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World of Warcraft Exec Says Microsoft Has 'Let Blizzard Be Blizzard' Since Acquisition

Gamers worldwide have long wondered whether Microsoft’s historic acquisition of Activision Blizzard would lead to structural and organizational changes for the World of Warcraft developer. Now, six months after the acquisition’s finalization, a higher-up at World of Warcraft has revealed that the Xbox maker has “let Blizzard be Blizzard.”

Speaking with Video Games Chronicle, World of Warcraft executive producer and vice president Holly Longdale revealed that developers' day-to-day operations have remained largely unchanged.

“There’s no one asking us to do anything,” Longdale told VGC. “World of Warcraft is doing very well and they’re very proud of what it’s been able to accomplish, so it’s almost like just let it be, and let it keep being awesome. They’ve been tremendously supportive and it’s like ‘let Blizzard be Blizzard.' ”

Longdale went on to laud the company’s post-acquisition life as a beneficial business relationship allowing Activision Blizzard to communicate and access information with fellow Microsoft-owned studios.

“We got time with Helen Chang from Mojang, and we were sharing information, so it’s almost as if we have access to what worked for them,” Longdale said. “We got to speak to the Elder Scrolls Online team and share what we’re up to and what’s been working, it’s almost like we get a benefit.”

Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for a smooth $68.7 billion last October. With it came ownership of major video game franchises like Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Diablo. Despite Longdale’s anecdotes about Microsoft’s acquisition not changing the way the studio operates, it has been hit with layoffs since the deal closed. In January, Microsoft laid off 1,900 staff members across its gaming division, including Activision Blizzard. The mass layoffs saw the cancellation of its long-in-development survival game, Odyssey.

“We got to speak to the Elder Scrolls Online team and share what we’re up to and what’s been working, it’s almost like we get a benefit.

In other World of Warcraft-related news, Blizzard recently unveiled the next expansion of World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft: The War Within. In our preview, we said, "While it's not as earthshattering as its predecessor, Dragonflight, we suspect there's a lot of undiscovered potential lurking beneath the surface."

Isaiah Colbert is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow them on Twitter @ShinEyeZehUhh.

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