Veteran Blizzard Dev From WoW, Diablo, And Overwatch Teams Has Left The Studio

Blizzard's Michael Chu is leaving the company after 20 years.

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One of Blizzard's most veteran developers is moving on. Michael Chu, who first joined Blizzard in 2000 and most recently served as the lead writer for the Overwatch series, has announced he's leaving Blizzard to pursue something new.

In a blog post, Chu said he pushed for diversity and inclusivity in games, and he hopes to continue to do this in a post-Blizzard career.

"As an Asian American, I wanted to experience narratives that represented people like me and to see them depicted as heroes. Overwatch offered an opportunity to bring a more inclusive vision of earth to life: a future worth fighting for," Chu said. "Together, we worked, struggled, and shed tears to champion a universe that featured people from across the world, to bring to life the wondrous sights of earth's past, present, and future, and to empower the contributions of creators and voices who would better represent the breadth of human experience. I believed that a game could show the power of diversity and that one kiss could change the world, if only a little."

Chu said Overwatch was a "life-changing" experience for him. "Overwatch and its consistently generous and inspiring community have only reinforced that belief. I've heard stories of people learning a new language after hearing a line of dialogue, people feeling inspired to take a trip to a new place after 'visiting' it in-game, and people meeting teammates across languages and borders to take up the cause of making our world a better place," he said. "But most of all: again and again, of people empathizing with a story about someone who is not the same as them."

Chu went on to say that he plans to continue to tell stories and try to unite people through games in his life after Blizzard. He didn't say where he's headed next, but he stressed that he will not waver in his desire to create diverse and inclusive experiences.

"As I head out through the Blizzard doors for a last time, I have new dreams: to continue to tell these stories and build worlds that unite people through games," he said. "To help create an inclusive world where more people will want to share stories that reflect their own experiences. I hope it’s something we can build together. That's the future that I believe in."

Chu first joined Blizzard in 2000, when he was a quality assurance analyst for Diablo II and Warcraft III. In 2002, he became an associate game designer for World of Warcraft. He left Blizzard for the first time in 2004 to join nearby southern California studio Obsidian, where he worked on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Neverwinter Nights 2 as a designer.

Chu returned to Blizzard in 2005 as a senior game designer for WoW: The Burning Crusade, Diablo III, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, and WoW: Warlords of Draenor. He later become the lead writer for Overwatch and its upcoming sequel, Overwatch 2.

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