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“2021 was challenging for all of us. As individuals, we care about treating everyone around us with respect and dignity,” Ybarra stated as the head of a company whose history shows anything but that. “As professionals, we care deeply about our crafts, and we want to work in the most supportive and safe environment possible,” he continued.
After damning lawsuits, reports, accusations, and criticism from across the industry, Blizzard probably isn’t anyone’s favourite developer at the moment, but Ybarra is hoping that can change. “Our top priority—now and into the future—is the work we are doing to rebuild your trust in Blizzard,” he stated, giving us some hope that things might get better.
To show us he’s serious, Ybarra and Blizzard’s management are quite literally putting their money where their mouth is, revealing in the statement that “we’re measuring our executive and management teams directly against culture improvement. This means their (and my own) success and compensation will directly depend on our overall success in creating a safe, inclusive, and creative work environment at Blizzard.”
Blizzard will also be appointing a new team of full-time staff to hopefully help improve the culture at the company and eradicate some of the “pervasive ‘frat boy’ workplace culture.” This new team will include a culture leader, a new organizational leader for human resources, as well as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader.
In his statement, Ybarra also revealed that Blizzard has tripled the size of its compliance and investigation teams, shared representation data internally and set new goals to improve those metrics, and put in place an upward feedback program so employees can better evaluate management.
After having its controversial workplace practices brought to light through lawsuits and reports last year, development at the company appears to have slowed, as the company’s next big releases of Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 have both been delayed indefinitely, with releases not likely until 2023.
Thankfully for those who’re still fans of Blizzard and their games, Ybarra went on to say that “we have some exciting things to announce,” about their upcoming projects and existing games, and that he’ll be “sharing more next week.”