Ben Brode, Game Director for Activision-Blizzard’s hit CCG Hearthstone announced today that he is leaving Activision-Blizzard to help start a new, unnamed company.
This announcement comes mere weeks after Ben Brode discussed some internal issues with Kotaku in an interview on the 9th of April. In the interview, he cited concerns with a specific card, now infamous on the Hearthstone subreddit. Ben Brode’s fears proved valid mere hours after the release of the card, with players exploiting the recursive nature of the card’s effect to create problematic gameplay experiences in exactly the way Ben Brode predicted.
The exploit was so abusive that, when he became aware of it, Brode said “Guys, whatever card you made that enables this, you just change it right now.” The response, according to Kotaku, was ‘No can do. All of these cards are being released as-is’.
In the same interview, Brode went on to say “I was like, ‘Nooooo. What have we done.’ So, um, I’m a little worried about that one.”
Whether Ben Brode’s departure is related to this quarrel is impossible to say, but the impact he has had as the face of Team 5 and the mediator between the community and Activision-Blizzard is impossible to overstate.
Hearthstone will go on, but Brode’s enthusiasm will be missed.