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Chacko Sonny, the Executive Producer of Overwatch 2, announced he's leaving Activision Blizzard on Friday, according to Bloomberg.
Activision Blizzard has lost an executive in charge of one of Blizzard's biggest upcoming titles -- Overwatch 2, while the company is grappling with the ongoing lawsuit and an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chacko Sonny will be leaving the company on Friday. He has not disclosed the reason for his departure. You can read the full post over at Bloomberg.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) has launched "a wide-ranging investigation into Activision Blizzard", including its handling of the sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination accusations.
The report is based on the word of people familiar with the investigation and documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal and claims that Activision Blizzard, as well as several of its senior executives (including CEO Bobby Kotick) have been subpoenaed by the SEC. The main goal of the investigation is to determine "whether Activision and its executives properly disclosed allegations of workplace harassment and gender-pay issues, and whether any of that information should have been shared earlier with investors and other parties". The agency is asking for documents - minutes from Activision Blizzard board meetings, personnel files and separation agreements, as well as CEO Bobby Kotick's communications with senior executives within the company in relation to the sexual harassment or discrimination complaints by employees.
The investigation itself has been confirmed by an Activision spokesperson, saying that it concerns “the company’s disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues,” that the subpoenas are for current and former employees, and that the company is cooperating with the investigation fully.
This comes following the recent lawsuit by the California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which accuses the company of discrimination, sexual harassment and more after a 2-year long investigation, and was recently amended by adding temporary workers and claims of investigation tampering.
You can read more on the story over on the Wall Street Journal, although it requires a subscription.
Update: Activision Blizzard has responded to the new allegations, as a spokesperson replied to IGN's request for comment:
And later added:
California's Department of Fair Employment & Housing has expanded its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard to include temporary workers and accusations of tampering with the investigation, Axios reports.
According to Axios, the ongoing lawsuit (filed in late July) was amended this Monday to redefine the group that was allegedly wronged by Activision Blizzard:
The new additions also allege that Activision Blizzard interfered with the lawsuit, via NDAs that require employees to talk to the company before talking to the DFEH, and via its involvement with the law firm hired to investigate the issues internally:
You can read the full story over at Axios.
We have some more news from the new Blizzard co-leader, as Mike Ybarra has actually been streaming lately and got some +20ies done, offered up some opinions on certain game mechanics and even suggested to play WoW's biggest competitor, Final Fantasy 14 with Complexity-Limit's GM Max!
We already knew Ybarra was an avid and pretty serious WoW player, but now he's sharing some of that with the community as he streamed a gameplay session yesterday and also mentions he will be doing Q&As in future streams. First off we have this interesting little detail, as he (very quickly) comments on the AoE cap in one of the Mythic+ runs (as spotted by RoundFriend8529).
He actually took a look at chat before saying it, so it might just be one of those "please say uncap AoE" chat moments, so perhaps there's not that much to read into the clip. But just in case he really does dislike the cap, despite him not being directly involved in the actual hands-on development of WoW, having the boss of the entire company disliking a feature that a lot of the community also isn't a fan of might add some more weight to it. But it's certainly not a definitive "AoE cap is gone soon" type thing, so don't get your hopes up too much.
Then we have this really cool offer to play Final Fantasy 14 with current world no.2 WoW guild Complexity-Limit GM Max, in response to Max's comments on not wanting to spoil the FF14 raids for himself:
And finally, if you want to check out the Blizzard co-lead's entire stream, where he goes through not only some +20ies, but also some Diablo 2: Resurrected beta action, here's the full thing. D2R starts at 23:31, but we skipped to the first +20 directly below:
While this may not seem too spectacular or impressive to some, it really is very nice to see the new co-leader of Blizzard actually playing some games, and on a pretty high level as well, not to mention the offer to play FF14! Hopefully we'll see more of Ybarra's stream in the future, with the mentioned Q&A sessions, as it really might bring Blizzard closer to the community (although that first Q&A might be a little rough, presumably).
Also, he will be streaming Diablo 2: Resurrected and Death's Door sometime today.
Kotaku reports that Diablo 4's Game Director Luis Barriga, Lead Designer Jesse McCree, and World of Warcraft Designer Jonathan LeCraft were let go from Blizzard.
Kotaku reports that three high-profile developers have left Activision Blizzard today. The news was "delivered to development teams, but not officially announced." Sources close to Kotaku claim that the company has not provided any details about their departures.
You can read the full article over at Kotaku.