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Activision-Blizzard To Acquire New Studio, Up WoW Development

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that it is looking to bolster the offering of it’s long running MMORPG World of Warcraft with the acquisition of another game development studio, according to VentureBeat.

Proletariat, the studio behind the 2020 fantasy battle royale Spellbreak, has been in discussion with Blizzard, who plan to incorporate the acquired staff into the development of World of Warcraft, including the upcoming expansion – Dragonflight.

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is the next expansion in the popular MMORPG.

While the acquisition is yet to be finalized, Proletariat announced that support for Spellbreak would be coming to an end, and that servers will be “shut down as of early 2023” due to an inability for the game to reach “escape velocity.”

“After more than four years of elemental magic and spell combinations, we’ve made the decision to end development of Spellbreak. The servers will be shut down as of early 2023. Thank you to the millions of players who have joined us in the Hollow Lands since 2018; it’s been an amazing journey.”

Spellbreak, the magic and spellcasting based battle royale is coming to an end.

Blizzard’s likely acquisition of Proletariat is the biggest the company has made for some time, and at the core of it, is to improve support for both World of Warcraft’s players and dev teams.

“We are putting players at the forefront of everything we do, and we are working hard to both meet and exceed their expectations,” said Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Ybarra.

“A critical part of taking care of players is taking care of our teams—making sure we have the resources to produce experiences our communities will love while giving our teams space to explore even more creative opportunities within their projects. Proletariat is a perfect fit for supporting Blizzard’s mission in bringing high-quality content to our players more often.”

Previous World of Warcraft expansions were received rather poorly, making the timing of a new studio acquisition simultaneously fitting and unusual.

Blizzard’s workplace culture has been under fire for some time now, with the company now under investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in a major sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit.

Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat asked Proletariat CEO Seth Sivak if the company was hesitant to join Blizzard based on it’s current reputation, to which he seemed positive with the changes that were being made.

“Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done to continue to make an awesome place for developers to work. But we were pretty happy and satisfied with the direction that teams are going.”

“You have to change your culture. You have to make sure that it’s now more inclusive in our workplace. You have to make sure that the people who make WoW and the people who play WoW are well supported.”

Proletariat staff are well versed in World of Warcraft and have the experience and passion to help it grow, according to Sivak. The company has been working with Blizzard since May, whilst the acquisition and full integration is expected to take place in the coming months.


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