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Blizzard is known for having made some of the best games in the industry and for having top notch talent working for the company. Well, Blizzard just lost one of its best in the form of Heathstone game director, Ben Brode.
Over on the official Battle.net forums, Ben Brode made a post indicating that after a 15-year stint at Blizzard, it's time for him to move on. In fact, he mentions that he's spent nearly 10 years working on Hearthstone alone. His next project involves opening up a brand new studio with a small group of developers. The team will be working on a brand new game but they don't mention exactly what the game will be or when it's coming, but don't expect to hear more about it until another two or three years from now after things get settled and the game moves out of the prototype phase.
Brode joined the Hearthstone team back in 2008. Since then, he's worked not only with the team but also with the community, taking a dive into the game's subreddit in order to learn more about what the community is saying about the game.
Hearthstone originally launched in 2014, six years after the initial development began, which sort of gives you an idea of just how long some games can take in the developmental phase.
When the game did finally release it turned out to be a smash hit. At one point in time, the CCG was making millions of dollars each month. The hook for the game is that it is free-to-play, so there's no price of entry just to start playing the game,
The gameplay revolves around building up a deck and battling against opponents who have built up their own custom deck. Much like Yu-Gi-Oh!, or other card games out there, the objective is to whittle down the life of your opponent by using attack cards. You can also utilize defensive measures to protect yourself against various opponent strategies.
The game picked up its biggest audience thanks to live-streaming on Twitch and YouTube. A number of high-profile content creators helped to really push the game into many CCG circles, while the attachment to the Warcraft brand helped filter in some gamers who may not have originally been interested in a collectible card game.
Given how much money Hearthstone brought in and how popular the game has been, I'm sure that Ben Brode has built up a rather sizable nest egg since the game's official launch in 2014. Even a small percentage over the last four years of a game that was bringing in $30 million a year, would likely be enough to start up a small company and work on a budget-priced indie title at some point in the future.