In an interesting bit of Blizzard news, Rod Fergusson, the studio head of The Coalition, the team behind Gears of War, announced via Twitter that he is going to Blizzard Entertainment starting in March. There he will head the Diablo franchise.

Fergusson started his announcement with a look back at his 15 years of working on Gears of War. The first Gears of War was released in 2007 for the Xbox 360. Gears of War 2 was released in 2008 and Gears of War 3 was released in 2011. Gears of War 4, developed by The Coalition, was released in 2016 and Gears 5 in 2019.

“I began working on Gears of War over 15 years ago and since then, it has been the joy of my life. But now it’s time for a new adventure. I leave Gears in the great hands of The Coalition and can’t wait for everyone to play Gears Tactics on April 28.”

Long-Spanning Career

Fergusson is a well-respected veteran in the industry. Starting his career as technical support at Microsoft in 1996, he moved over to Epic Games in 2005. At Epic Games he was an Executive Producer and Director of Production. It was there that he became involved in the Gears of War franchise. He was at Epic Games for 7 years before he joined Irrational Games and as Executive Vice President of Development, he helped with BioShock Infinite. One year later, Fergusson left Irrational Games to join the newly formed Microsoft studio The Coalition, who were now in charge of the Gears of War franchise. And now, he is off to Blizzard.

“Starting in March, I will join Blizzard to oversee the Diablo franchise. Leaving is bittersweet as I love our Gears family, the fans, and everyone at The Coalition and Xbox. Thank you, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with you all.”

Considering all the ups and downs that Blizzard has been facing with the Diablo series these past few years, from the disastrous announcement of Diablo Immortal to the huge announcement of Diablo 4 at last year’s BlizzCon, this seems to be a good pick up.

Blizzard’s Future

Overall, it seems that Blizzard has been making some very strategic hires of late. In additional to Fergusson, Blizzard also hired Mike Ybarra, an Xbox veteran, as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Platform and Technology. Ybarra had been with Microsoft since 2000, first as a systems engineer and then rising to the position of Corporate Vice President of Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Live, and Mixer.

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Normally Blizzard prefers more home-grown candidates for these types of positions. If you look at some of the key positions in the company, many of them have been with Blizzard for years. President J. Allen Brack has been with Blizzard for 14 years, co-founders Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce had been with Blizzard for 28 years. Co-founder Allen Adham was there until 2004, but returned in 2016. Vice President Jeff Kaplan has been with Blizzard for 18 years. Then you have former Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo (17 years), former Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode (15 years), former Senior Vice President Chris Metzen (22 years), Hearthstone Art Director Ben Thompson (11 years), former Heroes of the Storm Game Director Alan Dabiri (24 years), former Heroes of the Storm Game Director Dustin Browder (15 years) and the list goes on.

So, Blizzard is seeking some fresh perspectives outside of their campuses. While we won’t see how these new hires will affect the company just yet, I’m cautiously optimistic about future Blizzard games.

 

Renee Lopez
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