A Message from Chris Metzen

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[Posted on behalf of Chris Metzen]

I had just turned twenty years old when I started working at Blizzard. Seems like a lifetime ago. Guess it was. Those first few years were the start of a very grand adventure for me, one that would take me around the world, introduce me to thousands of wonderful geeks just like me—and ultimately shape the course of my adult life.

Of course when I started, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to make games or build entertainment products.…

But I had an insatiable passion for ideas. For stories. For heroes.

My only real training before joining Blizzard was the long-running D&D campaign I had with my closest friends—Sam, Mike P., Daniel, and Mikey C. (you know who you are, boys…HAMRO!). Building ideas—vast worldscapes, characters, and plotlines with my friends was my first great love. I lived for it. It was a safe space amid the tension and change of some rough teenage years. The grand refuge of D&D was a glorious meeting of minds and imaginations where I felt I truly belonged.

It was a space where friendship and imagination were inextricably linked.

The sharing of ideas on the fly, the crazy, unexpected turns other players would take—it stretched our imaginations in ways we’d never have dreamt of on our own. I loved how roleplaying through adventures taught us so much about each other—and, more often than not, ourselves. Imagining together helped us make sense of the crazy world we were growing up in. It made us stronger together.

I wouldn’t really understand the depth of it for many years, but I had learned an important truth from my friends back then:

Creativity is relational.

Looking back at my years at Blizzard, I see now how profoundly this idea has shaped my career. I see how profoundly my friends and coworkers at Blizzard have shaped me as a person.

For nearly twenty-three years I’ve had the very distinct privilege of shaping worlds and building games with the brightest creative minds in entertainment. I’ve walked with giants (and stood on some giants’ shoulders, too).

In short, I’ve had the time of my life.

I pretty much had the coolest job ever—but the truth is, sometimes it was really hard. Building games with dozens of brilliant, passionate alpha-geeks with their own red-hot instincts and perspectives can be pretty tricky. Coming to consensus about certain design decisions, story motifs, or courses of art direction takes a lot of communication, patience, and “give and take.” It stretches you. Sometimes it wasn’t all that pretty. But engaging with your teammates and collaborating through the potential quagmire of all that creative tension is where the real magic happens.

It’s not just the decisions you come to—or even the final shape of the product you craft.… It’s bigger than that—and infinitely more important. True collaboration builds trust—and trust is the basis of all lasting relationships. With trust you build more than just a great product.

You build a TRIBE…that can build anything.

A family of craftsmen.

That’s what Blizzard has been for me. My second family, through all of life’s ups and downs, it’s always been there. The great, geeky backdrop of my life. I don’t just mean “the job” or even the creative mission—but the people. The people who over and over lifted me up, believed in me—and pushed me to find my potential as both an artist and as a leader all these years.

To my Blizzard brothers and sisters…I wish I had the words.

Everything just sounds…trite.

All I can think of is…

You helped me believe in myself and achieve every one of my wildest dreams.
I am forever grateful to you.

I love you all with everything I’ve got.

Thank you.

And to all of you out there in Blizzard’s vast gaming community—those of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and all of you around the world I’ve only heard about—thank you.

Thank you all for letting me be a special part of your community. For letting me belong with you. We’ve shared countless adventures together and I’ve always been overwhelmed and humbled by your passion for our games as well your commitment to each other. Thank you for all the BlizzCon hugs, smiles, handshakes, and stories over the years. You will never know how much you’ve all touched my heart and inspired me to give my all into this craft.

With that said, I’ll try to get down to the point, here. I’ve come to a turn in the road. A new, far quieter chapter in my life looms ahead.

I am retiring.

Yup.

Hangin’ up my guns.
Clockin’ out.
Takin’ the last gryphon out of Stormwind.
You get the picture.

Crazy, I know.

It’s a massive change for me, but it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. It’s ironic given the fact that things have never been better or more energized at Blizzard. Just this year alone has been incredible.

Legion’s arrival.
The launch of Overwatch.
The Warcraft feature film.

I’ve never been more proud of Blizzard and the quality of its products than I am now. It’s remarkable that even after all these years we can still reach new heights and take the world for an amazing ride. I believe Blizzard’s future is brighter than ever.

I won’t lie—it’s going to be really hard stepping away from these worlds that I love. But I’m content that I’m leaving them in the hands of the most passionate, talented, and dedicated craftsmen ever assembled.

I can’t wait to see where Blizzard’s worlds go next—and to experience them first-hand like everyone else does. As a fan. As an adventurer. Right back to the start.

That’s just so cool…

The reason I use the word “retire” is because I’m not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that. It’s been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it’s time to slow it down. Rest. Lay around on the couch and get fat. Well, fatter.…

Seriously though, I’ll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They’re the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really live…to love my wife with all my strength…that’s my career now.

And I’ve never been happier.

Ever. ☺

Peace out, y’all.

I love you all.

I’ll see you online.

Chris
Fair sailing and safe travels.
Before the age of ipads and cell phones on the toilet, I had the Warcraft: Orcs and Humans manual to read over and over again after my nintendo powers had finally disintegrated, and your wonderful art always inspired me.

Peace out!
Enjoy, my friend. You will be missed, but your influences on millions of people will live on for many lifetimes!
Really sad to hear this. :(
so long and thanks for all the fish

;___;

Lok'tar O'gar
Enjoy life Chris! :)
Godspeed, you magnificent bastard.
Thank you for your amazing works Chris, I grow up with Blizzard games starting from 1994 and still playing on 2016 and counting.

Enjoy life!
You will always be the face of Blizzcon, the face of WoW, the face of Blizzard Entertainment to me. I'm so sorry to see you go.

You won't be forgotten. You have touched too many lives for that.
Thank you for the rich game worlds, the characters, the lore, and most importantly, the memories. I am stunned and having a bit of difficulty processing this. Best of wishes to Chris and his family. I hope someday you find another outlet for your brilliant creative energies and look forward to seeing it, at your own pace :)

I was honestly, not prepared.
D3 expansion, the Barbarian dies!
Thanks for everything. Good luck, have fun
Enjoy and thanks
I'll never forget looking through the manual for Warcraft II as a kid and being blown away by your artwork.

You will be missed.

Thank you for everything that you have given us.
From Azeroth to Sanctuary to the Nexus and beyond, I thank you for helping create the rich stories and worlds of some of my favorite games! Almost a decade ago, I started with WOW and I was immersed in its story. I quickly fell in love with Blizzard’s games, and soon enough, I was exploring the realms of Heaven and Hell in Diablo with my Monk and trying to fend off Zerg invasions in StarCraft’s Koprulu Sector. I even went back and bought Warcraft III and downloaded the Lost Vikings! So once again, I thank you for all your work in shaping the games that have become a large part of my life. You are a real cool dude!

Now that you are retired, you can spend time working on the important things in life, like helping me level my Crusader in Diablo III or helping me gear for legion raids!

But in all seriousness, enjoy retirement! I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
-Matt
P.S.
I really have been pushing off leveling my Crusader though
Some wise words all artists should listen to. Thanks for them, Chris!

To think I've spent years over your work - because I'm mostly a lore fan. Have a heck of a time at home, man.
"The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
"
-Bilbo Baggins
(as retold by J.R.R. Tolkien)

I first played DIablo on the original Playstation. D&D got me into it and thanks to my love of both (and rpg's in general) I ended up meeting my partner in 2001. Since then both games have led me down a strange but amazing path to where I am today-the happiest I've ever been in my life. Thanks to your efforts as well as the efforts of all those you've worked with I have more than a few wonderful memories.

Thanks, Chris. For everything.

I wish you & yours all the very best.
-Zid

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