever.

I won’t lie—it’s going to be really hard stepping away from these worlds that I love. But I’m content that I’m leaving them in the hands of the most passionate, talented, and dedicated craftsmen ever assembled.

I can’t wait to see where Blizzard’s worlds go next—and to experience them first-hand like everyone else does. As a fan. As an adventurer. Right back to the start.

That’s just so cool…

The reason I use the word “retire” is because I’m not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that. It’s been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it’s time to slow it down. Rest. Lay around on the couch and get fat. Well, fatter.…

Seriously though, I’ll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They’re the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really live…to love my wife with all my strength…that’s my career now.

And I’ve never been happier.

Ever. ☺

Peace out, y’all.

I love you all.

I’ll see you online.

Chris

 

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Awww, I'm sorry to see you go Chris Metzen. You will be missed by me for sure. You were always and will always be my favorite guy in World of Warcraft!! I do like all of the people working for WoW. I have been playing for many years (9 1/2 yrs I believe.)  I am 59 yrs old now and i'm still playing. I will prolly play until my time has come. Oh btw Chris...my daughter is a WoW player to and she brought your new book too!! Love you til the end Chris, TC!! :D

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This is a bit sad, but very understandable, i think Chris is doing the right thing which is stopping while on top while the game is in an a good shape and he still has his good health. To many carreer people continue working for way to long and will never get to enjoy the freedom their hardearned money brought them.

All Hail the mighty Metzen!

"Chis and Chirs" - You spelled Chris' name wrong twice in the start of the text, maybe a quick fix? I mean afterall the man leaves behind a legacy, i think a fix is in order. :)

Edited by Noitacoffus
i had more to say
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Chris Metzen's artwork that they used to put in the old instruction manuals for Warcraft II and Diablo were what inspired me to try my own artistic hand.  GG Chris.

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Wowowowowow, ... just WOW! I would like to take this opportunity to say (from a "little" nobody, as it goes), THANK YOU Chris, for all you have done in your time at Blizzard. Know, that it is noticed, and you will live on forever in our gaming hearts ... all the very best mate, from Shazzy in Australia <3

Edited by shazzmuzik
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Kinda came outta nowhere, but have to respect his decision. Good luck to both him and his family. Absolutely loved everything he did for the game, always enjoyed seeing him in any documentary or panel.

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Don't leave us Chris ... :( It wont be the same with out u at Blizzard ... i am sad to hear that u are leaving us ... i wish you all the best and a happy life :) we will miss u though allot <3 thank you Chris for sharing World of Warcraft with us <3
But i hope we will see u at Blizzcons at least :D
Love you!

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Chris, thanks! Thanks for everything you made for us at Blizzard. I understand your desire to take care of your family! Take care buddy!

Blizzard should add a statue of you in front of their building!

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16 hours ago, Noitacoffus said:

 

"Chis and Chirs" - You spelled Chris' name wrong twice in the start of the text, maybe a quick fix? I mean afterall the man leaves behind a legacy, i think a fix is in order. :)

Yea, sorry about that, between the 8 times I wrote his name on the various social media channels etc I got it wrong several times, was pretty late but no excuses!

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I have to say this news made me very sad. I understand, and I respect, but I grief. There will never be any mind even remotely close to chris'

Good luck to you Chris Metzen. May the Gale winds carry you, friend.

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just realized this is a copy of his msg. Won't do much good to wish him best of luck here. I do hope he enjoys his retirement. 

Edited by Whiskey

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4 hours ago, Whiskey said:

just realized this is a copy of his msg. Won't do much good to wish him best of luck here. I do hope he enjoys his retirement. 

You never know! Maybe he reads them here too ;D

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On 14.09.2016 at 6:52 AM, Shine said:

I have to say this news made me very sad. I understand, and I respect, but I grief. There will never be any mind even remotely close to chris'

Good luck to you Chris Metzen. May the Gale winds carry you, friend.

Thought the exact same thing... we I've firstly seen this I was just sitting there doing nothing for a minute thinking that such a great mind won't do such great things anymore! After all, we could say that we're all here thanks to him!

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2 hours ago, Repeteds said:

After all, we could say that we're all here thanks to him!

I do wonder if he ever sits there and realises just how many people's lives he has changed with the game he helped forge. Marriages, families, all of it.

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17 hours ago, Repeteds said:

Thought the exact same thing... we I've firstly seen this I was just sitting there doing nothing for a minute thinking that such a great mind won't do such great things anymore! After all, we could say that we're all here thanks to him!

I like to think of him sitting with his kids before they go to bed telling them stories that make their imaginations soar. 

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10 hours ago, Whiskey said:

I like to think of him sitting with his kids before they go to bed telling them stories that make their imaginations soar. 

With everything told in the voice of Thrall..

"But Daddy, I want a princess story!"

PRINCESS THRALL VANQUISHED THE ALLIANCE...

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