Blizzard Entertainment’s longtime Game Director Luis Barriga and Lead Designer Jesse McCrea have both resigned from the game company, as confirmed by Activision Blizzard. World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft has also reportedly left the company.
The departures of Barriga and McCrea come weeks after a lawsuit was filed against Activision Blizzard alleging a toxic work environment of sexism and sexual harassment. According to Kotaku, the employees had been removed from Blizzard Entertainment’s internal staff roster and Slack, with their images and developer profiles also removed from Blizzard’s news site.
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Luis Barriga’s Impact on Blizzard Entertainment
Luis Barriga had been with Blizzard since 2005, working on the developer’s World of Warcraft expansion before shifting his focus to the highly anticipated Diablo IV. As the lead game director, Barriga was responsible for overseeing the development of the action role-playing game that was set to continue the franchise’s legacy. However, with his departure, it remains unclear how this will impact the development of Diablo IV and its release date.
Jesse McCrea’s Legacy at Blizzard Entertainment
Jesse McCrea had been Blizzard’s lead level designer since 2005, and his impact on the company cannot be understated. Named in the recent lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard, McCrea was also pictured in a recently released photo of what Kotaku referred to as the “Cosby Suite.” The hotel room was mentioned in the lawsuit as being allegedly named after Bill Cosby, who stands accused of rape, and where female employees were frequently subjected to inappropriate behavior by male coworkers.
Jonathan LeCraft’s Time with Blizzard
Jonathan LeCraft worked on World of Warcraft as a Senior Game Designer and is known for his work on the game’s raid designs. LeCraft had been with Blizzard for over a decade before his sudden departure from the company.
The departure of these three veteran employees from Blizzard Entertainment underscores the depth of the issues around sexual harassment and sexism in the video game industry. While some may view these resignations as a positive first step in the right direction, others remain skeptical about the efficacy of corporate statements and actions without significant changes in leadership and culture. It’s clear that Activision Blizzard and other game companies must take concrete steps to ensure that employees feel valued and protected from retaliation when they speak out against harassment and abuse.