Blizzard is moving developers away from Heroes of the Storm, and is cancelling the game's official esports structures going forward. The announcement was made in a blog post today from new Blizzard president J. Allen Brack and chief development officer Ray Gresko.
"We’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects," the post reads. "Despite the change ... we’ll continue actively supporting the game with new heroes, themed events, and other content that our community loves, though the cadence will change."
While never as popular as the towering MOBA behemoths that are League of Legends and Dota 2, HotS has cultivated a modest, dedicated fan base. Blizzard says the decision was made in order to support the other live games and unannounced projects that the company is working on.
The post goes on to say that the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm—the game's professional and collegiate-level esports systems—will not return in 2019.
"While we don’t make these decisions lightly, we do look to the future excited about what the decisions will mean for our other live games and all the projects we have in the works," Blizzard says. "We appreciate all of our hard-working developers and everyone in the Blizzard community, and look forward to sharing many more epic gaming experiences with you in the future."
Update: In a message posted on the Blizzard forums, Heroes of the Storm production director Kaéo Milker expressed sadness about the end of the HGC and reduced development resources, but also told fans that "all is not lost."
"The team that remains dedicated to Heroes of the Storm is a veritable Who’s Who of developers who have been driving every facet of the game from the very beginning—from people you know and have seen speak publicly about the game for years, to those who have poured their hearts into it from behind the scenes. In short, we’re continuing to develop the game with an incredible team that has the experience and passion required to support Heroes of the Storm well into the future," Milker wrote.
"The Heroes of the Storm team and I also have a unique opportunity to rethink things and reprioritize. Because now more than ever, our charge is to focus on taking care of you, our players, and to channel all our energy into keeping the game dynamic and fun. This means we’re still committed to regular hero reworks, themed events, and even new heroes."
Milker said that the remaining HotS team is setting "new goals and timelines" for the future of the game, and that it will share those plans as soon as everything is nailed down.
"I’m excited for my teammates to bring their hard-won experience from making this game to the other teams at Blizzard to help their games be even better," he said. "And I’m especially excited for Heroes of the Storm to continue evolving with a renewed focus and purity of purpose."