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Burnout, release drought have Blizzard facing down dev departures

A lengthy read from IGN digs into why longtime Blizzard devs are leaving the company for greener (and often indie-r) pastures.

“It feels like the company is just bleeding and taking punches, and realistically, the only thing that is gonna stop that is shipping Diablo 4 or Overwatch 2."

- One anonymous Blizzard dev reflects on how a lull in releases has impacted studio morale.

Overwatch developer Blizzard has endured a string of high-profile departures over the last few years as developers opt to end their sometimes decades-long stints at the company for greener (and often indie-r) pastures.

Those exits, which have so far included big names like Jeff Kaplan and co-founders Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce, are what prompted a recent story from IGN exploring why Blizzard seems to be enduring a developer exodus, and how devs still at the company are navigating the regular loss of team cornerstones.

The full story, found here, is a long but worthwhile read. It captures the experiences of several developers, including recent departures and those still at the studio, in order to explore why the last few years have been difficult for both individual devs and Blizzard as a whole.

Those high-profile departures mentioned earlier on only contribute to those issues, with one anonymous source noting that it's easier to talk developers into leaving for other opportunities when "the narrative is like, this place is going downhill."

For some, morale has been hurt by a years-long dry spell of new releases. Blizzard's last major release was Overwatch back in 2016. In the years since, developers at Blizzard have endured project cancellations, reduced bonuses as player numbers decline, and an overall air of uncertainty surrounding the future.

“It feels like the company is just bleeding and taking punches, and realistically, the only thing that is gonna stop that is shipping Diablo 4 or Overwatch 2,” another anonymous Blizzard source tells IGN.

“We talk all the time about like, ‘We really kinda messed up long-term planning, you know? Our release slates and things like that,'" they continue. "If you look at how long the games take to make, and Diablo 4 and Overwatch are probably shaping up to ship roughly around the same time or in successive years, it is hard to imagine this not happening again to Blizzard.”

The full story, including insight from many more developers, can be found on IGN.

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