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‘Overwatch 2’ And ‘Diablo 4’ Have Been Delayed While Another Company Leader Leaves Blizzard

Activision Blizzard is one of the biggest companies in all of gaming with titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch under its belt. Overwatch, a game developed by the Blizzard branch of the company, is particularly popular, and its sequel, Overwatch 2, has a whole lot of anticipation surrounding it. The sequel was first announced back in 2019 at BlizzCon, but the only update we’ve had since then was a presentation earlier in 2021 that showed how the series will change.

While a release date has never been announced, most of us were anticipating Overwatch 2 hitting consoles in 2022 or 2023 at the latest. That was until an earnings call on Tuesday informed us that Overwatch 2, alongside dungeon crawler Diablo 4, had been delayed. They did not go into details on how long the delay was for or when a new release date would be set. Via IGN:

“These are two of the most eagerly anticipated titles in the industry, and our teams have made great strides toward completion in recent quarters,” Activision Blizzard said. “But we believe giving the teams some extra time to complete production and continue growing their creative resources to support the titles after launch will ensure that these releases delight and engage their communities for many years in the future.”

Every game company had to deal with the development difficulties of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Blizzard branch of Activision Blizzard saw multiple big names attached to their projects leave the company over the last two years. Among those was Jeff Kaplan, director of Overwatch and Overwatch 2, and executive producer Chacko Sonny, who left when the game was reportedly entering the “final stages of production.” Blizzard leader Mike Ybarra would go on to say during the same earnings call that leadership leaving across the company played the biggest role in the delays.

All of this took place while Activision Blizzard faced lawsuits from multiple organizations, including the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The allegations in the lawsuits range from ignoring sexual misconduct in the workplace to misleading investors, and the fallout has included people leaving the company and an employee walkout. Among those leaving is Jen Oneal, whose departure was announced shortly around the same time as the delays to Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4. A Blizzard Co-Leader, Oneal was given that role alongside Ybarra when J. Allen Brack stepped down as president in the aftermath of the lawsuits.

All of this is footnoted with the company choosing to postpone BlizzCon, which has traditionally been a celebration of the company and a time to announce major titles. With so much happening right now at Activision Blizzard, both internally and externally, it would make sense that all of this would lead to two major IPs currently in development being delayed.