One of the co-founders of Blizzard Entertainment Frank Pearce (pictured) has said he is leaving the company.
In a blog post on the beloved games firm's website, Pearce said that he is grateful for his time at the development giant.
His departure comes just nine months after fellow co-founder Mike Morhaime stepped down from the president role at the Overwatch firm, with long-time Blizzard employee and World of Warcraft executive producer J. Allen Brack replacing him in the top job.
Pearce has worked on more or less every game that Blizzard has released during his 28-year stint at the developer, from 1993's The Lost Vikings all the way up to Overwatch, which launched in 2016, by way of Diablo, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft and many other beloved titles.
"Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to have been involved with Blizzard, our games, our employees, and most importantly our community," he said.
"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."
He continued: "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."
Blizzard's recently-promoted boss J. Allen Brack added: "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."
He continued: "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."