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Blizzard scales back Heroes of the Storm development, cancels 2019 esports events

Heroes of the Storm will see fewer content releases in the future

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

The future of Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Entertainment’s MOBA that brings together heroes from Diablo, StarCraft, Warcraft and Overwatch, is starting to look bleak. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack and chief development officer Ray Gresko said today that the company is shifting development resources away from Heroes of the Storm and putting those developers on other projects.

In a statement released today, Brack and Gresko called the move to scale back development on Heroes of the Storm a “difficult decision” that will affect the future of the game.

“Over the past several years, the work of evaluating our development processes and making hard decisions has led to new games and other products that we’re proud of,” Blizzard said. “We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history. We’re also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to make tough choices like this. Games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past.”

Blizzard said it plans to continue supporting Heroes of the Storm with new heroes and themed events, “though the cadence will change.”

“Ultimately, we’re setting up the game for long-term sustainability,” Blizzard said.

The company is also canceling its two esports events for Heroes of the Storm, the pro-focused Heroes Global Championship and the collegiate level Heroes of the Dorm series.

“[A]fter looking at all of our priorities and options in light of the change with the game, the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm will not return in 2019,” Blizzard said. “This was another very difficult decision for us to make. The love that the community has for these programs is deeply felt by everyone who works on them, but we ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect.”

On the Heroes of the Storm esports site, the team thanked its fans and players, echoing much of what Brack and Gresko said.

“It has been an incredible journey for the HGC, and we are eternally grateful to everyone who has touched the program,” the Heroes Esports Team said. “This was a tough decision for all of us, but one we agree is the right decision in light of the change with the game and our desire to only deliver the best competitive experiences with all of our esports programs.”

Heroes of the Storm launched in 2015. The game was born out of a custom StarCraft 2 map known as Blizzard DOTA meant to showcase the real-time strategy game’s modding tools. Blizzard later named the MOBA to Blizzard All-Stars before settling on Heroes of the Storm. While the game didn’t find a wide audience on par with many of its other games, Blizzard cultivated a smaller, but passionate player base for Heroes of the Storm, and recently started to get enjoyably weird with its cross-universe MOBA.