It’s obviously not been a great year at Activision-Blizzard. Between the numerous state lawsuits about violations of labor law and just, well, general awfulness, there hasn’t been a lot for the company to hang their hat on in the games space to distract most people from all that either. That problem is only exasperated as two of the publisher’s biggest upcoming titles, Diablo IV and Overwatch 2, have been delayed to an indeterminate point in the future.
The news comes from an Activision-Blizzard release ahead of their quarterly earnings call, stating that both games “are now planning for a later launch…than originally envisaged.” Seeing as how neither game had a public date but were presumed to release in 2022, it’s entirely possible they’re missing their internal target dates and may even slip to 2023 or beyond. Overwatch 2 feels particularly needed, as work has stopped on the first game to focus on the development of a now-further-off sequel.
Additionally, Blizzard co-leader Jen Oneal has chosen this time to announce her departure as co-lead of the company. Oneal and Mike Ybarra, formerly of Xbox, were installed as coequal leaders of Blizzard after J. Allen Brack stepped down following allegations he ignored a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination at the studio in August.
Yes, that’s August of 2021. Three months ago.
On social media, several Blizzard employees have indicated that they only heard about Oneal’s departure during the investor call and were not told ahead of time. Oneal will be leaving Ybarra in sole charge of the studio, transferring her responsibilities to him before the end of the year, leaving a company with seemingly massive sexual discrimination issues back to a single man in control.