Chris Metzen departs Blizzard, World of Warcraft for retirement

Chris Metzen announced this evening that he is leaving Blizzard and “retiring” — and he says he means it.

Formally Blizzard’s Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development, Metzen has been one of core creative minds behind both the Warcraft and Diablo universes, known best to MMORPG players for his role in steering World of Warcraft’s plotlines, not to mention his voicing of several key characters.

“The reason I use the word ‘retire’ is because I’m not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that. It’s been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it’s time to slow it down. Rest,” he told players tonight. “I’ll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They’re the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really live… to love my wife with all my strength… that’s my career now.”

Blizz has not yet issued a statement. Given Legion’s strong launch performance, we reckon Metzen fancied going out on top.

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