Blizzard announces Diablo 4’s new game director, Joe Shely

Joe Shely, the game director for 2019, is Joe Shely Diablo 4, Blizzard Entertainment revealed Thursday. Shely succeeds the former Diablo4.Luis Barriga (game director), who quit Blizzard after being sued by the company for creating a hostile workplace that discriminated against women and encouraged sexual harassment.

Shely is a former member of Diablo 4Blizzard stated that he has been a member of the development team since 2017. His responsibilities include “guiding efforts to deliver the deep, compelling systems and visceral combat Diablo is known for, and has been the overall caretaker of the combat experience,” Blizzard said, and he led the team responsible for the first playable demo of Diablo 4 at BlizzCon 2019.

“I’m honored to continue the vision of Diablo IV as its new Game Director, and I’m humbled to represent the team pouring their hearts into this game,” Shely said in a blog post published Thursday. “Like many of you, our team has been reflecting upon recent events. There has been a lot since the last blog. It is important to continue the hard work in promoting the values that we hold dear. Parallel to that work is the development of Diablo IV continues too.”

A headshot of Diablo 4 game director Joe Shely

Photo: Blizzard Entertainment

Shely is a Blizzard employee since 2005. She has also served as the designer. World of Warcraft, senior designer on Diablo 3Contributed to the creation of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty

Blizzard’s latest development update on Diablo 4 does not provide a release date status — Shely merely says “We have ways to go” — and instead focuses on the game’s leadership change and details on sound design. You can read a deep dive into the game’s audio from Diablo 4 sound supervisor Kris Giampa at the game’s website, and see a pair of behind-the-scenes sound recording session videos on YouTube.

Blizzard’s latest update on Diablo 4 comes amid ongoing turmoil at publisher Activision Blizzard, which faces wide-ranging allegations that it maintained a toxic workplace environment that’s particularly hostile to women. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision Blizzard in July, alleging that women at the company are paid less and subject to sexual harassment, without meaningful punishment applied to perpetrators. You can read more about the allegations against Activision Blizzard in Polygon’s explainer.

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