Blizzard’s “empire is different” now
Founding members of Blizzard North who helped create Diablo were present at this week’s ExileCon, a fan convention in New Zealand dedicated to the Diablo-inspired free-to-play hack’n’slasher Path of Exile, and they gave a candid interview to PC Gamer.
According to Max Schaefer, there were about 180 employees at the plucky studio when they left for greener pastures, but things have changed dramatically: “There’s thousands now. The whole empire is different,” he said.
David Brevik added: “It’s not ‘sort of’ changed, it has completely changed.” The only founders left at Blizzard are Samwise Didier and Allan Adham, who Brevik still keeps in touch with.
“The old Blizzard is gone,” said Schaefer, noting that in the good old days “… Activision didn’t have any influence. At that point it was just Blizzard and then some anonymous corporate owner, Vivendi or whoever. That was it.” Now it’s a lumbering empire “that has to appease shareholders and all that sort of stuff.”
No easy way out of the Blitzchung controversy
Blizzard would eventually become a victim of its own success – not exactly an uncommon fate for entertainment companies who stumble across a way to print money. After WarCraft, Diablo and StarCraft all became huge successes, the once-innovative studio became a corporation bogged down in red tape: “Because of the structure of Blizzard now they think with their wallets first,” added Schaefer.
Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?
Which of these is NOT a real ending to horror game Layers of Fear?
- Painting endless flawed portraits of your dead wife
- Painting pictures of your whole family then dying in a fire
- Painting a picture of yourself so wonderful it gets hung in a museum
- Painting a picture of the family dog, then getting killed by your dead wife
The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!
Pokémon Sword & Shield sells over a million copies in Japan within 3 days
Japan is the ancestral homeland of the Pokémon, so it’s hardly a surprise that Pokémon Sword & Shield has sold like hot taiyaki. Combined retail and digital distribution sales totalled 1,364,544 copies in the first three days, beating Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which sold 1.23 million copies in its first week.
Rainbow Six Siege x Casa de Papel
Another week, another eyebrow-raising cross-promotion. Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege will have another free weekend, and feature a slight tweak to Hostage mode matches on the Bank map: The hostage will be wearing the red suit and Dalí mask made famous by La Casa de Papel (known by the achingly poor translation Money Heist in English). The iconic outfit will also be available for Vigil and Hibana alongside other vanity gear. The free weekend lasts from November 21st to 25th.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl shares its dystopia with Half-Life
There’s a Half-Life 2 Easter egg hidden in the Wild Territory area in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. If you know where to look, you’ll discover the body of a man named Gordon Freeman. Judging by his PDA, the Half-Life hero had to trade his trusty crowbar for a can of meat while on his way to “some strange town in Russia” – presumably City 17 from Half-Life 2.
That’s not the only Valve-related Easter egg either: You’ll find a Desert Eagle named Big Ben near Freeman’s corpse, and unless that’s an inexplicable reference to the trusty London clock tower, it could be a cheeky nod to plus-sized Valve big cheese Gabe “Gaben” Newell. It could also be a nod to the way early S.T.A.L.K.E.R. prototypes used assets from Counter-Strike for placeholders!