After 23 years spent witnessing a whirlwind of changes within the company, Blizzard senior vice president Chris Metzen has announced his retirement from the developer and the gaming industry at large.
Metzen, who ends his career as the senior vice president of story and franchise development, first joined Blizzard when it was called Chaos Studios. He came on board as an animator and artist, beginning with contributions to the first Warcraft as well as Justice League Task Force.
In an open letter published on the Diablo 3 forums, Metzen wrote that he had just turned 20 when he began at Blizzard and that his time there would “ultimately shape the course of my adult life”.
“I pretty much had the coolest job ever — but the truth is, sometimes it was really hard. Building games with dozens of brilliant, passionate alpha-geeks with their own red-hot instincts and perspectives can be pretty tricky,” Metzen wrote.
“Coming to consensus about certain design decisions, story motifs, or courses of art direction takes a lot of communication, patience, and “give and take.” It stretches you. Sometimes it wasn’t all that pretty. But engaging with your teammates and collaborating through the potential quagmire of all that creative tension is where the real magic happens.”
Metzen, aged 42, said he would be using his newfound time to slow down and connect more with his family. He’s not moving onto other projects or companies at this stage, although he has co-authored graphic novels in the past.
One of Metzen’s last public contributions to Blizzard is in World of Warcraft: Legion, where he voiced Varian Wrynn and Thrall, the latter being a role he has upheld since Warcraft 3.