The game director on Blizzard's massively successful card game Hearthstone Ben Brode is departing the developer.
The shift was announced via the Blizzard forums, with Brode saying that after 15 years at Blizzard - two-thirds of which were spent on Hearthstone - he would be leaving the games giant to set up his own studio.
Brode joined Blizzard as a QA tester in 2003, before moving to a producer role in 2005. From there he rose up to game designer, a role that appears to have defined his career from that point onwards.
"I am very proud of Hearthstone," he said.
"I think we made an impact on the industry. People tell me that Hearthstone brought their family closer together, or that they became close friends with people they met at a Fireside Gathering. Others tell me they were inspired by Hearthstone to become game developers themselves. It’s incredible to be a part of something that touches so many people."
He continued:"I am very fortunate to be able to take a crazy risk right now in my life, and I’m excited to be scrappy and a little scared. I’m going to help start a new company. We’ll probably make games, but we haven’t figured anything else out, yet. I’m looking forward to designing, programming, and actually creating things again. I’m going to miss the on-campus Starbucks, though. Dang.
"Blizzard, thank you for taking a chance on me, and thank you for taking a chance on Hearthstone. I can’t wait to see what you do next.
"And to the passionate community of players – I will miss you, and the laughs we shared together. Thank you for making being a part of Hearthstone so much fun for me. I’ve loved every minute."