Blizzard is cancelling next year's Heroes of the Storm esports events and "shifting" some of the team working on the MOBA to other internal projects.
In a joint online statement (thanks, Eurogamer), Blizzard's J. Allen Brack and Ray Gresko said they'd "made the difficult decision" to "shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams", insisting that "games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past". The precise number of staff affected - and the number left to work on the 2015 MOBA - remains unknown.
"We’re constantly changing and evolving not only our games, but how we support and grow them," reads the statement. "This evolution is vital to our ability to continue doing what we love to do—making great games—and it’s what makes Blizzard, Blizzard."
"Over the past several years, the work of evaluating our development processes and making hard decisions has led to new games and other products that we’re proud of. We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history. We’re also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to make tough choices like this."
That said, the developer insists Heroes of the Storm "remains [its] love letter to Blizzard’s worlds and characters" and the studio will "continue actively supporting the game with new heroes, themed events, and other content that [its] community loves", albeit it with the caveat that "the cadence will change".
Consequently, the game's esports plans have now also been revised, and its Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm will not return in 2019. "This was another very difficult decision for us to make," said Gresko and Brack. "The love that the community has for these programs is deeply felt by everyone who works on them, but we ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect."
"Ultimately, we’re setting up the game for long-term sustainability. We’re so grateful for the support the community has shown from the beginning, and the development team will continue to support Heroes with the same passion, dedication, and creativity that has made the game such a unique experience."
"While we don’t make these decisions lightly, we do look to the future excited about what the decisions will mean for our other live games and all the projects we have in the works," the statement concludes. "We appreciate all of our hard-working developers and everyone in the Blizzard community, and look forward to sharing many more epic gaming experiences with you in the future."