Farewell Blizzard’s Mr. Metzen

metzen

It is somewhat common for companies to designate a senior executive as the heart and soul, or “spiritual leader”, of their business. And in many cases, such a designation ends up being an affectation given to a figurehead who has little say in the actual business. And then there is Chris Metzen, the man who is responsible for some of the most impactful and resonant stories of my childhood. Someone whose name is synonymous with the epic storytelling that helped set Blizzard Entertainment apart from so many other game developers. And someone whom, I can personally attest, was the true heart and soul of Blizzard, infusing the company with a personal passion and a boundless creativity that helped make the company what it is today.

After 22 years, Metzen has decided to retire from his position as Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development at Blizzard, leaving behind a legacy of hit titles, jaw dropping story moments, and a deep stable of unforgettable characters.

I was a fan of Blizzard from the first day I cracked open the PC box that held the CDs for the original Warcraft. And many years later, I got to actually live the dream of working at Blizzard. While a part of the Brand Management team, I experienced firsthand the frenetic energy and creativity that Metzen brings to any project. Adding him to a brainstorming discussion only improved the quality of the end product. But to be honest, my favorite Metzen story does not take place behind closed conference room doors in some corporate meeting. My favorite story happened in public, watching him take the stage two years ago at BlizzCon when we were announcing Overwatch to the world. His command of the room as he slowly unveiled Blizzard’s latest and greatest hit was an absolute delight. He held the audience in rapt attention as he began to talk about Blizzard’s next big hit. The buzz in the room continued to build, feeding off the energy that even Metzen could barely contain. And when the Overwatch launch trailer finally plays, it’s clear that Metzen is just as excited and overwhelmed as the rest of the fans in attendance.

Metzen has been with Blizzard for over two decades (a lifetime in video game years) and has overseen the creation of so many worlds and so many indelible characters. He brought his flair for epic storytelling into the Blizzard universe and forever put his stamp on some of the greatest video games of all time. I have no doubt Blizzard will continue to create amazing games well into the future. But I also have no doubt that Metzen’s creativity will be missed.

As a former employee of Blizzard, I would like to say that it was great working with you, Chris. But as a fan of video games for over three decades, I want to add that you will be truly missed and your contributions to the world of gaming will never be forgotten.

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Brian Chu
Brian Chu 221 posts

Brian Chu is a Staff Writer for Nerd Reactor and aspiring Jeopardy contestant. He thinks Picard is the best captain, Cumberbatch is the best Holmes, Bale is the best Batman, and Tennant is the best Doctor. Follow him @chumeister