Gears of War boss trades in his chainsaw gun to go oversee Diablo franchise

Rod Fergusson, the Studio Head at Gears of War developer The Coalition has announced that he’s leaving the company and heading over to oversee the future of the Diablo franchise at Blizzard from March.

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Fergusson’s career in video games started at Microsoft, where he worked on Microsoft Train Simulator, but he joined Epic Games in 2005 to act as Executive Producer for the Gears of War series. He took a time out from Gears in 2012 to join Irrational Games as they finished off BioShock Infinite, but it wasn’t long before he returned to Gears as Microsoft purchased the franchise from Epic Games and founded The Coalition, hiring Fergusson to oversee the franchise.

In total he’s spent the majority of the last 15 years dedicated to working on Gears of War, and is set to go out on the high of Gears 5’s 2019 launch and just before the release of Gears Tactics on 28th April.

He’s the second senior Microsoft employee to be poached by Blizzard in recent times, following in the footsteps of former Corporate VP Mike Ybarra. Perhaps he played a part in helping to recruit Fergusson as well?

Either way, Fergusson is stepping out of the frying pan and into the fire with this role, as Blizzard have found themselves barraged by negative press over the last few years. While Diablo IV made its debut at BlizzCon 2019, this was a year after the mobile game Diablo Immortal was booed at BlizzCon 2018, the traditionally PC oriented Blizzard fans disappointed by the game being developed by Chinese company NetEase. These are things that Fergusson will start to have a direct hand in.

In the bigger picture, Blizzard has drawn a lot of flak for its handling of the pro democracy statements made by Hong Kong pro Hearthstone player Blitzchung last October, which threatened to overshadow BlizzCon, and they’ve had to come out an apologise to increasingly disaffected fans after the disappointing release of Warcraft III: Reforged failed to meet the initial expectations of what it would offer.

All around it’s been a rocky few years for Blizzard, almost since the critical and commercial success of Overwatch in 2016. Here’s hoping that Rod Fergusson can have a positive impact at the company, helping to make Diablo IV the kind of game that fans want.

Source: Twitter

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