Diablo 4 director, lead designer, and WoW senior designer exit Blizzard
Latest departures come as company faces sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit
Activision Blizzard has confirmed the departure of three senior Blizzard employees including Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga.
Diablo 4 lead designer Jesse McCree and World of Warcraft senior designer Jonathan LeCraft were also let go on Wednesday.
Kotaku broke the news after it was delivered to Blizzard development teams yesterday.
A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard subsequently confirmed the report in a statement issued to the site.
“We can confirm Luis Barriga, Jesse McCree, and Jonathan LeCraft are no longer with the company,” they said.
“We have a deep, talented roster of developers already in place and new leaders have been assigned where appropriate. We are confident in our ability to continue progress, deliver amazing experiences to our players, and move forward to ensure a safe, productive work environment for all.”
Cory Stockton, currently a lead game designer at Blizzard, was also placed on leave last week but seemingly remains with the company, according to two Kotaku sources.
While Activision Blizzard didn’t provide a reason for the departures, the company is currently facing a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which accuses it of failing to properly address reports of harassment and discrimination.
The World Warcraft, Call of Duty and Candy Crush publisher held its second quarter earnings call last week, in which CEO Bobby Kotick used his opening remarks to address the central issues in the lawsuit.
“I want to start by making it clear to everyone that there is no place at our company where discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment of any kind will be tolerated,” he claimed.
“We appreciate the current and former employees who have come forward in the past and recent days with courage, and I want to reiterate the commitments we have made to you.
“Our work environment – everywhere we operate – will not permit discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment. We will be the company that sets the example for this in our industry. While we’ve taken many steps towards this objective already, today we are taking even more.”
These include the company’s decision to make Jennifer Oneal and Mike Ybarra the new co-leads of Blizzard following the recent departure of president J. Allen Brack.
“In addition, we’ll continue to investigate each and every claim and complaint that we receive,” Kotick continued. “When we learn of shortcomings we will take decisive action, and to strengthen our capabilities in this area we’ll be adding additional staff and resources. People will be held accountable for their actions.
“That commitment means that we will not just terminate employees where appropriate but will also terminate any manager or leader found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences.”
On August 3, a class action lawsuit was filed against Activision Blizzard by Rosen Law Firm on behalf of the company’s investors. It alleges investors suffered damages because Activision Blizzard “made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose” the workplace issues raised in the DFEH lawsuit.
And earlier this week an Activision Blizzard shareholder released a letter criticising the company’s response to the lawsuit, in which they said “the changes Mr Kotick has announced do not go nearly far enough to address the deep and widespread issues with equity, inclusion, and human capital management at the company”.