Co-founder and former president of Blizzard Entertainment, Mike Morhaime, has revealed his next project. Earlier today, Morhaime unveiled Dreamhaven (opens in new tab), a new game company from a collection of Blizzard veterans, as well as two development studios, Moonshot Games and Secret Door.
Those studios borrow a significant amount of talent from Blizzard. Morhaime, who is the new company's CEO, and his wife Amy (head of operations), are joined by former Hearthstone lead Jason Chayes, creative director Ben Thompson, and former Starcraft II and Heroes of the Storm director Dustin Browder at Moonshot Games. Secret Door's studio head, Chris Sigaty, worked as executive producer on Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and HotS, while colleagues Alan Dabiri and Eric Dodds both have experience across a suite of major Blizzard titles. The vast majority of the rest of the studio's opening cohort of staff are also Blizzard veterans.
Dreamhaven says it's aiming to "reimagine the studio model," by "taking the chances that most big publishers won't," which might explain the bold gambit of opening with two distinct development teams. Neither Moonshot nor Secret Door have anything concrete to reveal about what they're working on right now, but it certainly looks as though the latter is focusing on a multiplayer experience, as it's highlighting the importance of social experiences within games, and hiring for a server engineer.
Morhaime spent 27 years at Blizzard before leaving the company in 2018, and many members of the new team have spent a significant portion of their careers at the company. Over the past couple of years, reports have suggested that Blizzard's new partner, Activision, is pushing for more games at a lower cost, resulting in a large number of redundancies. While Dreamhaven doesn't mention anyone's specific reasons for moving on, industry insider and Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier said on Twitter (opens in new tab) that "many had left because of Activision's growing influence on Blizzard's culture and process."
Speaking to Venturebeat (opens in new tab), Morhaime said that right now, Dreamhaven is focusing on building the company's values and making sure that the team retains control over decision-making. Unfortunately, that's likely to mean that we don't hear much from either studio for the foreseeable future, but given that this is all coming from the person who helped build one of the world's most successful games companies, Dreamhaven can probably take as much time as it needs.