Blizzard shutters northern outpost
Diablo studio closed; remaining staff relocated to Southern Calif HQ, put on "unannounced project"--likely Diablo 3.
The team behind the enormously popular Diablo franchise--most recently known as Blizzard North, the Bay Area outpost of Irvine, Calif-based Blizzard Entertainment--has been officially shuttered. Arguably, the office was moribund for months, those with ties to the Diablo franchise having departed months or even years ago to form studios of their own.
In a statement today, Blizzard president and founder Mike Morhaime said the relocation will "improve our efficiency as a company" and "represents an opportunity for all of our teams to have regular, direct input on each other's projects."
Those from Blizzard North who were offered relocation packages "will continue work on an unannounced project," which most believe is the third installment in the hugely popular Diablo series.
The studio that came to be known as Blizzard North was founded in 1993 by David Brevik and brothers Erich and Max Schaefer. The team--known then as Condor--pitched and sold Diablo to Blizzard. In 1996, the studio was fully acquired by Blizzard.
Blizzard North alumni have gone on to form at least three independent game studios of note: ArenaNet, formed in March of 2000 by Mike O'Brien, Patrick Wyatt, and Jeff Strain (and since acquired by NCsoft); Flagship Studios, founded in 2003 by Brevik, the Schaefer brothers, and Bill Roper (among others); and Castaway Entertainment, also founded in 2003 by brothers Stefan and Mike Scandizzo.
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