Following the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard by the state of California this summer, Blizzard let go several long-time developers in leadership positions. Among them was Diablo 4's game director Luis Barriga. Blizzard have now officially filled that position with another long-time Diablo series designer Joe Shely, they've announced in a blog post.
Blizzard have published another of their quarterly Diablo IV update posts. This month's begins with a message from Shely, previously a design lead on Diablo IV, who's also worked on Diablo III and World Of Warcraft, who acknowledges that "a lot has happened since our last blog," which was back in June.
"Like many of you, our team has been reflecting upon recent events," Shely says, adding that "the hard work of practicing the values we aspire to must continue." As far as acknowledgement of "recent events" goes, that's about it, though. Shely discusses the importance of sound design in the world of Diablo and hands over the update post to the folks in charge of talking about that area of the game's development.
Back when Blizzard announced they'd let Barriga and other employees go, they said, "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."
Diablo IV is still deep in development, so far as we know, without a release year or date announced yet. That means a lot of work together still to go for the entire Diablo IV team now being led by Shely. "We have ways to go, and while much has changed, our commitment to the game is unwavering," Shely also says in the update post.
So as to avoid getting them too mixed up, this is the result of just one of several labor and workplace issues that Blizzard are currently navigating. The Communications Workers Of America union has also filed charges against ActiBlizz related to employee rights to self-organise. The SEC are also investigating the company for not disclosing issues to investors. They've also committed to an $18 million settlement with the EEOC over a different sexual harassment and discrimination case.