It's safe to say that Blizzard's Chris Metzen is one of the giants of the video gaming world. Serving as Senior VP of Story and Franchise Development at the company, Metzen has supervised some of the most popular franchises in the gaming world today. From his early work on Warcraft to co-writing Diablo's world, from serving as lead designer on StarCraft to his role as Creative Director for Overwatch, gaming wouldn't be the same without Chris Metzen's contributions over the past 20-something years. But today, Metzen has officially announced that he will be retiring from his role at the company.
Posted across Blizzard's forums by the company's community managers last night, the news comes as a major departure for the organization. Metzen, who is 42, originally began working with Blizzard when he had turned 20. He was a major engine behind the company's iconic lore, including the intricacies of 2016's Overwatch. His work came from "an insatiable passion for ideas. For stories. For heroes," he said in his official retirement post.
Originally, Metzen began his storytelling career by running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign among his close friends, creating complex and intricate worlds for his fellow role-players to explore. That grew over time as he worked at Blizzard, allowing him "the very distinct privilege of shaping worlds and building games with the brightest creative minds in entertainment."
Of course, game development isn't the easiest job in the world. There were hardships that Metzen had to endure. "I pretty much had the coolest job ever—but the truth is, sometimes it was really hard," he explained. "Building games with dozens of brilliant, passionate alpha-geeks with their own red-hot instincts and perspectives can be pretty tricky. Coming to consensus about certain design decisions, story motifs, or courses of art direction takes a lot of communication, patience, and 'give and take.' It stretches you."
"But engaging with your teammates and collaborating through the potential quagmire of all that creative tension is where the real magic happens," Metzen said.
Don't expect any new projects from Metzen after leaving Blizzard. As he outlined, there's a reason why he chose the word "retire" in his announcement post. Instead of working on new games, he wants to spend time with his family at home. And with a new baby in the family, there's plenty to do as he begins retirement.