The exodus of executives at Activision Blizzard continues, with co-lead at the game studio Jen Oneal being the latest to announce that she will be leaving the company.
Oneal confirmed that she would be transitioning to a new role within the company, before leaving altogether at the end of the year. Mike Ybarra will be the role of lead of the studio for now.
It is unclear precisely why Oneal has chosen to step down from her role now, given that Activision Blizzard has been mired in sexual harassment lawsuits for a number of months now.
We can only posit that the environment at the company at the moment has made game development untenable, which is likely why two highly anticipated projects in Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV have been delayed indefinitely.
Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 delayed pic.twitter.com/4pr9c0OEdz
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) November 2, 2021
Oneal did, however, share her thoughts in an open letter published on the Blizzard community site.
“I am doing this not because I am without hope for Blizzard, quite the opposite–I’m inspired by the passion of everyone here, working towards meaningful, lasting change with their whole hearts. This energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect, and hopefully make a broader industry impact that will benefit Blizzard (and other studios) as well. While I am not totally sure what form that will take, I am excited to embark on a new journey to find out,” she wrote.
“Blizzard’s best days are ahead. I truly believe that. I also am hoping this letter helps you to think about what you can do to make everyone around you–no matter their gender, race, or identity–feel welcome, comfortable, and free to be themselves,” she added.
Whether that is indeed the case remains to be seen, as the aforementioned game delays and recent cancelling of BlizzConline 2022 point to a company that is in disarray as it struggles to clean house and address a toxic culture.
As such, Oneal likely wants to be last high profile departure from the company.