One of the three co-founders of Blizzard Entertainment has announced that he is leaving his role after nearly thirty years of work with the company. His departure will mark the end of an era for the company.
Blizzard was founded under the name Silicon & Synapse back in 1991 by three recent UCLA graduates: Allen Aldham, Mike Morhaime, and Frank Pearce. Silicon & Synapse started out as a company that dealt primarily with porting titles to other systems before it became Blizzard Entertainment in 1994, which was the same year in which they released Warcraft: Orcs and Humans for the PC. Blizzard would go on to become one of the most influential video game developers of all time, with games such as Diablo, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft changing the face of the industry.
Frank Pearce has decided that he is leaving his position of chief development officer at Blizzard and has informed the fans through a goodbye post on the official Blizzard website. The letter is an emotional piece that talks about Pearce's experiences within the industry and how much it meant to have positively impacted the lives of so many people. Pearce didn't confirm whether he would remain in the video game industry, but his farewell message implies that he intends to spend time away from gaming. He said:
"Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to have been involved with Blizzard, our games, our employees, and most importantly our community. Before Blizzard I struggled to find a place in which I felt I belonged. Now I know I will always have a place, as will many other people. Thank you to all of you for providing me the sense of inclusion I require as a person."
Pearce's goodbye letter was followed with a message from Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack, who expressed remorse at Pearce's departure. He said:
"The time has come to say goodbye to one of my heroes, one of our founders, as well as one of our friends. When I moved into my new position last year, Frank stepped into an advisory role to help with the transition, specifically working with Ray Gresko and me on our games, culture, and the future of Blizzard. His support has been invaluable to us and to say we’re going to miss him is an understatement."
The past twelve months have not been good for Blizzard on the publicity front, with the company being raked over the coals for the Diablo Immortal fiasco, the threats over legal action concerning the split between Activision Blizzard and Bungie, the mass-layoffs despite record profits, and the reports of several high-ranking members of staff departing from the company that were coming out only a month ago.
The loss of one of three founding members of the company after such a long time is another blow to the company, especially as Mike Morhaime also departed from Blizzard in 2018. Pearce was an important member of the development teams of some of the greatest video games of all time, and his role in the history of video games cannot be understated. His departure from Blizzard represents the end of an era, as one of the key figures who has worked on almost every title released by the company is now riding into the sunset, which leaves room for new blood to shape the creative direction going forward.