A level designer, a World of Warcraft designer, and the director of Diablo IV were all let go.
According to an internal report at Activision Blizzard picked up yesterday by Kotaku, three prominent members of Blizzard’s game development staff have been let go from Activision Blizzard. The three devs in question are Diablo IV game director Luis Barriga, Blizzard lead level designer Jesse McCree, and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft.
“We can confirm Luis Barriga, Jesse McCree, and Jonathan LeCraft are no longer with the company,” a spokesperson confirmed. “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.”
The precise reason for these men’s departure has not been disclosed, but in the case of McCree and LeCraft, there’s a pretty glaring theory: the ongoing sexual harassment allegations. As part of the investigations that led to the lawsuit Activision Blizzard is currently facing, a picture of BlizzCon 2013’s “Cosby Suite,” named after TV actor Bill Cosby, featured both men prominently. This suite was owned by World of Warcraft developer Alex Afrasiabi, who was identified by name as a sexual aggressor in California’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, which is a rather bad look for anyone else who is shown in the picture.
BREAKING: Diablo 4 director Luis Barriga, lead level designer Jesse McCree, and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft have reportedly been let go amid the ongoing allegations of harassment and abusive culture within Blizzard. https://t.co/fyVnYXVPPO pic.twitter.com/XONDNLDWjc
— IGN (@IGN) August 11, 2021
The only outlier in this trio is Barriga, whose reasons for departure remain unknown. Barriga has been a Blizzard employee since 2005, and was working on the long-anticipated Diablo IV as its director. It’s not currently known how or if Barriga’s departure from Activision Blizzard will affect Diablo IV‘s development, though considering the current state of the company and its public reputation (or lack thereof), the loss of a director may be the least of their problems.