Last month, we reported on a producer for World of Warcraft who expressed his frustration about seeing developers leave Blizzard, saying the team has resorted to “crisis maps” for what features can be shipped thanks to the decisions of upper management. According to new insider reporting from additional devs at Blizzard, employees leaving the studio of their own accord isn’t just affecting WoW but could also have an effect on Diablo IV.
Kotaku’s insider source from the D4 team claims that devs working on the ARPG are putting in notice as a result of the studio’s return-to-office mandate and suggests that the number of people leaving Blizzard could be enough to affect D4’s post-launch updates – even though managers working on the game don’t agree with the company mandate themselves.
“To lose people leading up to a launch like this is really bad,” said the developer. “My team feels like everything could be remote. We’ve done even more work during the pandemic [while remote].”
That same dev is also suggesting that Blizzard is “tightening its belt right now and they want people to leave” instead of firing employees, while Kotaku cites additional unnamed sources who say that those who are trying to apply for work-from-home status are facing an “opaque” process and most are not getting approval; readers will recall that these statements corroborate accusations leveraged by the Better ABK proto-union.
In spite of the apparent flow of devs voluntarily leaving Blizzard, it would seem that the company is still digging its heels in. According to recorded remarks made during a town hall meeting between devs and management last week, CEO Bobby Kotick claimed that in-person work was necessary because “great ideas came from serendipitous encounters, people not having the planned conversation,” with Kotick pointing to the company’s purchase of Guitar Hero developer RedOctane as an example of one of these conversations. Apparently no serendipitous encounters are expected with Chief Administrative Officer Brian Bulatao or Chief Communications Officer Lulu Cheng Meservey, who are blessed with full-time remote status.