Activision Blizzard is pushing out production of Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV to afford its creative teams more time to develop both games.
In what looks like a presentation slide shared by Axios reporter Stephen Totilo on Twitter, Blizzard states it’s “now planning for a later launch for Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV than originally envisaged.” Though the company has reportedly made great strides in wrapping up the games, the extra time will allow its teams to “continue growing their creative resources to support the titles after launch.” Blizzard admits this will impact the financial boost it expected to see in 2022.
Unfortunately for fans, this isn’t the first time Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV have been delayed. Both games were originally slated to come out sometime this year, though Blizzard shared during its Q4 2020 earnings call that this would no longer be the case. Neither title was given a new release date at that point, meaning those waiting to play Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV have been floating in video game purgatory for a while.
Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 delayed pic.twitter.com/4pr9c0OEdz
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) November 2, 2021
Though Blizzard claims its delay is for the betterment of the games themselves, it’s likely that an internal shuffle could be forcing the company to slow down operations. Blizzard was the focus of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the State of California in July, in which it was revealed that female employees have faced discrimination, verbal abuse, and physical assault from colleagues and managers for a few years. Since the company’s toxic inner workings were made public, several members of leadership have stepped down—including president J. Allen Brack in August, and his replacement, co-head Jen Oneal, who announced this week that she’s leaving after only three months on the job. Two creative leads assigned to Diablo IV were also removed from Blizzard shortly after the lawsuit made headlines. One can only imagine that with such high-level churn (and, hopefully, various efforts to make Blizzard a healthier and safer place to work), it’s difficult for the teams in the trenches to get a whole lot done.
This isn’t the end of Blizzard’s negative PR, though. The earnings call in which the company first announced its recent delays also mentioned its cross-functional user base has plummeted by 13 percent (something a lack of major releases won’t exactly help). While the harassment suit and the original Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV delays have certainly contributed to this decline, some suspect that Amazon’s release of New World, a World of Warcraft competitor, may also be partly to blame.
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