After almost 30 years on the job, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime has decided to step down and take a new position as the studio’s strategic adviser, with World of Warcraft executive producer J. Allen Brack taking his place at the top.
Morhaime co-founded Blizzard – then Silicon & Synapse, Inc. – in Irvine, California in February 1991 with two of his university friends Allen Adham and Frank Pearce, starting out as a for-hire team for PC ports of other publisher’s games before moving onto its own projects with cult-classic games like The Lost Vikings and Blackthorne preceding the launch of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans in 1994. You probably know the rest.
“Our original mission and values consisted of four simple words that formed our foundation: ‘We make great games.’ We crafted that statement before we had even released our first game, but we were committed to living up to it,” he reminisces in the press stuff.
“After many years of working with some of the industry’s most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I’ve decided it’s time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment.”
Besides serving as the company’s president since 1998 and CEO since 2007, Morhaime has also worked as a programmer, producer, or executive producer on games including Diablo, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft.
Intriguingly, an additional statement from new CEO Brack confirms that other co-founder and World of Warcraft lead designer Adham has now also joined Blizzard’s executive team “to oversee development of several new games” – and one of those, according to the incontrovertible authority of the internet rumour and speculation machine is almost definitely a new Diablo.
Expect more at BlizzCon next month, 2-3 November.