Activision Blizzard lawsuit: World of Warcraft references being removed

World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Leisure is endeavor efforts to make its firm and its video games extra inclusive and welcoming, together with “speedy motion in Azeroth to take away references that aren’t applicable for our world,” the studio introduced Tuesday. The assertion comes one week after California announced it is suing Blizzard and its parent company, Activision Blizzard, for gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment of its staff.

“The previous days have been a time of reflection for the World of Warcraft staff, spent in dialog and contemplation, stuffed with disappointment, ache, and anger, but additionally hope and resolve,” Blizzard mentioned in a statement attributed to the World of Warcraft team.

Printed on social media and on the sport’s web site, the assertion seems to be the primary public remark relating to the lawsuit — though it doesn’t explicitly and even obliquely reference the go well with — that has been made by any manufacturing staff inside Activision Blizzard. That’s in distinction to the corporate’s company communications division, which got here out swinging with a press release on Wednesday that vehemently denied the allegations within the go well with. It’s a press release that, not coincidentally, many current and former employees found “abhorrent and insulting.”

A number of ex-Blizzard staff, together with former executives resembling senior vice chairman Chris Metzen and president and co-founder Mike Morhaime, have spoken out over the past week about the allegations made in the lawsuit. In statements revealed on social media — statements with a tone that’s markedly completely different from that of Activision Blizzard’s official feedback — Metzen and Morhaime apologized for his or her roles in creating what the California Division of Honest Employment and Housing now describes as a “frat boy” tradition.

“I can let you know, virtually no work is being performed on World of Warcraft proper now whereas this obscenity performs out,” Jeff Hamilton, senior system designer on the sport, said Saturday in a Twitter thread.

In its assertion, the World of Warcraft staff mentioned it’s in search of “steering” from staff members in “inside work to guard marginalized teams and maintain accountable those that threaten them.” The staff added, “We additionally need to take speedy motion in Azeroth to take away references that aren’t applicable for our world. This work has been underway, and you can be seeing a number of such modifications to each Shadowlands and WoW Traditional within the coming days.”

Blizzard’s assertion didn’t present any additional info on these “references.” We’ve reached out to the studio for remark, and we’ll replace this text with any particulars we obtain. However it’s doable that the inappropriate references in query embrace nonplayer characters and different objects inside World of Warcraft which might be named after Alex Afrasiabi, who labored on the sport at Blizzard from 2004 to 2020 and is known as as a serial harasser within the California lawsuit.

The criticism alleges that Afrasiabi, previously the senior artistic director on World of Warcraft, “was permitted to have interaction in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions.” Kotaku reported Thursday that “a minimum of two NPCs,” Discipline Marshal Afrasiabi and Lord Afrasastraz, at present bear the developer’s identify, together with “a lot of objects.” Because of the claims within the lawsuit — together with the allegations that Afrasiabi “continued to make undesirable advances in direction of feminine staff” after receiving self-discipline that amounted to a “slap on the wrist” — numerous World of Warcraft players have staged in-game protests and called for Blizzard to remove all references to Afrasiabi from the game.

Activision Blizzard employs greater than 9,000 folks throughout subsidiaries together with Blizzard Leisure; the cell recreation developer King; Main League Gaming; and Activision studios resembling Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Video games, Toys for Bob, and Treyarch. Lots of of staff, led by a bunch inside Blizzard, introduced Tuesday that they plan to undertake a work stoppage on Wednesday to protest the corporate’s response to the lawsuit and demand modifications from management. The walkout will happen on the Blizzard campus in Irvine, California, in addition to nearly. | Activision Blizzard lawsuit: World of Warcraft references being eliminated


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