Activision Blizzard announced during an investor call today that Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 won’t be arriving as soon as originally planned, but didn’t provide a new timeframe for when the two big sequels will eventually come out.
“While we are still planning to deliver a substantial amount of content from Blizzard next year, we are now planning for a later launch for Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV than originally envisaged,” the company said. The delays were blamed on changes in leadership both at Blizzard and on the game development teams. Diablo 4 lost its director and lead designer over the summer, while Overwatch 2 lost its executive producer in September.
“It has become apparent that some of the the Blizzard content planned for next year will benefit from more development time to reach its full potential,” Activision Blizzard said.
Both Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 were revealed back in 2019 and expected to be coming in the near future, despite neither having firm release dates. In addition to the management shakeups at Blizzard following a California lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination, the delays also come after the covid-19 pandemic caused production issues across the video game industry as teams shifted to working from home.
Even prior to the fallout around workplace misconduct, Blizzard suffered from a massive exodus in senior talent, including people like Jeff Kaplan, the director for the first Overwatch. Those departures apparently aren’t over, however. Today, Blizzard also announced that Jen Oneal, previously at Vicarious Visions and recently promoted to co-director of the studio after previous president J. Allen Brack resigned in August, would be leaving at the end of the year, less than six months into her new tenure. Blizzard technical director Amy Dunham also announced she was leaving the company this week.
Activision Blizzard confirmed that an “early build” of Overwatch 2 will still be used for the start of the Overwatch League’s fifth competitive season when it gets underway next spring.