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Blizzard struck by resignations

Public flogging to blame?

Outspoken Blizzard vice president Bill Roper and the three cofounders of Condor, the Diablo developer acquired by Blizzard in February 1996, have resigned, it emerged last night. For leash holders Vivendi, the timing couldn't be worse, and some are already speculating that the high-level change could further derail the media company's very public efforts to flog VU Games.

From a gamer's perspective, the departure of brothers Erich and Max Schaefer, David Brevik and Bill Roper from Blizzard North could mean any number of things. Although Roper has tried to allay fears that the developer's output will suffer as a result, the erstwhile Blizzard North foursome contributed significantly to both Diablo and WarCraft, and it's too early to say how this will affect those franchises.

Indeed, even Roper admits that VU's impending sale and the public bartering process had something to do with his departure. "We wanted to have a level of involvement that was not going to be made available," he told GameSpot. "For the interests of the people that we work with, we should have been able to talk to the people that make the decisions and that knew what was going on."

Looking forward, Roper and co. are expected to comment on their plans when Tuesday dawns in the US of A, and although they haven't chosen a name or a significant game idea to develop yet, it's probably safe to say one thing about the resultant developer: given the line-up, it should conduct itself with plenty of candour.