Diablo II Designer to Leave Blizzard

Stieg Hedlund will be leaving Blizzard North once development on Diablo II is complete.

In a surprise announcement this afternoon, Stieg Hedlund, a Blizzard designer who in the past has worked on games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Diablo, and Diablo II, stated that he would be leaving Blizzard North as soon as his responsibilities for Diablo II have been fulfilled. Hedlund will start a new game-development company called Full-On Amusement Company and design games that "push the limits of the medium."

"Although it's been terrific working with strong franchises such as Diablo and Sonic the Hedgehog, I've really enjoyed creating new titles as well, and Full-On is a chance to start with a blank canvas," said Stieg. "I'm going to show people something they've never seen before."

Joining Hedlund is Natalie Fay, a 15-year veteran of the industry, and Bob Steele, a Blizzard North 3D animator and modeler. In addition to Hedlund, Fay, and Steele, Full-On currently consists of six programmers and artists from Virgin Interactive, Sega, Sony Computer Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and Maxis. Although the company hasn't disclosed any other information about it, Full-On's first game is well into its development and will be built using Monolith's LithTech 2.0 engine.

"Our engineers evaluated everything on the market and chose LithTech because it is far and away superior to any engine out there. LithTech is more than our technology supplier; we consider them to be our technology partner," said Hedlund. "We are jazzed about the flexibility and market potential of making a game for multiple platforms nearly simultaneously."

Full-On's first game currently does not have a signed publisher, and the company has stated that it's actively searching for a publishing partner.

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