Last year was one of the most rock-solid in memory for computer gaming platform Blizzard Entertainment. Diablo's malicious message: Immortal at BlizzCon 2018 was just the beginning of a tumultuous year of news such as Blizzard, job cuts in spite of posting record profits, rumors of Activision's growing spending impact and a huge international dispute when two Taiwanese carolers and a pro Hearthstone was banned when said player used his post-match interview to call for Hong Kong independence from China.
At the convention of ExileCon fans in New Zealand this weekend, I had the opportunity to speak with Blizzard North founders and Diablo creators David Brevik, Erich Schaefer and Max Schaefer about their recent controversy. Blizzard. This interview, which includes their views on the message of Diablo 4, the past and present of Blizzard and the gaming industry in China, will be published in full on PC Gamer later this week.
During our chat, I asked Brevik, Erich and Max Schaeffer if it was difficult for me to watch a company, what they had helped build embroideries in the last year, and if it felt like Blizzard had "changed."
"This is not 'something like' changed, completely changed," Contested Brevik, noting that the only original Blizzard developers that remain are Senior Art Director Samwise Didier and President J. Alan Brack, with whom Brevik still talks regularly.
"Old Blizzard is gone," added Max Schaefer. "When we left, there were a total of 1
This change in the values and culture of Blizzard Entertainment is nothing new. It's something that" happens to companies all the time, "Brevik said, and is a natural part of any company that grows into a massive corporation.  Brevik and the Schaefer brothers said that even during the development of Diablo 2, there was a constant battle for its masculine, satanic aesthetic between Blizzard North and Blizzard Entertainment, the main branch of the company originally founded by Mike Morheim, Alan Adam and Frank But as Blizzard continued to grow after the success of Diablo, Wa rcraft and StarCraft, it became harder for the trio to focus on creative design and avoid corporate bureaucracy. "
" I think the biggest thing is we didn't talk about shareholder value, "said Erich Schaefer." for the Chinese government and what they may want. The only thing we talked about was what we wanted to do and what the fans wanted. Obviously, this is no longer the case, for better or for worse. I don't do it "don't blame them. They're a giant corporation."
"You can't be as big and be as free as we were and one of the reasons we left was to let's be more self-determined and not be attached to any monstrous organization, "Max Schaefer said. "Nothing ever remains the same. We would not have survived [Blizzard’s] growth in any form by staying there. It would just drive us crazy, because that's all we just want to have as a team and make the games we want to It's possible in a small group like Blizzard, and it's not possible in the media conglomerate empire they have right now. "
Although Brevik, Max and Erich Schaefer left Blizzard in 2003 and never did not have to deal with the contemporary challenges of Blizzard's huge global presence, o Aubenas in eportite, I was curious how they feel during the entire dispute over Blizzard, which prohibits player Hearthstone Chung & # 39; Blitzchung & # 39; Ng Wai – especially since all three of them have experience publishing games in China and working with Chinese partners. Brevik acts as an advisor to the Chinese edition of Path of Exile and the two Schaefers have worked with Chinese investors and publishers in their various games.
"First of all, sometimes you wake up in the morning and you just don't win the situation," Max Schaefer said. "And I think to some extent that happened with [Blizzard]. There was no clear way out. And I think they kind of messed it up, but obviously they couldn't get through it without some controversy. "
With regard to rumors and fears that Blizzard is twisting under pressure from the Chinese government or Blizzard's publishing partner, NetEase, Brevik said. that this sounds "like a conspiracy theory."
"Because of the structure of Blizzard, they now think first with their portfolios," Max Schaefer reasoned. "I think this kind of thing has led to decision making more than anything, and they may be underestimating what would people's perception of it be.
"Blizzard was back in the situation th non-profits, "said brevican." If they are not punished, then what? Will they just become this free speech platform for any kind of political movement that everyone wants to take? They had to do something, but is it working perfectly? Probably not. I mean, that's why they apologized. "
My full interview with David Brevik, Max and Erich Schaefer and more coverage of The Path to Exile, including his new campaign called Path to Exile 2 will be published later on week.