Blizzard COO Steps in to Defend Departing 'Diablo III' Director
It's not easy being Jay Wilson at the moment. Many old Diablo fans are blaming him for the direction the franchise took with its real-money auction house, always-on DRM, and loot system. Looking through the disillusioned fans' eyes, it's somewhat understandable seeing how as under Wilson's direction, Blizzard Entertainment chose the path of financial gain rather than delivering the same polished hack and loot experience Diablo II executed many years ago. It also doesn't help that Jay Wilson once said "F*** that loser,"- the 'loser' being David Brevik, a man behind Diablo I & II when he disagreed with some of the design choice the new team made with the third instalment.
And now, Wilson's stepping down from the Diablo III development team and some fans are celebrating this. Looking at the official Battle.net forum where Wilson posted his announcement of departure, there are many fans wishing him luck but there are also many who are somewhat bitter, bringing up the infamous 'Error 37,' and the even more notorious quote in the paragraph above, except this time the 'loser' being Wilson himself.
Enter Rob Pardo, the chief creative officer of Blizzard. After seeing the vitriol among the posters, he stepped in and expressed his disappointment with many of the reaction to Wilson stepping down and how much of the flack Wilson has been getting should be forwarded to him. Here's what he had to say in full:
This thread saddens me greatly. I know that the Battle.net forums have earned a reputation for rough justice, but I do not believe justice is being served by how people are speaking about Jay's departure from Diablo III.
I am very proud of the Diablo franchise and what the team was able to accomplish with Diablo III. As a gamer I have enjoyed the game and played for many, many nights with friends and family. I'm not, however, going to use that as an excuse. The Diablo community deserves an even better game from Blizzard and we are committed to improving it. We have a talented team in place and have no intention of stopping work on Diablo III until it is the best game in the franchise.
I'm the only person in this thread who has actually worked with Jay. I hired Jay to head up the Diablo project and had the pleasure of getting to work with him, both in building the team and designing the game. He has great design instincts and has added so much to the franchise with his feel for visceral combat, boss battles, and an unparalleled knack for making it fun to smash bad guys. I've worked with many, many designers at Blizzard and Jay is one of the best. He has a great career at Blizzard ahead of him and I guarantee that you will enjoy Jay's game designs in future Blizzard games.
If you love Diablo as much as we do, then please continue to let us know how you feel we can improve the game. If you still feel the need to dish out blame, then I would prefer you direct it at me. I was the executive producer on the project; I hired Jay and I gave him advice and direction throughout the development process. I was ultimately responsible for the game we released and take full responsibility for the quality of the result.
While I was one of those who were infuriated with the lack of polish Diablo III had compared to its predecessors, I can't help but to feel a bit sad about all this. Over the development of Diablo III, Jay Wilson appeared genuinely enthusiastic about working on this game, and who wouldn't? But it's not easy being a scapegoat for the failings of the game, with some venomous fans going far as to saying "Jay Wilson Killed Diablo." The whole fan backlash against the third Diablo game was pretty much the result of a lack of communication between Blizzard and its devoted fan base, and to have the consequences piled upon one person, excuse my French, fucking sucks.
Though, kudos to Pardo for actually entering the lion's den that is the Battle.net forum and showing his willingness to take responsibility and defend his co-worker/friend from the angry fans. However, whether this was coming from the genuineness of his heart or an attempt to save his company's face by promising to improve Diablo III according to fan feedback is yet to be seen.
So what's next for Jay Wilson? According to rumours, Wilson will be involved in the next top-secret Blizzard project codenamed 'Titan'. Hopefully he will have better luck there.