Layoffs Hit Hearthstone Team Without Warning, As Blizzard Cites “Organizational Changes”

Layoffs have come to the Hearthstone team at Blizzard, with Activision Blizzard in a statement citing “organizational changes” as the reason.

According to Kotaku reporter Ethan Gach, 10 people were laid off, all within the Hearthstone team. One developer affected had been with Blizzard for 18 years, first as a Game Master for Blizzard’s MMORPG World of Warcraft and then as a QA analyst and later a software engineer for Hearthstone, according to their LinkedIn profile. They say their role as a tools engineer was “no longer needed” after the restructuring of the Hearthstone team and, in a LinkedIn post, say they were laid off without notice.

In a statement provided to Kotaku, Activision Blizzard said, “Organizational changes were made to the Hearthstone team; as a result a small number of roles have become redundant. We want to thank these employees for their many contributions.”

The layoffs came on the same day the company announced Blizzard veteran Chris Metzen would be returning to the studio in a new full-time role as executive creative director for the Warcraft franchise. Metzen returned to Blizzard last year in a part-time creative advisor role after having originally left Blizzard in 2016 and has since been focused on helping create the future of WoW.

Activision Blizzard’s latest quarterly earnings report stated that Blizzard revenue grew over 160% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2023, setting new quarterly records thanks to the record-breaking launch of Diablo IV. Hearthstone was not mentioned in the earnings report.

Blizzard is currently hiring for more than 150 roles, according to its career site. Many of those jobs are on the WoW or Diablo IV development teams, as well as for the team crafting Blizzard’s untitled survival game, which was announced early last year but has not been discussed by Blizzard since.

Hearthstone still regularly receives new expansions and updates. Its latest expansion, Titans, released in August. A new game mode, Twist, arrived a few weeks later, and is one that Blizzard is hoping will stay fresh thanks to constant change. More on what’s next for Hearthstone and other Blizzard games, will likely be revealed at BlizzCon 2023 November 3-4, the first in-person Blizzard fan convention since 2019.

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