The 42-year-old Metzen has certainly earned some rest after working for such a long time on the company’s core franchises such as StarCraft and Warcraft. He was a senior vice president of story and franchise development, and he wrote many of the stories and lore behind the company’s biggest games. He also did voice acting and character art.
“I had just turned 20 years old when I started working at Blizzard. Seems like a lifetime ago. Guess it was,” Metzen wrote. “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.”
The retirement happened to be on the same day that Rob Pardo, a former 17-year Blizzard veteran, announced that he had formed Bonfire Studios, a new game studio.
Metzen said he had an “insatiable passion for ideas. For stories. For heroes.” And that made Blizzard the right place for him. It reminded him of his days playing Dungeons & Dragons with his childhood friends.
“It was a space where friendship and imagination were inextricably linked,” he wrote. “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.”
He added, “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 23 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.”
He compared working at Blizzard to building a tribe of people — a family of craftsmen — who can build anything.
“That’s what Blizzard has been for me. My second family, through all of life’s ups and downs, it’s always been there,” he wrote. “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.”
He offered his thanks to Blizzard and its gaming community.
“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.”
And he added, “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 … .”
And he’ll focus on his family.