For those of you that might not have been around during Blizzard's early years, Chris Metzen was one of the key game designers behind some of the most famous Blizzard franchises of all time: Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft. He worked as an artist on numerous games you probably know and love, he invented the Diablo universe as we know it today, and also heavily influenced the course of both Starcraft and Warcraft. Best of all, he was a voice actor for some of Blizzard's most awesome characters: Skeleton King, Terran Marine, Thrall, Nefarian, Saurfang, and most importantly, Bastion from Overwatch!
To put all of this simply, Chris Metzen was a major influence behind some of the biggest franchises we know today. With that in mind, I have a bit of bad news, or rather good news depending on who you ask. According to a recently posted announcement over on the Blizzard forums, Chris Metzen is retiring from game development in order to spend some quality time with his family. Here's a few choice quotes from his announcement:
"Looking back at my years at Blizzard, I see now how profoundly this idea has shaped my career. I see how profoundly my friends and coworkers at Blizzard have shaped me as a person. For nearly twenty-three years I’ve had the very distinct privilege of shaping worlds and building games with the brightest creative minds in entertainment. I’ve walked with giants (and stood on some giants’ shoulders, too).
In short, I’ve had the time of my life.
That’s what Blizzard has been for me. My second family, through all of life’s ups and downs, it’s always been there. The great, geeky backdrop of my life. I don’t just mean “the job” or even the creative mission—but the people. The people who over and over lifted me up, believed in me—and pushed me to find my potential as both an artist and as a leader all these years.
And to all of you out there in Blizzard’s vast gaming community—those of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and all of you around the world I’ve only heard about—thank you.
Thank you all for letting me be a special part of your community. For letting me belong with you. We’ve shared countless adventures together and I’ve always been overwhelmed and humbled by your passion for our games as well your commitment to each other. Thank you for all the BlizzCon hugs, smiles, handshakes, and stories over the years. You will never know how much you’ve all touched my heart and inspired me to give my all into this craft.
With that said, I’ll try to get down to the point, here. I’ve come to a turn in the road. A new, far quieter chapter in my life looms ahead.
I am retiring.
Hangin’ up my guns.
Takin’ the last gryphon out of Stormwind.
You get the picture."
While I'm not a fan of how formulaic and cliche Metzen's overall stories tend to be, I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness as the main man behind some of my favorite games of all time has decided to stop creating more of them. But alas, I can certainly understand his reasoning. Here's to hoping he finds the family life as fulfilling as millions of people have found his games!