Word of the layoffs surfaced late yesterday in LinkedIn posts by former Blizzard employees. "After 18 and a half years at Blizzard Entertainment, I've been laid off without notice as of today," tools engineer Hunter C. wrote. "The Hearthstone Team is apparently being restructured and my Tools Engineer role is no longer needed."
In a separate comment, Hunter C. added, "I know I'm not the only one being hit."
Senior producer Joe Belousek was one of the other employees caught up in the layoffs. "Today, after two years, I was unexpectedly laid off from the Hearthstone team," Belousek said in his own post. "It wasn't a long time, but I made the most of it and was making it mine.
"Goodbye to the big campus orc, hopefully, we'll both see better days soon. GLHF Hearthstone team."
In a statement provided to PC Gamer, an Activision Blizzard employee confirmed the cuts. "Organizational changes were made to the Hearthstone team; as a result a small number of roles have become redundant," the rep said. "We want to thank these employees for their many contributions."
Activision Blizzard didn't say how many jobs were cut, but Ethan Gach of Kotaku said on Twitter that sources indicated 10 employees had been let go.
Hearthstone was a huge hit and long-running cash cow for Activision Blizzard, but age—it launched way back in 2014—and the rise of competing card games like Magic: The Gathering Arena, Legends of Runeterra, and Marvel Snap—the latter game headed up by former Hearthstone game director Ben Brode—have dimmed its star somewhat. Still, it remains a centerpiece of the genre: As we said last year (with a touch of theatrical faux-annoyance), nearly 10 years after its debut, "Hearthstone is still really good."
And according to Hunter C., Hearthstone is still pulling its weight, too. "To the best of my knowledge, Hearthstone was doing well," he wrote. "They had just recently shown off how well we were doing in a team meeting. :("