Blizzard has announced Joe Shely as the new game director on Diablo 4, following the departure of previous director Luis Barriga amid ongoing legal action by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, and a "frat boy" work culture at the studio.
Shely is a long-time Blizzard employee with game designer credits on the likes of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, and World of Warcraft expansions The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, and has been a design lead on Diablo 4 since "the beginning".
"Like many of you, our team has been reflecting upon recent events," Shely wrote in the latest Diablo 4 Quarterly Update introducing his new role. "A lot has happened since our last blog and the hard work of practicing the values we aspire to must continue. In parallel with that important work, development of Diablo IV continues too."
"Over the past few years, we've assembled a strong team with incredible passion for Diablo 4," Shely continued. "You, Diablo's fans, are a critical part of this team. With the help of your valuable feedback, we've steadily refined and deepened the game experience. We have ways to go, and while much has changed, our commitment to the game is unwavering."
Shely takes over the role of Diablo 4 game director from Luis Barriga, who left Blizzard back in August - alongside Diablo 4 lead designer Jesse McCree and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft - as it dealt with the fallout from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing's lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and discrimination at the studio.
More recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) both announced investigations into Activision Blizzard in relation to the lawsuit, with Activision ultimately agreeing to set aside $18m for employees who experienced harassment and discrimination as part of a settlement with the EEOC.