Diablo III game director steps down

Longtime developer Jay Wilson leaving game after seven years; will transition into new role at Blizzard in the next few weeks.

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After seven years working on Diablo III, Jay Wilson is leaving his post as game director for the dungeon-crawler. Wilson announced the news today in a blog post, noting the time is right to move on to a new project within Blizzard Entertainment.

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"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," Wilson said. "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."

Wilson made clear that his departure from the Diablo III development team "will not negatively impact our ongoing support of Diablo III." He said there is "lots" planned for the future of the game and that he will make himself available to the development team during the transition period. A new game director for Diablo III has not been announced, though Wilson said Blizzard is eager to find a replacement and learn what "fresh ideas they can bring to the table."

Wilson said he is proud of Diablo III and will miss the community that has formed around it, though he did admit his relationship with fans was not without its faults.

"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," he said.

Wilson also acknowledged that many may believe Blizzard fell short of its promise to release Diablo III "when it's ready." He said Blizzard always tries to make decisions based on information and knowledge present at the given time, though this is not an ideal situation.

"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," he said.

Wilson ended his farewell note saying there are "great things" in the pipeline for Diablo III in 2013, though he did not specify what these might be.

"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," he said.

Diablo III launched in May 2012, was a top Google search for the year, and has sold over 10 million copies to date. The game shipped without its player-versus-player mode, and it does not appear this feature will be added anytime soon. Wilson said in late December that Diablo III PVP is stalled, noting Blizzard is going back to the drawing board to conceive something better.

For more on Diablo III, check out GameSpot's review.

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