Is it a day ending with ‘Y’? Well, that must mean it’s time to write another news story about Activision Blizzard. While the company are ramping up to put out another Call of Duty game, the heavily scrutinised Blizzard has not only just hired and then lost their first woman co-lead in its storied history but has seemingly delayed both Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 indefinitely.
Yes, we’re back in the realms of Starcraft 2 and the lost Titan MMO of ‘when it’s done’ release territory.
Weirdly, the 2022 season of Overwatch’s eSports league will be still using an early build of Overwatch 2 to compete with, even though the game might not see the light of day until 2023. I would assume that would be when we see any updates on it.
The co-lead, Jen Oneal, has announced that she’ll be leaving to explore the industry’s much-needed diversity issues, which is understandable after Oneal was at the forefront of the Activision walkout in the summer. Staff walked out over the ongoing lawsuit from the State of California over a two-year investigation into the mistreatment of its employees.
“I am doing this not because I am without hope for Blizzard, quite the opposite – I’m inspired by the passion of everyone here, working towards meaningful, lasting change with their whole hearts.
This energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect, and hopefully make a broader industry impact that will benefit Blizzard (and other studios) as well.
While I am not totally sure what form that will take, I am excited to embark on a new journey to find out.”
Oneal during the investors’ call.
Diablo 4 however, is the oddity here. The game was obviously delayed due to COVID and the release of Diablo 2 Resurrected was to tide fans over, while Diablo Immortal has now entered closed beta on Android, providing a Diablo-esque experience wherever a fan may go while they wait for the true sequel to Diablo 3.
The game had entered its press tour mode, with a big focus last year during the all online Blizzcon – which has now been cancelled indefinitely as well. The game looked ready for a soonish release date, but it seems that the studio – during a huge upheaval – have decided to bank on delaying the game in hopes of the better press if they get released next year or to continue working on the games that have had massive leadership changes behind the scenes.
Maybe it’s both.