Blizzard intends to buy ‘Spellbreak’ studio Proletariat to speed up ‘WoW’ development
It’s a busy spell for Blizzard, with Diablo Immortal, Overwatch 2 and mobile game Warcraft Arclight Rumble all arriving this year. The studio has another major release lined up in the form of World of Warcraft expansion Dragonflight, which is expected to arrive by the end of 2022. To help get WoW expansions out on time and ensure they meet the bar in terms of quality, Blizzard intends to buy Spellbreak studio Proletariat to bolster its ranks of developers, as GamesBeat reports.
The news comes one day after Proletariat announced it will shut down Spellbreak early next year. The free-to-play game is an intriguing take on the battle royale genre, with players using magical powers instead of guns. The game never took off, though. It had an average player count of 166 on Steam over the last month. Apex Legends, on the other hand, has more than a thousand times as many players at any given time on Steam alone.
More than 100 developers from Proletariat may soon be focused on World of Warcraft, though the studio has been working with Blizzard since last month. The Boston-based studio also plans to expand its team.
WoW general manager John Hight has spoken of the difficulties his team has had in hiring to deliver content updates to players more quickly (the public turmoil at the studio over the last year might have played a role in that). Bringing Proletariat on board should help.
“A big part of caring for our teams is making sure we have the resources to produce experiences our communities will love while giving our teams space to explore even more creative opportunities within their projects,’ Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Ybarra said. “Proletariat is a perfect fit for supporting Blizzard’s mission in bringing high-quality content to our players more often.”
Activision Blizzard is itself in the process of being bought by Microsoft for $68.7 billion. Given the ongoing labor and workplace culture issues at the company, there’s a bit of irony in Blizzard snapping up a studio called Proletariat.
Correction 6/29/22 5:40pm ET: A previous version of this story stated that Blizzard had acquired Proletariat studios. The sale has not been completed and the copy above has been changed to reflect that.
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