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Blizzard veteran Chris Metzen retires

World-builder and voice actor says goodbye

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Longtime Blizzard Entertainment employee Chris Metzen has retired from the company he joined more than 20 years ago, according to an announcement posted to Blizzard’s forums.

Metzen, who was serving as senior vice president of story and franchise development at Blizzard, says he's retiring from the game studio to focus on his family. Metzen said he's not leaving the home of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo to join a new studio – like some of his former Blizzard colleagues – but to ‘slow down’ and rest.

In Metzen’s farewell letter, he talked about his earliest days at Blizzard, getting to create the company's fictional worlds and the future of the game developer.

It’s a massive change for me, but it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. It’s ironic given the fact that things have never been better or more energized at Blizzard. Just this year alone has been incredible.

Legion’s arrival. The launch of Overwatch. The Warcraft feature film.

I’ve never been more proud of Blizzard and the quality of its products than I am now. It’s remarkable that even after all these years we can still reach new heights and take the world for an amazing ride. I believe Blizzard’s future is brighter than ever.

I won’t lie—it’s going to be really hard stepping away from these worlds that I love. But I’m content that I’m leaving them in the hands of the most passionate, talented, and dedicated craftsmen ever assembled.

Metzen, 42, joined Blizzard as an illustrator and animator in the early ‘90s and worked on some of its earliest titles, including Justice League Task Force and Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. He later helped create the lore behind Blizzard’s Diablo and StarCraft games, penning stories and scripts for their fictional universes, and voiced some of the company's best-known characters.

Metzen’s retirement from Blizzard comes shortly after a handful of other former employees, including ex-Blizzard chief creative officer Rob Pardo and former Diablo 3 director Josh Mosquiera, announced a new game company, Bonfire Studios.

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