Blizzard intends to buy Spellbreak studio Proletariat in order to strengthen World of Warcraft

Blizzard intends to buy Spellbreak studio Proletariat in order to strengthen World of Warcraft ...

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that it intends to buy Spellbreak manufacturer Proletariat in order to strengthen the staff in its massive multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft. [Updated: 7:59 a.m. Pacific time on 6/29/22 with intent to acquire].

Proletariat, based in Boston, will become a subsidiary of Blizzard as part of the transaction later this year. Spellbreak, a battle royale game where wizards and witches cast spells on each other, will be sunset. (The company announced this news yesterday.)

Blizzard has made the largest acquisition in the past decade to expand its studios. In this case, the objective is to increase the amount of staffing for World of Warcraft so that it may fulfill its quality and timing expectations for expansions.

Vicarious Visions, a long-time Activision studio, was combined with Blizzard in January 2021 for the Diablo franchise. Rather, Blizzard itself was thrown around quite a bit in its early days before joining Activision Blizzard back in 2008.

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In a (amended) statement, Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Ybarra said the company is committed to putting players at the forefront of everything we do and strives to meet and exceed their expectations. We are making sure that our teams have the tools to deliver exciting experiences that our communities will enjoy while giving our teams the opportunity to explore new possibilities within their projects.

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Resolving previous challenges

John Hight, Blizzard's general manager, said in an interview with GamesBeat that supporting Shadowlands was difficult last year, and he acknowledged that significant gaps existed between WoW content updates. Fans always wanted more, and while the team has continued to grow, it has been difficult to hire. I asked Seth Sivak, CEO of Proletariat, if the company hesitant on the transaction because of Blizzards' reputation, which has suffered in recent years.

Sivak said, we had a very open and transparent discussion about this. I think the Blizzard team recognized some of the difficulties they have faced. In several of the first conversations, we discussed how the organization wanted to continue to enhance the environment and continue to make it a great place for developers to work.

He said, "That's encouraging." Obviously, there is still work to be done to continue to make this a wonderful place for developers to work. However, we were quite happy and satisfied with the direction that teams are going.

Hight said it was heartbreaking for him to go through the turmoil in the past year and to hear the stories that were made. However, he noted that the company is changing its culture, and thats not a one-and-done situation.

You have to alter your culture. You have to ensure that everything is now more inclusive in our workplace. You have to ensure that the people who develop WoW and the players who play WoW are well supported.

Sivak said he didnt know what would happen as a result of the Microsoft agreement, but he is excited about the direction the business is heading. For the time being, the focus for today is helping to develop WoW. Hight said the goal was to get access not only to the talented team but also to a senior leadership team with a lot of experience.

How did the transaction all came together?

Hight noted that players in World of Warcraft have a vexing appetite for content. And what weve seen over the last year is that we need to increase the amount of content that we can create, and the frequency with which we are putting it into the hands of our players.

Proletariat was on the short list as it was a well-known game studio at the end of last year.

Hight said that his first conversation with Seth took place back in December. He was wonderful. And then the team felt that he shared a lot of common interests and knowledge of World of Warcraft. The team had the ability to do stylized art, which we do, and work within medieval fantasy, which we like. So from their discussions came together.

Sivak said the company was also looking for what to do next. He said the group saw the opportunity to grow as a studio and work on World of Warcraft would fulfill its mission of delivering exceptional multiplayer games. They have started talking more serious in the last couple of months.

Sivak said the possibility to enrich the world of Azeroth for the players got us really excited.

Blizzard now has studios working on WoW on both coasts, with the potential to tap new sources of talent, according to Hight. In other areas, the epidemic has made it harder to recruit people in some ways, and Proletariat isnt yet working at the office in Boston.

Hight noted that the company has shipped numerous expansions with a remote workforce, and that it has options for a hybrid environment.

That's one of the things that made it easy for us to join Proletariat, since they have a large remote workforce, according to Hight.

Sivak said, "This opportunity just meant that we could accelerate what we wanted to do." It's amazing to be able to work for the general public of World of Warcraft, and the level of ambition that both teams have for World of Warcraft is incredible.

Proletariat's work will be included in the Dragonflight expansion, according to Hight. The company will expand its operations in Boston.

Proletariat was founded in 2012 by industry veterans from Insomniac, Harmonix, and Turbine. The team has experience developing MMORPGs, including, among others, former lead designers of Asherons Call, Lord of the Rings Online, and Dungeons & Dragons Online. The most recent version of Spellbreak, a cross-platform action-spellcasting battle royale game, has been released by the team since 2015.

Sivak acknowledged that the game, although it received favorable reviews, never reached an all-time high in terms of growth in popularity to justify its existence. The company had recently made relatively few changes for the game.

'We felt like we really delivered something different in the battle royale genre,' said Sivak. In that area, where you are competing with some of the most famous games in the world, there is a lot of competition. We just couldn't get the escape velocity required for us to continue to expand it.

In May, Proletariat began working with the World of Warcraft development team, and will be fully integrated into Blizzard Entertainment in the coming months.

Sivak said the most exciting thing is what we're going to work on in the future. That's what we've made the most of, as well as our level of ambition for what we want to achieve with World of Warcraft.

[Updated: 6/29/22. Blizzard has stated that it intends to buy Proletariat. Blizzard also amended Mike Ybarra's statement, which we have now updated].

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