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After Mike Morhaime, another co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment is now leaving, as Frank Pearce departs after 28 years with the company. He has some really nice words about both the old and new guard at Blizzard and seems incredibly happy with his journey so far. We also get a comment from CEO J. Allen Brack who looks back on his time with Frank.
Frank Pearce (source)
From Frank Pearce
The time has come for me to step away from Blizzard and pass the torch to the next generation of leaders.
My journey as part of the Blizzard community began over 28 years ago. Allen offered me an opportunity to join him and Mike in their adventure and dream to make video games. Video games were a passion that we shared, and I had only a fleeting hope that I would have the opportunity to make games one day. The decision was easy for me - I did not have the benefit of internet searches to help start me down the path. Allen’s offer letter was the best and only chance I thought I might ever have. Looking back, I know how incredibly fortunate I was to have been a part of what Blizzard has become.
Our efforts were always guided by well-intentioned purpose. We made games that we wanted to play, believing that like-minded people would also want to play those games. Today we characterize it more specifically with the ambitious vision of bringing the world together through epic entertainment. I am so proud to have had the chance to positively impact the lives of so many people through the experiences we have created.
My time at Blizzard encompasses the entirety of both my professional career and my adult life. I have countless fond memories. Working with the best developers in the world on the best franchises in the world definitively stands out. Even more prominent are my memories of our first BlizzCon where I realized the special importance of the people and communities that had become part of the experience for our players.
Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to have been involved with Blizzard, our games, our employees, and most importantly our community. Before Blizzard I struggled to find a place in which I felt I belonged. Now I know I will always have a place, as will many other people. Thank you to all of you for providing me the sense of inclusion I require as a person.
I have been lucky enough to work with J and Ray for many years, and now it is their responsibility to define how the adventure continues. They are game development leaders that are incredibly talented, experienced, and truly understand what is foundationally most important for Blizzard and our community. I know that the future of Blizzard will be amazing under their guidance. There are many exciting initiatives in the works, and I can’t wait to see the end results.
Everything I have done at Blizzard has been driven by my passion. I have worked very hard and very passionately for a very long time. Now it is time for me to reflect and be thoughtful about what comes next. I plan to spend more time active in the outdoors. I’d like to learn to play an instrument. I hope to devote more time to aspects of my life that may not have gotten as much attention in the past. One thing is for certain – I will continue to be a part of the Blizzard family.
My request and hope for all of you is that you continue living the Blizzard values and that you be kind and respectful to one another as you experience what Blizzard creates in the future. Blizzard is a special place and a special community, and everyone with whom you interact is important to the Blizzard journey as it continues forward. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful past I have enjoyed, and thank you in advance for the great future I expect we will share.
Play nice, play fair,
From J. Allen Brack
The time has come to say goodbye to one of my heroes, one of our founders, as well as one of our friends. When I moved into my new position last year, Frank stepped into an advisory role to help with the transition, specifically working with Ray Gresko and me on our games, culture, and the future of Blizzard. His support has been invaluable to us and to say we’re going to miss him is an understatement.
The first time I met Frank was during a lunch interview to join Blizzard. I was nervous not only because I was excited about the opportunity to join a company I loved, but because I was sitting face-to-face with one of the founders of Blizzard.
Frank can be intimidating, and sometimes comes across as a bit gruff. Underneath is a person of deep feeling, and of deep love for both the family of Blizzard, and the unique and caring community that has grown around Blizzard games. Frank is also a person I’m proud to call a close friend. Frank was one of the people who got me into running, and we’ve run dozens of races together over the years.
Like many of us, Frank is an introvert. Thus many of you haven’t seen a lot of him publicly, nor seen the deep impact he’s had on Blizzard, and on the culture specifically. But Frank has been here from the beginning, building and expanding the foundation and championing the values behind everything Blizzard does. Blizzard is better because of Frank Pearce.
A few BlizzCons ago, Frank talked about the value of human connection through video games, feeling a sense of belonging within the community, and that comes from a very personal place for Frank. Frank might be hanging up his armor now, but because of the influence he’s had in helping to build Blizzard and the connections he’s made with so many of us, veterans and new recruits alike who are all carrying the same torch forward, he’ll always be here with us.
We love you Frank.
Frank Pearce, Blizzard co-founder leaves after 28 years.
Ex-Blizzard President Mike Morhaime talked to multiple sites about why 50% of Blizzard's projects do not get to see the light of day, why Heroes of the Storm failed, and more.
Mike Morhaime recently talked at Gamelab in Barcelona on a variety of topics.
VG247 asked him why he thought Heroes of the Storm had failed. Morhaime said he thinks it's a great game, but they didn't pursue Dota early enough, because they were all focusing on World of Warcraft.
Click here to read the full interview.
Eurogamer also had the chance to talk to the Ex-President of Blizzard and found out that:
Morhaime left Blizzard to spend more time with his family. Approximately 50% of the games developed by Blizzard will never ship, because the company is known for its renowned quality. Blizzard's canceled Titan was a follow-up to World of Warcraft, but they failed to control the scope. It was an ambitious next-gen MMO, but Blizzard struggled to wrangle Titan's engine into a workable enough state, so they made Overwatch out of it. Other discussed subjects include Diablo III's RMAH, and Diablo: Immortal. You can read the full interview at Eurogamer.
Le Monde, one of France's most respected publications, said in a piece published yesterday (full content for subscribers only) about the layoffs at Blizzard Europe and that Diablo 4 was shown to Blizzard employees.
The article focuses mostly on the struggles at Blizzard Europe caused by the process of laying off 30% of the employees, which has apparently not been completed yet. Later in the article, the author starts explaining Blizzard's current situation, with most of its titles reaching the end of their lives or having not performed as expected. The following paragraph then follows about the future of the company.
This translates as:
What about the future? Teams at Blizzard Entertainment have already been presented with the long-awaited Diablo 4 and know that a new Overwatch game is in development. But neither of these two games will be released before 2020, at the very best, and employees at Versailles have no idea if they will still be around when they eventually release. « Activision Blizzard will be making less of a profit, but this will still amount to a lot of profit », says a veteran employee.
In a piece about Blizzard's layoffs in France, Le Monde says that Diablo 4 has been shown to Blizzard employees.
It's Ghost all over again, it seems, as multiple sources have told Kotaku that Blizzard has cancelled project "Ares", apparently a first person shooter that's "like Battlefield in the StarCraft universe". The project was some 2 years along and, depending on which source you ask, was either looking good or that progress was coming along slowly.
As we all remember, StarCraft Ghost had a similar fate, although it made it through 4 years of development before being cancelled. The reported reason this new project was cancelled was so that Blizzard could put more focus into developing Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 (which are both expected to be announced at this year's BlizzCon), and the cancellation came as a "massive shock" to at least one of the developers when it was announced a few weeks ago.
The lead designer on Ares was Dustin Browder (he was also the lead for SC2: Wings of Liberty and Heroes of the Storm) and it began as "an experiment to see what the team could do with StarCraft on the Overwatch engine" There were already prototypes set up where Terran marines could shoot Zerg, and there was even talk of potential playable Zerg as well.
This tweet is almost certainly related to the cancelled project, but the dev here wasn't necessarily one of the ones talking to Kotaku:
Blizzard also had this to say to Kotaku in reference to the cancelled game, but they didn't acknowledge any specifics or even that anything has been cancelled:
You should definitely head on over to the original Kotaku article and read it in full, as there's more detailed info about the whole matter.
Republican Senator Josh Howley has proposed a ban on loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in titles for minors, claiming they are preying on user addiction and exploiting children.
The Chinese government has restricted the number of loot boxes players can open each day and the government of Belgium said they were in violation of its gambling laws, according to BBC.
Numerous countries including Australia, Denmark, Germany, and the UK had determined that loot boxes had nothing to do with gambling.
On the other side of the spectrum, there's a chance loot boxes will be ruled illegal in the US in titles popular with minors.
Republican Senator Howley said of his proposed Protecting Children from Abusive Games Bill:
As a prime example, Howley singled out King's Candy Crush, where players can purchase a $149 bundle that comes with 1,000 units of its in-game currency.
The problem, however, does not only affect Candy Crush. The issue of loot boxes first came into light with Battlefront 2. Currently, a large portion of popular games, including Overwatch, PUBG, and Rocket League, all encourage microtransactions.
The bill first needs to pass the Senate and the House of Representatives, before potentially becoming a law, says Gamespot.
Protecting Children from Abusive Games Bill