Blizzard acquires Proletariat to ramp up production on World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment has acquired Proletariat Inc., the development studio behind the free-to-play fantasy battle royale Spellbreak. It is speculated that the acquisition was the largest buyout in Blizzard’s history, though its pricing and terms were not revealed.
The agreement, according to VentureBeat, calls for Proletariat’s nearly 100-person staff to be relocated to Boston in order to strengthen the WoW developer team and reduce update errors, specifically for work on the MMORPG’s upcoming DLC, Dragonflight, which is set to launch later this year.
Proletariat Inc, which has been working with Blizzard Entertainment since May, is the second developer recently absorbed into the larger Activision Blizzard team. It followed the footsteps of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 developer Vicarious Visions, which began assisting Blizzard games in January 2021 before fully integrating with the studio in October 2021.
Blizzard President Mike Ybarra commented on the acquisition via VentureBeat, “We are putting players at the forefront of everything we do, and we are working hard to both meet and exceed their expectations,” adding that Proletariat will help Blizzard deliver high-quality content for loyal WoW players at a faster, more frequent pace.
“A big part of caring for our teams is making sure we have the resources to produce experiences our communities will love while giving our teams space to explore even more creative opportunities within their projects,” said Ybarra. “Proletariat is a perfect fit for supporting Blizzard’s mission in bringing high-quality content to our players more often.”
Spellbreak shutting down
Spellbreak was released in 2020 by Proletariat Inc. The game was widely regarded as a delightfully unique entry compared to other entries in the genre. It was also one of a few games that offered a lot of gamers solace during the most difficult days of the global outbreak.
Proletariat CEO Seth Sivak believes the project was a huge success. However, the studio didn’t have the right timing to keep expanding the game, and now that the news of its acquisition broke, Proletariat has announced that Spellbreak would cease operation in early 2023.
“Spellbreak was a critical success, and we felt like we really delivered something fresh in the battle royale genre,” Sivak said. “There is a lot of competition in that area, where you are competing with some of the biggest games in the world. We just couldn’t get the escape velocity necessary for us to continue to expand it.” Sivak said.
The priority right now for the studio, according to Sivak, is to provide as much care and support to the Blizzard WoW team. He regarded Blizzard as a fantastic model for the Proletariat team to develop and explore with expertise under the new senior leadership.
“As we looked at where what the next chapter was going to be for Proletariat, this opportunity just meant that we could accelerate what we wanted to do,” he added. “Being able to work for the World of Warcraft audiences is really awesome. And the level of ambition on where I think both teams want to take World of Warcraft is incredibly exciting for us.”