Blizzard Entertainment Inc.’s executive producer in charge of Overwatch 2, Chacko Sonny, has left the company, marking yet another departure of senior staff in light of Blizzard’s continuous and ever-growing legal struggles. However, the controversial company promises that his departure won’t affect the upcoming release of Overwatch 2, a sequel to one of Blizzard’s most prominent titles, as the talented team continues working on the game, which is in its final stages of production. Fans are no longer sure what to expect from the game’s release.
According to Bloomberg, Chacko Sonny, an executive producer on both Overwatch and Overwatch 2, announced his departure to colleagues on Friday, which was subsequently confirmed by Blizzard Entertainment’s spokesperson, stating that Sonny’s leaving Blizzard to take some time off after five years of service. However, Sonny didn’t disclose the reason for his departure. In addition, his email did not refer to the turmoil related to numerous lawsuits against the company or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation.
His departure is the most recent one of many high-level exits from the company since the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for a “frat boy” workplace culture based on sexual harassment and gender discrimination in July. The repercussions of said lawsuit resulted in gamers’ and employees’ strikes and work stoppages, which affected the development of many of the company’s titles, including Overwatch 2. Blizzard Entertainment’s president and company veteran, J. Allen Brack, whose name is mentioned in the original lawsuit, was first among many to resign his position at the company to “pursue new opportunities.”
Brack’s departure was followed by three senior developers, Luis Barriga, Jesse McCree, and Jonathan LeCraft. Jesse McCree’s same-name character from the original Overwatch game suffered a name change as the company struggles to remove any references to real-life individuals involved in the DFEH’s lawsuit. The new name of the gun-slinging cowboy and his possible appearance in the upcoming Overwatch 2 still remain a subject of fans’ speculation. In addition to the original lawsuit, Activision Blizzard was handed a class-action lawsuit filed by the company’s investors, which is the most likely cause for the currently ongoing SEC investigation into the company.
And that’s not the end of high-level departures. Blizzard Entertainment’s top lawyer, Claire Hart, left the company last week, and Activision Blizzard’s Chief People Officer Claudine Naughton announced her departure later this month. Despite helming the entire Overwatch franchise, and the development of Overwatch 2, Chacko Sonny was also acting as Blizzard Entertainment’s vice president, so his departure might not be so surprising after all. In the end, J. Allen Brack is listed in the lawsuit, and so is the company’s HR department, led by Claudine Naughton, and its legal department, presumably led by Claire Hart, for openly neglecting and outright ignoring sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints made by Blizzard employees.
Surprisingly enough, Sonny was described as a well-respected team leader and senior executive by the company’s employees and his subordinates, many of them claiming that no allegations were made against him. If that is the case, why would he leave? Maybe he grew tired of helming the entire franchise after following the departure of Jeff Kaplan earlier this year? Unfortunately, Sonny didn’t disclose his reasons, and Blizzard entertainment still hasn’t decided who will helm the Overwatch franchise for the foreseeable future.