Game studio Proletariat is to be folded into the Blizzard Entertainment family, with its 100-strong team of developers now joining the ranks supporting World of Warcraft. The studio’s live service battle royale game Spellbreak, which sees players flinging magic spells at each other in a bid to come out on top, will be “sunset” after four years of support.
This acquisition, as reported by GamesBeat, is the biggest such deal in the company’s recent history, and is likely a move to beef up its development arm in the lead-up to the release of World of Warcraft’s Dragonflight expansion some time later this year or in 2023. In a statement, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra iterated the importance of giving the company’s developers the resources needed to continue creating new WoW content without burning out, and described Proletariat as “a perfect fit for supporting Blizzard’s mission in bringing high-quality content to our players.”
Proletariat’s most recent offering was the aforementioned Spellbreak, a magical battle royale title released in 2020. It was critically lauded, but the title — by Proletariat CEO Seth Sivak’s own admission — failed to gain “escape velocity” sufficient to become a truly self-sustaining product. The company announced yesterday that it would be ending development on Spellbreak, with servers due to shut down “as of early 2023.”
It would be impossible to discuss Blizzard’s acquisition of a new studio without bringing up Activision Blizzard’s own acquisition by Microsoft, not to mention the company’s wrangling with allegations of toxicity and a hostile work environment. For his part, Sivak said that an “open and transparent” conversation between the two parties about the ongoing issues was “encouraging,” and is reportedly excited about the new opportunities that could come Proletariat’s way in the wake of the Microsoft deal. Though Sivak confirmed that, for now, the focus would be on helping to develop World of Warcraft.