Today, on social media and through an official blog post, Blizzard announced significant changes in the company's executive leadership, starting with a new company President.
After 27 years, co-founder Mike Morhaime will be transitioning to an "advisory" role within the company. His replacement will be his close friend, J. Allen Brack, the current Executive Producer of World of Warcraft and 12-year "steward" of the iconic MMO.
Morhaime had this to say of the new President of Blizzard:
"J. is an inspiring leader who has shown unwavering commitment to Blizzard’s community in his 12 years with the company. His leadership on World of Warcraft leveraged his vision, creativity, and commitment to quality, and together with the rest of the dev team helped deliver an experience that is unprecedented in our industry. I couldn’t be happier for J. and know that Blizzard will continue to make great games with him at the helm. "
While fans have already been teased throughout the year that new projects are being undertaken by Blizzard, part of Brack's letter thanking the community and introducing himself as President confirms the creation of new games at the company. As he details the introduction of two new Blizzard executives, he mentions the continued "development of several new games":
"I’m pleased to announce two additions to our executive leadership team who will be instrumental as we move forward. Ray Gresko, a 10-year veteran of Blizzard who helped create both Overwatch and Diablo III, is now our chief development officer. Allen Adham, Blizzard’s original founder and lead designer of World of Warcraft, will join the executive team while continuing to oversee development of several new games. The knowledge and experience that Ray and Allen bring, in addition to the talent already on the leadership team, will be indispensable in helping move Blizzard into the future"
Avid World of Warcraft fans may remember when Brack took the unfortunate spotlight during a BlizzCon 2013 panel in which he responded to a fan question in a manner that was immediately and heavily criticized by the game's community. It was one of the most memorable "bad PR" moments of World of Warcraft's history, with Brack's confident dismissal of players' desires to recapture the classic World of Warcraft gameplay sparking widespread outrage.
The moment came back to refuel criticism over Blizzard's decision to shut down the most popular private servers that still gave players a chance to play classic WoW as it once was. Some of the largest WoW influencers and vocal supporters would go on to use Brack's words spoken at the 2013 panel as evidence of the developers misunderstanding of what players actually want.
Those same critics likely cheered when during BlizzCon 2017, it was Brack who first revealed WoW Classic edition. Now, this same member of the development team is the President of Blizzard and in his closing sentences after publically accepting the new job, he once again hints at new things arriving this BlizzCon 2018:
"BlizzCon, the IRL representation of our connection with the community, is just a month away and it’s a time of the year that Blizzard employees look forward to the most. And as usual, we have a few surprises."
Warcraft 3 remastered? This mysterious Diablo project? BlizzCon 2018 will be an eventful one, if not for the first public appearance of Blizzard's new President, then for the hype surrounding these new releases.
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