After the release of Hearthstone’s latest expansion The Witchwood, game director Ben Brode – who’s been the development team’s face for years – has announced he will be leaving Blizzard. Brode will be leaving the company after 15 years to start his own new venture.
In a message on the official forums, Brode stated that, “After 15 years at Blizzard and almost 10 years working on Hearthstone, I have made the incredibly difficult decision to embark on a new journey. Man, that was a hard sentence to type.”
Having joined the company as a tester at the age of 20, Brode would go on to serve as caster for esports events and announcing at BlizzCon. In 2008, Brode would join Team 5 that would become known as the team behind Hearthstone.
“I am very proud of Hearthstone. I think we made an impact on the industry. People tell me that Hearthstone brought their family closer together, or that they became close friends with people they met at a Fireside Gathering. Others tell me they were inspired by Hearthstone to become game developers themselves. It’s incredible to be a part of something that touches so many people.”
Brode then went on to talk about the “Soul of the Team” and how there was no team quite like it. “There is no team like the Hearthstone team. People have come and gone over the 10 years Hearthstone has been in development, but there’s something special about the Soul of the Team. We knew our most important product wasn’t the game, but the team itself. A great team can do great things, and I think the Hearthstone team is the greatest. It isn’t just a job. It’s a shared passion.”
Though embarking on this new venture is risky, Brode said he’s feeling excited. “I’m looking forward to designing, programming, and actually creating things again,” he wrote. Sadly, he won’t have the on-campus Starbucks to attend, which is indeed a major bummer.
Brode thanked Blizzard for both taking a chance on him and “taking a chance on Hearthstone. I can’t wait to see what you do next. And to the passionate community of players — I will miss you, and the laughs we shared together. Thank you for making being a part of Hearthstone so much fun for me. I’ve loved every minute.”
What are your thoughts on Hearthstone’s game director leaving after being there since the beginning? Let us know in the comments.