Former Hearthstone director Ben Brode and a group of his colleagues left Blizzard last year, and although they yet haven’t announced what they’re making next, today they dropped some big news: It’s a Marvel game.
Second Dinner, a new indie studio founded by Brode, former Hearthstone executive producer Hamilton Chu, and several other ex-Blizzard employees, announced today that it’s gotten a $30 million investment from the Chinese company NetEase and that its first game will be set in the Marvel universe. The company is hiring new staff in Irvine, California.
This news comes after a rough 2018 for Blizzard, one that saw the departure not just of Brode and Chu but its CEO, Mike Morhaime, who left the company last October. It was a year full of frugality for the iconic studio, as “cost-cutting” became the watchword. Current and former Blizzard employees continue to express fear about Activision’s growing influence on the company through executives like chief operating officer Armin Zerza. Fans also revolted after a disastrous BlizzCon keynote in November 2018 that closed with the announcement of Diablo Immortal, a game for phones.
Incidentally, NetEase—the company funding Second Dinner—is also a co-developer on Diablo Immortal. It has partnered with Blizzard on the Chinese versions of games like Hearthstone and World of Warcraft and last June, it invested $100 million in Bungie for a new IP.