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Blizzard downsizes Heroes of the Storm team, cancels esports plans

On ice.

Blizzard is cutting back on Heroes of the Storm - shrinking the game's team and cancelling its big esports events.

Staff will be moved to other internal projects, Blizzard said in a blog post today. There's no word on how many people will be left working on the MOBA.

Blizzard said it was a hard choice - repeatedly, using the phrases "very difficult decision", "tough choice", and "we don't make these decisions lightly" - but the game's staff were now needed elsewhere.

"We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company's history," Blizzard said in a statement signed by new boss J. Allen Brack and creative chief Ray Gresko. "We're also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects.

"As a result, we've made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we're excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they'll bring to those projects. This isn't the first time we've had to make tough choices like this. Games like Diablo 2, World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past."

Heroes just launched a Christmassy event.

This isn't the end for Heroes of the Storm - Blizzard will still release new heroes and in-game events in the future, though at a slower pace. There's no word on how slow this will be.

The game's big Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm esports events are also being canned. "We ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect," Blizzard said on that.

Heroes of the Storm launched in 2015, when MOBAs were big business, but it feels like the industry has moved on. Despite its typically-polished Blizzard quality, it never found an audience as large as some of Blizzard's other big hitters. And out of Blizzard's current roster of games, Heroes would be the project you'd cut back on to focus elsewhere. I wonder where its team will end up?