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One of Blizzard Entertainment’s longest-tenured creative minds is taking an exit.

Rob Pardo, the chief creative officer at Blizzard, announced he is leaving the company today.

In a goodbye post on Battle.net, Pardo gave a sad farewell.

“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,” Pardo said.

The 44-year-old Pardo joined Blizzard in 1997 after a tour at Interplay Productions. He helped design games that included World of Warcraft, StarCraft, StarCraft: Brood War, Warcraft III, and Diablo III. Before he was named chief creative officer, he was executive vice president of game design at Blizzard.

Pardo said he wasn’t ready to say what he is doing next. He was working on the expansion to World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, slated to arrive this fall.

“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,” Pardo said. “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.

“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.”

 

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