Blizzard’s MOBA Heroes of the Storm is undergoing some big changes. The developer announced today that it is moving some developers on the game to other projects, while the game’s major competitive tournaments are coming to an end.
In a blog post, Blizzard’s J. Allen Brack and Ray Gresko said the developer is making the “tough choice” to move developers from Heroes of the Storm to other projects.
“We need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects,” Blizzard said. “As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects.”
Brack and Gresko added that this is nothing new for Blizzard. As part of its ongoing evaluation of its own development processes, it regularly makes “hard decisions” like this that can pay dividends down the road.
“We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history,” they said, adding that games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch “would not exist” were in not for Blizzard’s decision to scale back other projects.
Even though Blizzard is scaling back development on Heroes of the Storm, the game will still be “actively” supported with more heroes, special events, and “other” new content. However, Blizzard acknowledged that updates might be slower than in the past. The overall goal is for the game to be available over the “long-term” but Blizzard didn’t put any specific dates on how long it plans to support the game.
Another part of the announcement was around Heroes of the Storm competitive tournaments. Blizzard is shutting down the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm tournament series; they won’t be back in 2019.
“This was another very difficult decision for us to make,” Brack and Gresko said. “The love that the community has for these programs is deeply felt by everyone who works on them, but we ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect.”
It is unclear if there were any layoffs at Blizzard related to these changes with Heroes of the Storm. We spoke with a Blizzard representative, but they said Blizzard does not discuss personnel-related matters. You can read a quick Q&A with Blizzard below.
An in-depth report from Kotaku claims Blizzard management is trying to cut costs and ship more games. Some said they believe that Blizzard’s culture is changing. Blizzard founder and CEO Mike Morhaime left the company in October.
Heroes of thee Storm was released in 2015. The free-to-play multiplayer game features characters from across Blizzard’s suite of series. A 2.0 edition of the game came out in 2017, containing a number of changes. GameSpot’s Heroes of the Storm review scored the game a 9/10, with writer Tyler Hicks saying the game is a “must-play” for MOBA players and Blizzard enthusiasts.
GameSpot: What led to this decision?
Blizzard: With more live games and unannounced projects than ever before, we’re at a point where we need to focus more of our resources in areas that could benefit greatly from the additional support. As a result, we made the difficult decision to transition some of the extremely talented developers from Heroes to other teams at Blizzard. We’ve had to make decisions like this in the past, and it’s never easy, but it’s one of the factors that’s enabled us to continue developing games that our players love.
GameSpot: How many people are working on Heroes?
Blizzard: We generally don’t disclose specifics about team size. However, the Heroes team will continue to have a smaller but dedicated development team that will continue supporting the game with new content.
GameSpot: When you say you’ll actively support the game with new content, how will that compare to before this change?
Blizzard: Heroes players can continue to look forward to new content in the future, including new heroes and themed events, but at a different cadence. We’ll be sharing more specifics in the future, so keep an eye out for updates from the Heroes team.
GameSpot: Were there any layoffs related to this shift?
Blizzard: While we don’t publicly discuss personnel-related matters, this change was made at a time when we have more live games and unannounced projects than ever before, and we felt we needed to focus more of our resources in areas that could benefit greatly from the additional support.