World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft all owe their existence to the longtime PC juggernaut Blizzard Entertainment; a company that has put an emphasis on team development (rather than on high profile talent), but has nevertheless created a few superstar developers along the way. One of the most recognizable names on the Blizzard roster for the last 17 years has been Rob Pardo, but after nearly two decades of service at Blizzard, player may have seen his name in the credits for the last time.
At the age of 44, Pardo has spent the bulk of his creative career working on Blizzard titles, with the chief creative officer now boasting a resume that would make many PC gamer drool (including work on the original StarCraft, StarCraft: Brood War, Warcraft 3, Diablo 3, and of course, World of Warcraft). Although his fans were probably looking forward to seeing his touch on both Warlords of Draneor and the long-rumored next MMO to come out of Blizzard, Pardo took to the WoW forums this week to deliver a farewell message to the Battle.net community.
“After 17 years at Blizzard, with long and careful contemplation, I have made a difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting decision to pursue the next chapter in my life and career.”
If the rumors are true and Blizzard plans to pull the curtain back on a new IP at BlizzCon this year, it is definitely sad to see Pardo step away so soon before that announcement. It seems likely that he has been involved in any planning that has already taken place, so it’s a bit of a shock to see him depart prior to its unveiling. That said, we’re sure a creator with his kind of resume won’t have any trouble settling into a new position.
Pardo briefly touches on the future in his farewell message, but isn’t quite ready to reveal what’s next:
“I’m looking forward to new challenges in my career, but I will always cherish the time I spent with you all and the amazing and collaborative teams at Blizzard… It was both satisfying and humbling, and it made me a better developer and a better person. I look forward to playing Blizzard games as a player for many years to come. Most important, now I have plenty of time to learn how to build a competitive Hearthstone deck.
“As to what I will be doing next, I don’t have an answer for you yet… but I will ‘when it’s ready.’ My priorities are to enjoy the summer with my family, play plenty of games, and think about what’s next. The game industry is such an exciting place right now with PC gaming thriving, the new consoles, mobile games, and virtual reality becoming an actual reality. It’s like having an empty quest log and going into a new zone for the first time.”
Although he doesn’t reveal any specifics, we certainly know what types of games he has the most experience with. His strengths and interests were initally focused on real-time strategy games, but over the last two decades that skillset has sprawled to include work on MMOs, MOBAs, and even digital card games. Pardo has always been passionate about PC gaming (and mobile more recently), so a position in the same space seems most likely.
Does Pardo’s departure make you worry about Blizzard’s future, or do you think the company will carry on as usual without him? What kind of game would you like to see him work on next? Let us know in the comments.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.