Blizzard's upcoming addition to the Diablo franchise, Diablo IV, has been without a game director publicly since the previous director was forced out earlier this past August amid the ongoing lawsuit allegations surrounding the studio. Today, however, the company has announced a new game director taking over the reins in veteran developer Joe Shely.
In a blog post titled Diablo IV Quarterly Update October 2021, Shely introduces himself as the new game director fo the upcoming ARPG. Shely, who has worked as a design lead on Diablo IV and led the team that brought the first playable demo of the ARPG to BlizzCon 2019, takes over for outsted director Luis Barriga, who was one of a myriad of Blizzard developers let go in the wake of the explosive sexual assault allegations levied at the publisher.
Shely briefly touches on this as well in his introductory post, reaffirming the team's commitment to Diablo IV's success.
"Like many of you, our team has been reflecting upon recent events. A lot has happened since our last blog and the hard work of practicing the values we aspire to must continue. In parallel with that important work, development of Diablo IV continues too. Over the past few years, we've assembled a strong team with incredible passion for Diablo IV. You, Diablo’s fans, are a critical part of this team. With the help of your valuable feedback, we've steadily refined and deepened the game experience. We have ways to go, and while much has changed, our commitment to the game is unwavering."
Shely takes over the development of the game admist a leadership shake-up at Blizzard since a California agency filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard in July, alleging the company had fostered an environment that allowed a "frat culture" to flourish. In the wake of the allegations, Blizzard has seen multiple high profile developers let go from the studio, including the resignation of former president J. Allen Brack, Overwatch hero namesake Jesse McCree, as well as the aforementioned Diablo IV game director Luis Barriga. Taking over the company as co-leaders in the aftermath of the Brack resignation are former Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal, as well as former Microsoft executive Mike Ybarra.
The rest of the quarterly update is dominated by the sound design of Diablo IV. Kris Giampa, sound supervisor on the ARPG, breaks down the philosophy the studio is using when approaching how to fill Sanctuary with sound. You can check out the full post, as well as listen in on some ambient sounds whilst you read on the Blizzard website.