Category: News ArchiveHits: 2011
Mike Morhaime, one of the original co-founders of Blizzard Entertainment, has stepped down from his position as the studio's president. From now on, he'll serve as an advisor to the company, while his previous duties will be assumed by J. Allen Brack, World of Warcraft's former executive producer.
With something new Diablo-related on the way and World of Warcraft far from its twilight years, I'm still curious to see what Blizzard has in store for us on the game side of things. But for now, we can check out a couple of open letters from the two executives:
FROM MIKE MORHAIME
Dear Members of the Blizzard Community,
When Blizzard’s founder Allen Adham first invited me to join him in creating Silicon & Synapse (our original name), nothing could have prepared me for the amazing adventure that we would share for the next 27 years. Our original mission and values consisted of four simple words that formed our foundation: “We make great games.” We crafted that statement before we had even released our first game, but we were committed to living up to it.
After many years of working with some of the industry’s most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I’ve decided it’s time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment. I will now serve as an advisor to the company I so love and admire. My duties as president of Blizzard will be assumed by my friend, colleague, trusted advisor, and longtime steward of World of Warcraft, J. Allen Brack.
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.
I am grateful to all of the hardworking and talented people at Blizzard for their dedication and creativity. Their belief in our mission and care for our players has helped Blizzard reach greater heights than I ever could have imagined.
I am also grateful to all of you in the community. We have been through so much together. Not only have you been with me through many of the greatest moments and biggest triumphs of my life, but you have also been there through some of the most difficult. I am fortunate to have been able to meet many of you in person, while the many messages, emails, Tweets, Reddit discussions, and forum posts have provided an unbelievable connection as well. Even Twitch chat. It has always brought me joy, comfort, and inspiration to see the beacons of brilliance, voices of reason, and the passion that exists and evolves every day in all of our communities.
When we started Blizzard we just wanted to make great games. What we realized is that the games we create are really just a framework for communities and human interaction. When we look back, what we often find that’s most lasting and meaningful from our experiences in games are the relationships we create and foster. You have given me the inspiration and drive to pour my heart and life into what I do. I literally couldn’t have done any of it without you. We have created these worlds, but you have given them life, through your passion, fan art, cosplay, videos, and in so many other ways.
I truly believe that this amazing community has the potential to be a shining light to the rest of the industry by setting a positive example of inclusivity, tolerance, and acceptance toward others. In the words of one of Blizzard’s core values: remember to always play nice; play fair. I know this community is capable of changing the world.
It has been an honor to serve this community for over 27 years, and I thank you for your many years of support. I look forward to being a member of the community alongside you. See you on Battle.net!
Your fellow Blizzard gamer,
FROM J. ALLEN BRACK
Today has been a swirl of emotions. First, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to Mike. His work on some of our industry’s most iconic games is the reason I came to Blizzard. Not only is he an inspiring leader, but he’s also been a wise and patient mentor to me during my time at Blizzard. And he’s been a good friend. Joining the World of Warcraft team and my favorite game company nearly 13 years ago was an unimaginable dream. Now, to be chosen to lead Blizzard into the future is both a huge honor, and a tremendous responsibility.
To do that, I’ll have the help of dedicated and talented Blizzard employees around the world who all share the same mission we have always pursued—to connect and engage the world through the most epic entertainment experiences, ever. Each of us is influenced by Blizzard’s values and a player-first mindset, which serve as the foundation of our company. With these beliefs at the core of everything we do, we’ve been able to deliver great games across different genres and platforms. And there is more to come—we’re working on more games now than at any point in Blizzard’s history.
As I transition from leading a development team to the entire company, I’ll also have the support of our team of experienced leaders at Blizzard. 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.
One thing that won’t change going forward—our deeply held commitments that are core to who we are as a company: to gameplay first, to quality in everything we do, and to listening to and partnering with our community. 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.
I want to close by thanking Mike for 27 years of amazing work: I am looking forward to your wisdom and guidance in your new role. And thank you for everything you’ve done to help create the company and the games we love.
J. Allen Brack