Blizzard's monster-clicker Diablo IV and face-shooter Overwatch 2 have both been delayed, pushing their uncertain launches even further into the future. Blizzard had never stated a release date for either game anyway, we only had a vague hint that they didn't expect to launch them in 2021. Now, maybe 2023 at earliest?
"These are two of the most eagerly anticipated titles in the industry, and our teams have made great strides towards completion in recent quarters," Activision Blizzard chief operating officer Daniel Alegre said on the company's latest earnings conference call yesterday, partially reading from the prepared presentation. "But we believe giving the teams some extra time to complete production and continue growing their creative resources to support the titles after launch will ensure that these releases delight and engage their communities for many years into the future."
Sounds like they had indeed planned to launch them in 2022, so this is pushing them into 2023 at earliest. Extending development to make a game better is not rare, and certainly not bad, though Blizzard's current status is a little more uncommon.
This year, three separate legal battles have made various allegations of discrimination, harrassment, retaliation, and unfair labour practices against Activision Blizzard, and Blizzard in particular. Following this, studio head J. Allen Brack stepped down, the director of Diablo 4 is gone and replaced, and over 20 Actiblizz employees have in some way "exited" following investigations into their behaviour.
"As we have worked with new leadership in Blizzard and within the franchises themselves, particularly in certain key creative roles, it has become apparent that some of the Blizzard content planned for next year will benefit from more development time to reach its full potential," the company said yesterday.
Alegre added, "As we grow our teams with new hires, we are keenly aware of the importance and responsiblity we have to ensure a safe working environment for our people. This is our number one priority."
The company have bowed to some demands from employees, though not all. Actiblizz CEO Bobby Kotick has also volunteered to take a big paycut until the board deem they've actually improved. I'm sure he'll be fine with the millions he's already earned.