Blizzard is the same wholesome videogame development studio it's always been, even after becoming part of Activision-Blizzard. No, really.
It may have been said before, but Blizzard has reiterated that the merger of Activision with Vivendi, which resulted in the creation of Activision-Blizzard, did not affect the chilly game developer in any negative way. It's still business as usual over at Blizzard.
Conspiracy theorists may feel that over time, Activision has crept into Blizzard and changed the developer. Perhaps it started by removing staplers from the office, and expanded to a mysterious plan to make every Blizzard game player reveal their real names so that Activision could somehow legally own our souls. Blizzard says that is just not true.
Blizzard Entertainment's VP and executive managing director of internal operations Michael Ryder told MCV: "Since we had our merger with Activision, it hasn't changed anything at Blizzard. We operate in pretty much the same way we already have." Hmm, "pretty much" huh? That sounds like code for "Bobby Kotick runs the entire show from his underground lair" to me.
However, Ryder says that Blizzard's culture is still entirely intact and isn't going anywhere. "For Blizzard, our culture is extremely important," Ryder imparted. "It is actually the basis for how we do what we do. We have a really strong culture that has a number of values that we share with our offices around the world. That culture, those values, binds us together and it defines the way we want to behave."
"Preserving that culture is a key part of our ability to continue to deliver great games. We nurture it, protect it and take care of it as much as we can, because it is a big part of who we are."
If Blizzard were a smaller company, I might think that Activision could have a bigger influence. But when you're bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars per year with no end in sight, I think you gain the right to a little autonomy.
At around two-and-a-half years after the official formation of Activision-Blizzard, it's time to hang up your conspiracy hats folks: Blizzard is probably always going to remain the same company it's always been. When it comes to Activision's studios involved with other properties, say Call of Duty, that may be a different story, so watch your souls Call of Duty players.