Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce departs the studio

    
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When Blizzard Entertainment was created in 1991, three men were at the center of this new venture: Michael Morhaime, Allen Adham, and Frank Pearce. All three were fresh faces from UCLA and looking to make their mark on the games industry.

While Blizzard took off into the stratosphere, over time its co-founders departed: first Adham (who subsequently returned), then a couple of years ago Morhaime, and now Pearce. Pearce announced that after 28 years, he is stepping away from the company — but said that he’d continue to be “part of the Blizzard family.”

“Everything I have done at Blizzard has been driven by my passion,” Pearce wrote. “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.”

It’s been a rough year of layoffs and departures for the World of Warcraft studio. The esports division has seen desertions, Mike Morhaime left his advisory role in April, CFO Spencer Neumann was let go at the start of the year, and a huge round of layoffs rocked Blizzard this past February.

Source: Blizzard
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Grave Knight

I’m guessing either he was forced out and this was just some PR trickery to make it look like he’s retiring or he’s actually stepping down so he can plot the downfall of certain elements in Blizzard with a meticulous plan involving him, Morhaime, Adham, Metzen, and a plucky young intern in an Ocean’s 11 type heist.

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Zero_1_Zerum

Anyone else remember the original StarCraft? That was a fun game. I liked playing as the Protoss, with the Dark Templars slashing things to bits. Good times.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

I don’t know quite how to take this. I don’t wish the guy ill or envy him anything, and I honestly hope everyone who has lost their jobs can weather the storm, but… WoW kinda sucks. Like EverQuest sucked, and I was quite invested in EQ. Their product lines are stale, and if their specialty was refining the ideas of more enterprising studios for the mass market, then they’ve done a really piss-poor job of following the trends.

Morhaime was their last chance. If they’d been able to retool the franchise around what he was telling them… but now I don’t really have much hope. WoW will not die any more than Everquest is dead, but the mantle seems to be being passed.

I hope it’s not Fortnite. My brother-in-law insisted I watch the most recent event. It’s fearsomely popular. He’s a damned fool.

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rafael12104

Well, he did put in 28 years. And at some point retiring to enjoy your giant stacks of money seems warranted.

Don’t get me wrong. I do think that if the company was what it used to be before Activision, he may not step away now.

And yet, I think Pearce deserves a wonderful sunset now if he wants it.

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Nathan Aldana

Put in 28 years.

You know, nevermind the average worker in the US puts in double to triple that and never gets to retire.

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Bruno Brito

Completely agree, but i’m not going to blame Frank for a issue that’s not his fault.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I was just thinking that, he must come from a long line of Civil Servants with cushy pensions, great health insurance, and decent retirement options after 20 years with full vestment after 25 years.

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rafael12104

Never said otherwise.

I’m simply pointing out that it may not be the case that he is getting pushed out or is protesting the company’s new direction. He may simply want to retire and reminisce about the company he started.

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Dankey Kang

I agree. He may as well spend the next 10 years swimming through his money bin like Uncle Scrooge before the world explodes due to global warming/nuclear war/alien invasion.

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Tee Parsley

You forgot the Zombie Apocalypse!!

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Bruno Brito

“Part of Blizzard Family”.

How much artifact power do you need to grind to become part of it?

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

let me go check with Ion.

Alyn
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Alyn

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As the sun sets in the East, we bid farewell, Frank.

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Sorenthaz

Definitely hard not to feel that Blizzard’s steadily going the way of a company like Bioware where their founders left awhile ago and now Bioware is a husk of its former self trying desperately to not get cannibalized by their corporate overlord.

It’s really not a good thing when the things people are most looking forward to right now are Blizzard going backwards.

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Kayweg

Only, there was no games “industry” in 1991.:D

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Nathan Aldana

thats adorable.

naive. but adorable.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Of course there was. I don’t get what you’re trying to say, are you trying to make a joke over the difference of the industry at the time or do you believe this?

A quick search shows an amazing amount of classic games actually came out in 1991 too.

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Utakata

You know…there is some ominous feeling over these high profile “resignations” I have. Though I have a hunch it’s more to do with direction of the studio than it’s demise. Leaving us with a likelier leaner studio, crappier products and higher return for their creditors. Or tl,dr: A new Blizzard without it’s soul. /sigh

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Ashfyn Ninegold

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McGuffn

Blizzard thanks you for your patience. For holding out this long at least!

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Oh, not me. I imagine that’s what Peace and his contemporaries shout at the Board of Directors as they throw down their resignations.