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Ex-Blizzard Veterans Forms Bonfire Studios

Ex-Blizzard Veterans Forms Bonfire Studios
After 17 years of service, ex-World of Warcraft lead designer Rob Pardo parted ways with Blizzard in 2014. He’s been relatively quiet since, however has now unveiled Bonfire Studios—a new indie outfit comprised of ex-Blizzard colleagues and ex-Nexon CEO Min Kim. According the New York Times, the startup has received a $25 million joint investment from venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz and Riot Games.

Pardo’s ex-Blizzard colleagues include Matthew Versluys, Nick Carpenter and Josh Mosqueira—the latter of which was once creative director of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. Versluys is also the ex-director of Battle.net, thus it seems Pardo has formed quite the all-star team. “To ensure our developers have a big impact we are organizing them into small but powerful and diverse superhero teams, like the Avengers,” says Pardo in a Medium blog post.   

As yet, Bonfire Studios hasn’t revealed its debut project, however has made clear its mission statement. "Game developers live the dream scenario where passion meets work," the Medium post adds. "We don't view our week as something to get through so we can really live on the weekend. But often, developers must compromise and decide - do I work on a blockbuster game where I have less personal impact or the gutsy indie studio that struggles to get noticed? Our vision is to create a studio that doesn't require them to choose.

"To give us the ability to operate with independence and create the games we want, we had to find amazing investors. If we are going to create a superhero team, we needed our version of Shield. After all, superhero bases are not free. But we needed more than financial backing, we wanted true partners that could give us sage advice about the road ahead, connect us to future partners and most importantly who share our vision for Bonfire Studios.”

On other related news, Chris Metzen announced this evening that he is leaving Blizzard and “retiring” — and he says he means it.

Formally Blizzard’s Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development, Metzen has been one of core creative minds behind both the Warcraft and Diablo universes, known best to MMORPG players for his role in steering World of Warcraft’s plotlines, not to mention his voicing of several key characters.

“The reason I use the word ‘retire’ is because I’m not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that. It’s been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it’s time to slow it down. Rest,” he told players tonight. “I’ll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They’re the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really live… to love my wife with all my strength… that’s my career now.”

Blizz has not yet issued a statement. Given Legion’s strong launch performance, we reckon Metzen fancied going out on top.

Credits: Video by Qelric