Wind of change.
So yeah, Blizzard has changed quite a bit since its announcement of Diablo Immortal last year, among other issues. This isn’t just apparent to everyone else who supported the company, but also from its former employees.
Such is the case of Diablo creators and Blizzard North’s founders David Brevik, Erich Shaefer, and Max Schaefer. According to a PC Gamer write-up, the trio unanimously agree that the company has changed.
“It’s not ‘sort of’ changed, it has completely change,” said Max Schaefer. “The old Blizzard is gone. When we quit, there was like 180 employees total. There’s thousands now. The whole empire is different, and Activision didn’t have any influence. At that point it was just Blizzard and then some anonymous corporate owner, Vivendi or whoever. That was it.”
And so now [Blizzard is] a video game empire that has to appease shareholders and all that sort of stuff.”
Brevik added that this change isn’t exclusive to just Blizzard, but to all companies. When the company got big with its trifecta of IPS -WarCraft, StarCraft, and Diablo- it was harder for the trio to focus on creative design and avoid the corporate talk.
“I think the biggest thing is we didn’t talk about shareholder value,” said Erich Schaefer. “We didn’t talk about the Chinese government and what they might want. The only thing we ever talked about was what we wanted to do and what the fans would like. It’s obviously not the case anymore, for better or worse. I don’t blame them. They’re a giant corporation.”
Max Schaefer added that they left because they wanted to be more self-deterministic and not be beholden to some organization.
“Nothing ever stays the same. We would not have survived [Blizzard’s] growth in any form by staying there. It would have just driven us crazy because it’s just all we want to do is have a team and make the games we want to make. That’s possible in the small group like Blizzard used to be and it’s not possible in a media conglomerate empire thing that they have right now.
Because of the structure of Blizzard now they think with their wallets first. I think that kind of led the decision making more than anything, and they’d maybe underestimated what people’s perception of [buckling under Chinese government and NetEase pressure] would be.”