During a recent investor call, Activision Blizzard announced that both Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 have been delayed from their original release dates. The company did not provide new release dates for the two big sequels during an investor call today.
“While we still intend to deliver a significant amount of content from Blizzard next year,” the company said, “we are now planning for a later launch for Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV than previously anticipated.” Changes in leadership at Blizzard and in the game development teams were blamed for the delays. Overwatch 2 lost its executive producer in September, while Diablo 4 lost its director and lead designer over the summer.
“It has become apparent that some of the Blizzard content planned for next year will benefit from more development time to reach its full potential,” the company added.
Despite the lack of a firm release date, both Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 were announced in 2019 and are expected to be released soon. The delays come after the COVID-19 pandemic caused production issues across the video game industry as teams shifted to working from home, in addition to the management shakeups at Blizzard following a California lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination. (Read: UK is the latest country to call loot boxes gambling)
Even before the scandal surrounding workplace misconduct, Blizzard experienced a massive exodus of senior talent, including Jeff Kaplan, the first Overwatch director. Those departures, however, do not appear to be over. Jen Oneal, who was previously at Vicarious Visions and was recently promoted to co-director of the studio after previous president J. Allen Brack resigned in August, announced today that she would be leaving at the end of the year, less than six months into her new position. Amy Dunham, Blizzard’s technical director, also announced her departure this week.
The delays, however, will not affect the Overwatch League. Activision Blizzard confirmed that an “early build” of Overwatch 2 will still be used when the league’s fifth competitive season begins next spring.
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