XBLA, PopCap vet caught in Blizzard

[UPDATE] Former Xbox Live Arcade boss, casual publisher executive Greg Canessa joins WOW maker as Battle.net project director.

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In early 2007, Xbox Live Arcade veteran Greg Canessa left software giant Microsoft to lead PopCap Games' efforts in bringing its casual games to an expanded breadth of platforms. Two years later, Canessa appears to be returning to big-budget game development with a new gig at the world's largest third-party publisher.

Greg Canessa
Greg Canessa

Joystiq reports today that the longtime game executive has taken a position with World of Warcraft maker Blizzard Entertainment. Canessa will reportedly be working on an "unannounced project in the online space" and will report directly to Blizzard cofounder and vice president of game design Rob Pardo.

Blizzard is currently at work on at least one unannounced project, a top-secret massively multiplayer online role-playing game that CEO Michael Morhaime confirmed was in development in late 2007. In February, Blizzard lead designer Jeffery Kaplan confirmed that he had transitioned off the WOW team to work on this unannounced project, which will reportedly be completely different from the game maker's current money-minting MMOG.

[UPDATE] Responding to GameSpot's request for comment, a Blizzard representative confirmed that Canessa has indeed joined the company. The representative also clarified Canessa's role at the studio, saying he will serve as project director on "the next version of Battle.net," Blizzard's online account management and community service. Canessa will report to vice president of online technologies Robert Bridenbecker.

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