Jay Wilson wrote a very touching letter to the Diablo III community. After seven years of work on Diablo III, he decided the best for the Diablo III team and for Blizzard Entertainment was to step down as director. Blizzard, however, wants to keep Jay Wilson around in other upcoming projects acknowledging his talent and design ideas.
The Diablo III community has been very harsh for months in the official forums after a comment Jay tweeted in reaction to a David Brevik interview, followed by the scrapping of Diablo III PvP Deathmatch.
Personally, I am a Blizzard Entertainment fan. I love their video games. I love their stories. I love the music, the funny easter eggs, the gameplay and so much more. As a member of a Blizzard fansite now 10-years online, I usually post fan-centered info or comments. This isn’t a general gaming website where I voice whatever I want to say and rant and rise fiery-forks at game developers left and right. This is a [fan]-[site].
That said, to coin a phrase from a friend the whole Jay vs David comment was a public relations nightmare. It was lamentable, and it shouldn’t have happened.
Jay Wilson acknowledged this and regrets his comment. Every human being makes mistakes. Sometimes we act in reaction and impulses. It’s regrettable. What matters is to acknowledge we have done wrong, and to apologize. Otherwise, people who don’t might be seen as arrogant.
Jay Wilson made the decision to apologize shortly after the twitter incident, and that’s admirable of any human being. What is not admirable is when people dwell on Jay Wilson’s mistakes or anybody else’s regardless of the person acknowledging the mistake and apologizing for it. That makes us worser to be unforgiving and fueling a never-ending witch-hunt and fire riot.
Blizzard Entertainment also acknowledged Diablo III didn’t turn out to be what they had expected or what fans had expected. Yet they continue to work on Diablo III content and tweaks to make it much better. Not many companies out there have that resolve and commitment. Let’s forgive and forget. Focus on providing your best ideas to further enhance your Diablo III gameplay experience in a moderate and constructive fashion.
I wanted all of you to be some of the first to know that I’ve made an important decision about my future, and how that decision will affect the future of Diablo.
I recently celebrated my seven-year anniversary working on Diablo III, and while it’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding periods of my life, I’ve reached a point creatively where I’m looking forward to working on something new. The powers that be at Blizzard have been gracious enough to give me that opportunity. Over the course of the next several weeks, I will be moving off of the Diablo III project and transitioning elsewhere within Blizzard. This decision was not an easy one for me, and not one I made quickly, but ultimately it’s what I feel is right.
The first thing I want to assure you all is that this will not negatively impact our ongoing support of Diablo III. The game was not made by one person, far from it, and the team that poured their passion and considerable talent into it isn’t going anywhere. We have lots of things planned for the future, and those plans will carry forward as normal. I also won’t be abandoning the team, and will remain available to them during the transition period while we determine who will take over duties as game director.
To that point, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see a job posting for a game director on Diablo III, as we want to make sure we explore every opportunity to find the best possible leadership for the project. We’re looking forward to finding this person and hearing what kind of fresh ideas they can bring to the table.
I’m proud of Diablo III, and despite our differences at times I will miss the community that has formed around it. I feel I have made many mistakes in managing that relationship, but my intent was always to provide a great gaming experience, and be as open and receptive as possible, while still sticking true to the vision the Diablo team has for the game.
I know some of you feel we fell short of our promise to release the game “when it’s ready.” While we’re not perfect, we try to make the best decisions we can with the information and knowledge we have at the time. That doesn’t mean we always make the right decisions, but if we made a mistake then I feel we’ve made an exceptional effort to correct it.
This is what you can always count on from Blizzard: that we will stand by our games and make every effort to continually improve them over time. We heard the feedback and suggestions from the community. For example, we agreed that Diablo III’s itemization at launch was not good enough, so the team made numerous changes, including changing drop rates, re-tuning legendaries, and adding scores of new items to the game. We also agreed that the end game needed more depth, so the team added new events, and new systems like Monster Power and Paragon levels.
Our commitment to making our games as good as they can be is what has always defined Blizzard as a game studio, and that commitment never ends for us at a ship date. With your help, we’ll continue to play, debate, and improve Diablo III, as we’ve done with every Blizzard game.
To that end, patch 1.0.7 is underway, the PTR is live, and there are many other great things brewing for Diablo in 2013. I’m leaving Diablo III in good hands, and my departure will not jeopardize the progress of the game as we continue to do what we do: listen, play, and improve.
You are the most passionate, dedicated group of gamers a designer could hope to have. I wish you all the best, and want to thank you for making this an amazing experience for me. Keep your axes sharp, your spell books handy, and that crafty devil in check.
–Jay Wilson (Source)
Shortly after Jay Wilson wrote that message, Rob Pardo (Chief Creative Officer / Game Designer) responded the following in support of Jay after he read some sour comments from a few fans.
I am very proud of the Diablo franchise and what the team was able to accomplish with Diablo III. As a gamer I have enjoyed the game and played for many, many nights with friends and family. I’m not, however, going to use that as an excuse. The Diablo community deserves an even better game from Blizzard and we are committed to improving it. We have a talented team in place and have no intention of stopping work on Diablo III until it is the best game in the franchise.
I’m the only person in this thread who has actually worked with Jay. I hired Jay to head up the Diablo project and had the pleasure of getting to work with him, both in building the team and designing the game. He has great design instincts and has added so much to the franchise with his feel for visceral combat, boss battles, and an unparalleled knack for making it fun to smash bad guys. I’ve worked with many, many designers at Blizzard and Jay is one of the best. He has a great career at Blizzard ahead of him and I guarantee that you will enjoy Jay’s game designs in future Blizzard games.
If you love Diablo as much as we do, then please continue to let us know how you feel we can improve the game. If you still feel the need to dish out blame, then I would prefer you direct it at me. I was the executive producer on the project; I hired Jay and I gave him advice and direction throughout the development process. I was ultimately responsible for the game we released and take full responsibility for the quality of the result.
Blizzard Entertainment is currently looking for a new Diablo III Game Director. Check out the job opening page.
He changed his Twitter description to say that he’s become game director on an unannounced Blizzard project, which gives weight to my theory: he must be part of Project Titan now.
I really doubt he’s game director for Titan though. Maybe Warcraft 4?
Why wouldn’t he be game director for Titan? I know they have some amazing people in that team already, but this is a guy who was hired to lead the Diablo 3 team without having worked at Blizzard previously, so the big wigs (funny to imagine Frank Pearce in one of those wigs judges used to wear :P) obviously trust him a lot.
From a PR standpoint though, is it worth it to have him lead what is quite possibly your biggest project post WoW?
Interesting point, and with the all-star team they’ve assembled you might be right. Plus, there is always the second unannounced game, whatever that is.
That’s why I’m starting to wonder Warcraft 4. Jay Wilson came from an RTS background after all from Warhammer: Dawn of War.
That and I believe Tigole (Jeff Kaplan) is leading the Titan charge.
I’d love to believe that too, but since the RTS team is working on SC2 and WoW is still going strong, I doubt we’ll see Warcraft 4 anytime soon. I’m hoping for Starcraft: Ghost in some form or another. 😀