Earlier this week, Jay Wilson, the director of Diablo III said he was leaving the title while still remaining at its publisher, Blizzard. There was a lot of cheering in the game’s official forums, because video games are not that different from sports, where fans openly root for people to lose their jobs after a disappointing year. And Diablo III, whose development history stretched more than a decade, was dogged by technical problems, a dissatisfying endgame, and an always-on Internet requirement deeply resented by those most likely to shout their disappointment.
Rob Pardo, Wilson’s boss and the game’s chief creative officer is sticking up for his former subordinate. If you want to blame someone for whatever upsets you about Diablo III, blame him, he says.
“I know that the Battle.net forums have earned a reputation for rough justice, but I do not believe justice is being served by how people are speaking about Jay’s departure from Diablo III,” he wrote. “If you still feel the need to dish out blame, then I would prefer you direct it at me. I was the executive producer on the project … I was ultimately responsible for the game we released and take full responsibility for the quality of the result.”
Even if the game’s shortcomings are seen as a matter of preference, it’s worth mentioning that Wilson doesn’t engender a lot of sympathy with longtime Diablo fans. Most notably, he said “fuck that loser,” when David Brevik, one of the original Diablo designers and co-founder of its original studio (though no longer working on the title) criticised some of the game’s design choices. Wilson not only apologized for that remark in a lengthy mea culpa, he apologized for controversial design choices like the game’s real-money auction house and its difficulty spikes.
Still, Pardo laments the treatment of his colleague, and guarantees this isn’t the last you’ll hear of Jay Wilson.
I’m the only person in this thread who has actually worked with Jay. I hired Jay to head up the Diablo project and had the pleasure of getting to work with him, both in building the team and designing the game. He has great design instincts and has added so much to the franchise with his feel for visceral combat, boss battles, and an unparalleled knack for making it fun to smash bad guys. I’ve worked with many, many designers at Blizzard and Jay is one of the best. He has a great career at Blizzard ahead of him and I guarantee that you will enjoy Jay’s game designs in future Blizzard games.