Diablo IV was given a June release date during The Game Awards. However, a recent report that saw former and current Blizzard employees speak about the game’s development says that it’s not achievable without crunching.
Blizzard’s plans to release Diablo IV on June 6th sound like it could be at the expense of its developers’ health and wellbeing. According to a report from The Washington Post, a number of anonymous, current and former, Diablo IV developers have said that without crunching or cutting features the launch date doesn’t seem likely.
Blizzard developers talk about Diablo IV crunch
Diablo IV is set to launch on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One in June, right around the time that Microsoft hopes to close out its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, making it a perfect time to join the list of games coming to Game Pass. What state the game will be in, or the teams working on it, isn’t sounding too positive in the latest report from The Washington Post. The “Diablo IV” team has reportedly been losing vast amounts of talent for more than a year now, with many developers becoming tired of leadership changes and “mismanagement,” opting instead to seek out other employment with more competitive salaries and work conditions.
While the developers working on Diablo IV would rather avoid any form of ‘crunch’ time, it sounds like they feel like they’ll have to, not wanting to release an unfinished game. The game was delayed into 2023 last year, which Activision Blizzard’s CEO said was part of the reason the company’s stocks dropped — this “felt very much like he just drove the bus over the top of us,” a former Blizzard team leader said. Now, one current employee says that they don’t think Blizzard management will grant the team any more delays: “We’re at a point where they’re not willing to delay the game anymore. So, we just have to go along and figure out how much we’re willing to hurt ourselves to make sure the game gets released in a good enough state.”
Despite the company surveying the team “regularly” for their professional wellbeing, which is said to be the “most positive they’ve been in years,” morale seems to be dropping. One current employee spoke to The Washington Post about the effects the 12-hour days have had on their life: “It’s affected my health, it’s affected my relationships, both familiar and romantic… it affects my ability to just enjoy things.” Activision Blizzard has offered Diablo IV developers twice as many company stock shares when the game releases, worth between $5,000 and $50,000 depending on their position within the company, but some have argued that it’s “unnecessary and destructive” and it “incentivises leadership to cut corners.”
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