Blizzard composer Russell Brower has been laid off

You may not immediately recognize Russell Brower's name, but if you've played a Blizzard game over the past decade you've almost certainly heard his music. The studio's senior audio director/composer has credits on everything from World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade to Overwatch, with StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and various expansions in between. That run has come to an end, however, as he announced on Facebook today that his job has been eliminated. 

"As the company has grown, the topography of the Sound team has adjusted accordingly, and the last couple of years have been no exception," he wrote. "With the success of a 'sound de-centralization' initiative, my current position of overall Sr. Audio Director/Composer is no longer relevant and is being eliminated." 

The good news—for players, that is—is that there's "an excellent chance" that Brower will be able to continue to work on Blizzard games in a freelance capacity. He's also got a solo album in the works, and a CV that by all rights should open plenty of doors elsewhere: Prior to joining Blizzard he worked at WBIE, NovaLogic, and Disney, and also has three Emmy Awards to his name. 

"I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to EVERYONE reading this: all of our Players, Music Lovers, and the countless new friends I’ve made worldwide, for the incredible and indelible life experiences I have enjoyed while at Blizzard," Brower wrote. "Especially the Players—each of you have truly enriched our lives by playing our games, meeting us at #BlizzCon and #Nerdtacular, attending our music concerts the world over, enjoying our soundtrack albums and sheet music—the list goes on and on. We have so much to be proud of and I am truly grateful to each of you and to all my Blizzard colleagues for putting up with me over the last 12 years and teaching me so much." 

Brower's World of Warcraft soundtrack was selected to the Classic FM Hall of Fame in 2014, with special mention given to the Wrath of the Lich King track "Invincible" as being "imbued with emotion and portent." Give it a listen below. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.