Diablo IV which is being developed by Blizzard Entertainment, has found a new Game Director in Joe Shely. The company announced this news in a press release on Thursday, touting Joe as having been a design lead on the project, and being intimately familiar with the game. He is replacing previous director Luis Barriga, who departed the company in the wake of toxic workplace allegations against the company.
In a press release from the Diablo IV team, it was stated that:
As the new Game Director for Diablo IV, Joe is proud and humbled to be representing the team pouring their hearts into the creation of the next chapter for this iconic franchise. Joe is a Blizzard veteran who has been with the company since 2005 and worked on the World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo franchises.
In a blog post, Shely himself stated:
I’m honored to continue the vision of Diablo IV as its new Game Director, and I’m humbled to represent the team pouring their hearts into this game. 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, the development of Diablo IV continues too.
Shely has been working on the development of Diablo IV since 2017. His list of responsibilities to now has included “guiding efforts to deliver the deep, compelling systems and visceral combat Diablo is known for, and has been the overall caretaker of the combat experience.”
Over the last few months many employees, especially women, of Blizzard have come forward to describe a hostile work environment. During this period multiple lawsuits have been brought forward against the company, with the biggest being brought by the state of California. On top of that, both male and female employees have held walkouts in protest of the companies perceived lack of action on these issues. It remains to be seen just how much recent events have fully impacted the games in development at the studio.