According to a senior developer at Activision Blizzard, practically all work on World of Warcraft has been halted by a lawsuit regarding sexual harassment, bullying, unfair pay, and more besides.
Last week, following a two-year investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the state filed a lawsuit against the publisher and developer, alleging the company incubated a “frat boy” culture.
Now, World of Warcraft senior system designer Jeff Hamilton has taken to Twitter to note that very little work on the game is currently underway as Activision Blizzard responds to the situation internally.
"I don’t know what to do. I don’t have all the answers,” wrote Hamilton on Twitter (via The Gamer). “I can tell you, almost no work is being done on World of Warcraft right now while this obscenity plays out. And that benefits nobody - not the players, not the developers, not the shareholders."
"Activision’s response to this is currently taking a group of world-class developers and making them so mad and traumatized they’re rendered unable to keep making a great game," he continued.
Hamilton ends the thread by highlighting a wealth of current and ex-Blizzard employees that have spoken out about the culture at the studio. It would do anyone curious about the situation well to seek out those names and read the threads they have posted about their experiences.
In response to the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard brought by the state of California, former president Mike Morhaime and current president J. Allen Brack have issued public and company-focused statements regarding the allegations brought forth in the suit.
Given that the lawsuit was only filed recently, it may be a while before Activision Blizzard is seen in court to respond to these claims. Development on various Activision Blizzard projects may be impacted in that time, especially if last year’s scandal involving Ubisoft is a rod by which we can measure the current situation at the company.
Last year, Blizzard employees complained of pay disparities as Activision recorded record profits. In 2019, the company was criticized for its decision to lay off around 800 of its staff on the same day it announced breaking new revenue records.