Why Is ‘Overwatch’ Executive Producer, Chacko Sonny, Leaving Blizzard Entertainment?

Blizzard Entertainment confirmed on Sept. 21 that Chacko Sonny, executive producer of Overwatch, will be leaving the studio. Sonny, who also served as the video game developer’s vice president, is just the latest in a line of high-level employees to depart ahead of the highly-anticipated release of Overwatch 2. The news also comes in the wake of Blizzard’s legal trouble; the company faces a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit and a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. Here’s what Blizzard said about Sonny’s departure.

Former Overwatch Executive Producer Chacko Sonny at Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch League Grand Finals in 2018
Chacko Sonny | Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment

Several Blizzard employees have left in 2021

In early August, Blizzard announced via a blog post that president J. Allen Brack had stepped down from his position. Jen Oneal, former EVP of development, and Mike Ybarra, former EVP of platform and technology, took over as Blizzard’s leaders.

Blizzard didn’t directly mention the allegations against the company, but it did assure that Oneal and Ybarra would make the workplace a safe environment for all. The post reads:

Both leaders are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust. With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion, and a dedication to excellence.

As Bloomberg reported, Blizzard’s head of HR, Jesse Meschuk, left around the same time. Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan left earlier in 2021, as well as some of Blizzard’s designers. Additionally, chief legal officer Claire Hart quit in mid-September. According to Bloomberg, parent company Activision Blizzard’s Chief People Officer Claudine Naughton reportedly also plans to leave in September.

Blizzard says Chacko Sonny will ‘take some time off’

As Kotaku reported, Blizzard released a statement confirming Sonny’s departure. The statement noted that Sonny is leaving the company to “take some time off after five years of service.”

According to Bloomberg, Sonny wrote in an email to Blizzard staff that his time at the studio “has been an absolute privilege and one of the best experiences of my career.” Additionally, Oneal and Ybarra wrote that they considered Sonny “a thoughtful leader.”

Sonny joined Blizzard in 2016 as a production director. He worked on the original Overwatch and its upcoming sequel, which does not yet have an official release date. Anonymous Blizzard employees reportedly told Bloomberg that Sonny acted as a “stabilizing force” for the Overwatch developers, and many people respected him.

Blizzard will reveal more at the ‘Overwatch’ League Grand Finals

Blizzard has not announced who will take over for Sonny, but it did reveal that Overwatch 2 is in “the final stages of production.” The statement promised that more information would come during the Overwatch League Grand Finals on Sept. 25. The esports championship event will see two teams compete for a $1.5 million prize.

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