CD Projekt Red, the studio behind the universally acclaimed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, has lost Creative Director and Head Writer Sebastian Stepien to Blizzard Entertainment, according to a Blizzard representative and Stepien’s LinkedIn profile.
As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Stepien will join Blizzard Entertainment in a development capacity, though his official role remains unclear. His LinkedIn says “Creative Director” with Blizzard Entertainment, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Blizzard Entertainment, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. famous for classic titles like StarCraft and Diablo, faced immense backlash following the announcement of the mobile-only Diablo: Immortal at Blizzcon 2018. However, the company attempted to assuage fans frustrations by hinting at additional Diablo titles in development, titles that Stepien may or may not be involved in.
While losing a creative director in the midst of a game’s development is certainly a blow for Polish developer CD Projekt Red, what’s been seen thus far of Cyberpunk 2077 looks impressive and remains one of 2019’s most anticipated releases. On the other hand, this is a huge win for Blizzard, who gets a seasoned industry veteran partly responsible for ushering The Witcher franchise into its burgeoning popularity.
It will be interesting to see what role Stepien undertakes with Blizzard- will join the development team for one of the in-progress Diablo titles? Will he develop a new IP? Will he revive the long-lost StarCraft: Ghost game (we can all dream, right?)? Perhaps we will find out at E3.