Diablo IV needed a setback like it needed a bullet to the neck. But justice waits for no release schedule, and the game’s director Luis Barriga, along with Jesse McCree and Johnathan LeCraft, are the latest high-profile Blizzard employees to be let go.
Diablo IV was always destined for a bumpy path to release. Blizzard is well known for their extravagantly long development periods – something which has more often than not resulted in critical acclaim and remarkable longevity for their flagship titles.
However, in recent times the developer’s name has also become synonymous with allegations of abuse of power and sexual harassment. In an attempt to stem the bleeding, and rescue what is left of their American office’s reputation, we have seen many high profile employees terminated.
Diablo IV director Luis Barriga is one such employee whose influence may be sorely missed in a professional capacity, if not a personal one. At this moment in time it isn’t entirely clear which employees are leaving for what reasons – it appears possible, indeed understandable, that some may be choosing to do so due to their own feelings with the company.
Therefore, hold off on ascribing blame or judgement until more information is available. Nonetheless, the sheer number of people leaving Blizzard can only be interpreted as proof of how deeply ingrained the reported culture of misogyny and abuse is.
Other than the Diablo IV director, the game’s lead designer Jesse McCree and World of Warcraft designer Johnathan LeCraft have also been confirmed as “no longer with the company” by a Blizzard spokesperson.
Both McCree and LeCraft were present in released photographs taken in the infamous ‘Cosby Suite’, where it is reported that senior Blizzard figures assembled to share tales of inappropriate “frat boy” behaviour.Where this leaves Diablo IV is anyone’s guess, although Blizzard have been quick to assure fans that all is well:
“We have a deep, talented roster of developers already in place and new leaders have been assigned where appropriate. We are confident in our ability to continue progress, deliver amazing experiences to our players, and move forward to ensure a safe, productive work environment for all.”
The fate of Diablo IV is secondary to the draining of the Blizzard swamp, but it is a nice (if perhaps naïve) thought that the employees that are campaigning for justice could be the ones to redeem some of the developer’s iconic series.
If that isn’t the case though, and people would rather walk away from the whole thing, as many prominent members of the community have done, then at least it would mean no one got away unscathed.