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A number of veteran Blizzard developers departed the company this year

A number of veteran Blizzard developers departed the company this year

Developer and publisher Blizzard's run of bad PR continues with the news that a number of high-profile members of staff have left the company.

According to Kotaku, the director of MOBA Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft II lead designer Dustin Browder departed Blizzard earlier this year, as did Heathstone's director Eric Dodds and production director Jason Chayes.

“Yes, Eric, Dustin, and Jason made the decision to move on from Blizzard a few months ago," a Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement.

"They have been and always will be considered members of the Blizzard family, and we’ve loved working with them over the years. We wish them the best for the future. That said, we want to make sure it’s clear that development of Blizzard games has always been a collaborative effort between many talented, longstanding teammates here continuing that good work.”

These are just the latest in a run of departures from the company. At the start of 2019, Activision Blizzard announced that eight per cent of its global workforce - around 800 people - was being laid off. Around a quarter of these cuts were made at Blizzard's US operation, with 209 members of staff losing their jobs

This follows Blizzard drawing the ire of its community, staff and even US politicians with its decision to ban professional Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai for having a pro-Hong Kong stance during a tournament livestream.

More recently, details of a forthcoming sequel to 2016's hit team shooter Overwatch leaked via documents for the upcoming Blizzcon. Asked about the upcoming community event which is no doubt going to be, um, 'lively' in the wake of Blizzard's last few weeks, a spokesperson tried to big up the positive aspects of the conference.

"BlizzCon has always been a place where we celebrate the passion and diversity of the Blizzard community, where we encourage and support the many creative and thoughtful ways attendees share and reflect their views and interests—and this year will be no different. We welcome open, constructive, and civil discussion of different perspectives at the show, and we do still plan to have fan Q&A at certain panels as we normally do," they said.

"The safety and security of our attendees is and has always been a top priority, and every year we iterate with new measures to bring our event even more up-to-date while doing everything we can to create a comfortable environment for everyone.

"Everyone at Blizzard has been working very hard in the lead-up to BlizzCon. We appreciate all of the interest in learning about our potential plans for the show—we know we’re fortunate that people care enough about our games to actively seek out the latest details—and we’re all very much looking forward to seeing everyone and sharing our latest news."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.