Blizzard has unquestionably earned a place in the Valhalla of game companies. Few companies in video games' history have had the impact that Blizzard has: Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo. World of Warcraft. Hearthstone.
And few people have had more of a formative influence on Blizzard that its chief creative officer, Rob Pardo. So it's not hyperbole to call Pardo's decision to leave Blizzard, announced today, a seismic event for the game industry.
Pardo was lead designer for World of Warcraft, Blizzard's monumental contribution to the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) genre. He led design on WoW's first major expansion pack, and is lead designer on the newest expansion in the series, Warlords of Draenor, due out later this year. Pardo was also lead designer on Warcraft III and its first expansion pack, The Frozen Throne, and he's credited with design work on the original StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War expansion. He's done a lot of other work for Blizzard besides.
Pardo joined Blizzard after leaving another Irvine, Calif.-based game development studio, Interplay.
Blizzard holds a special place in the heart of Mac gamers everywhere, because it's one of a relative few AAA video game developers and publishers that puts OS X on a level playing field with Windows: All of its games are same-day releases on both platforms.
While Pardo, who's 44, takes off some well-deserved time to be with his family, Blizzard will carry on without missing a beat. Blizzard merged with Activision in 2008, and together the companies generated $4.8 billion in revenue for 2013. Diablo III alone sold more than 12 million copies last year.
Blizzard's commitment to the Mac won't change with Pardo leaving the company, of course, but it'll be interesting to see how things evolve at Blizzard over time.
Pardo's leaving open his future plans.
As to what I will be doing next, I don't have an answer for you yet . . . but I will "when it's ready."
If you want to follow Pardo on Twitter, his handle is @Rob_Pardo.