Blizzard are an incomparably large PC studio with many hundreds of self-described geeks under their employ. A faceless monolith – but for the few key names we’ve been allowed to cling to over the years. There’s Mike Morhaime, master and commander. Jay Wilson, probably-unfairly maligned former game director of Diablo III. Dustin Browder, the RTS genre personified. And even as recently as BlizzCon 2013, Greg Street has been highly visible as lead systems designer of WoW – in the company’s MMO division, only Garrosh Hellscream is better known.
But in November, Street said he was leaving Blizzard for something “new and exciting”. His last month was December, just shy of his six-year company anniversary – and he’s since turned up in Santa Monica, at Riot Games.
Street’s new role is as lead game designer – presumably on League of Legends. That makes him the direct counterpart of former colleague Browder, who currently leads Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm team.
Despite the split from his former employers, Street told followers on Twitter that he’s “still heroic raiding with my guild” – and plans to play long past the release of the expansion he helped design, Warlords of Draenor.
“Not much PvP ATM but I might do more next season,” he wrote. “Thinking about my WoD main.”
Street began his career at Ensemble Studios, where he remained for the best part of a decade and became lead designer on Age of Empires III. He moved to Blizzard in 2008, where he eventually led about half of the World of Warcraft design team. There, he oversaw classes, items, professions, combat, PvP, encounters and the UI over three expansions.
“It has been epic and I have made many friends around the world and I have learned so much,” said Street in November. “To all of you in my Blizzard family, inside the company and out, thank you for everything. We will keep in touch. You have made me love my life.”
His move to Riot seems emblematic of their position at the peak of PC development. New Money they may be, but Riot is where the top talent know they’ll do the most exciting design work and find the best coffee machines. Would you do the same?