Some shocking clips have been going around lately that show ex-Blizzard World of Warcraft developer David Fried in 2022 giving his honest opinion about the sorry state of Blizzard during an AMA. As pundits and analysts with no inside information, we always speculated that Bobby Kotick was responsible for the annihilation of Blizzard 1.0. With ex-Blizzard developers finally starting to speak out, this is a smoking gun that finally give us conclusive proof of what be believed all along.
Here’s the video cued up to the question and answer:
Question: What do you think the future holds for Blizzard? Is its ship sinking or has the sun not yet set on the Blizzard Empire?
David Fried: Well, Blizzard is dead. It is a corpse. It is a corpse being puppeteered by Activision and Bobby Kotick. And, it’s going to be used as basically a factory to put the Blizzard stamp on things and stoke nostalgia to get sales and that’s it. That’s it. So, stop holding out hope that Blizzard is going to come back. Everyone who founded Blizzard and all the principles that Blizzard was founded on — they’re gone or they’re dead. No one died sorry. The principles are dead; no one died. The principles that Blizzard was founded upon are dead, they’ve been desecrated and are destroyed. So let Blizzard go, that’s my main message. Let Blizzard go. Appreciate what was created back when it was done, and stop holding out hope that it’s gonna come back because it is not.
Additionally, David graciously replied to some questions on the YouTube comments that shed a bit more light:
YouTube Commenter: Thanks for the transparency and honesty. I guess it was obvious to most players that higher-ups’ greed was plaguing Blizzard games. I’m sure it’s more painful to see a game get destroyed gradually from a designer’s perspective than a player’s.
David Fried: In essence, it felt a bit like they were setting a famous painting I had made on fire…
There you have it folks.
David Fried’s revelation corroborates what most of us already knew in our hearts: Blizzard is dead. There was no way that Activision was not going completely take over Blizzard and not impose its iron will.
Fried is one of the first ex-Blizzard developers to reveal the truth about what is going on. A few years ago John Stats released the WoW Diary which I purchased and reviewed. He didn’t reveal anything about how Activision changed the studio culture, which is a shame. So, I and many others are grateful to David for telling the truth about what happened to this once beloved video game studio.
At the time Blizzard was sold by Vivendi to Activision, Blizzard was at the top of their game and was well-respected and loved by gamers all around the world. Back then, many gamers and pundits were concerned that Activision would eventually change Blizzard from a studio that would only release games when they were ready, to a studio that cared about profits and the bottom line. At the time, everyone involved in the sale assured us that Blizzard would operate at an arm’s length from Activision and the studio culture would not change at all.
Since the purchase, our worst fears were realized as Blizzard released terrible WoW expansion after another, blew $50 million on Project Titan, released Warcraft 3: Reforged and Diablo Immortals, and endured many subsequent scandals.
Blizzard 1.0 is long gone and has been replaced by sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO Blizzard 2.0. Like Disney 2.0 which is a disgraceful brood of vipers, the new Blizzard is a soulless, woke company that cares about shareholders first, their woke staff second, and hapless gamers last. Blizzard is Blizzard in name only.
Could this all have been avoided? We may never really know.
If there was one person that could have stopped or slowed down the transformation it was Mike Morhaime. Maybe he tried in his own way but the writing was on the wall as Activision shareholders wanted to see a return on investment and squeezed Blizzard for more profits.
If anything, Mike hastened the demise of Blizzard by implementing company-wide “garbage in, garbage out” diversity hiring initiatives and pandering to LGBTQ people in 2017. This was long before ESG mandates courtesy of Blackrock’s Larry Fink. It’s possible that this directive came from Activision and Mike was following orders. We may never know the truth.
Blizzard was always a predominantly all-male studio, with a male culture, producing games for males. That was their strength and we loved them for it. But, Morhaime was weak, foolish, and arrogant. Mike who reinvented himself as a male feminist looking to close the gender gap™ figured he could change the demographic of the studio and keep the same level of quality.
Sorry, Mikey, I hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t work that way. If you want the very best video games, you hire the very best people and those people are dudes. The fact that you never understood your own studio culture and appreciated it, is frankly mind-boggling. You fucked up big time.
Since then Morhaime resigned with his millions and started Dreamhaven Studio with his wife Amy and ex-Blizzard Executive Shane Dabiri. Sadly, Mike — eager to atone for the sins of Blizzard — has not yet learned his lesson as Dreamhaven is woker than Blizzard 2.0. with constant pandering to feminists and alphabet people. Dreamhaven is essentially a vanity project for a bunch of bored woke SoCal millionaires.
In the end, Morhaime will go to his grave with the legacy that once legendary Blizzard 1.0, died an ignominious death on his watch.
Throughout all the shenanigans, we players kept faith. We purchased their games and paid their salaries. We spent years in Azeroth and Sanctuary. We grew old with Blizzard. We believed they would respect and reciprocate our passion but we were wrong.
We all thought Blizzard was invincible, but Bobby Kotick and his henchmen had other plans.