“I burned out really hard” – Chris Metzen on how Titan contributed to him leaving Blizzard

Chris Metzen retiring

In a relaxed interview, Chris Metzen, a man with credits on a massive number of Blizzard’s games, from World of Warcraft to Justice League, and all the way up to Overwatch, has spoken candidly about his decision to retire from the games giant. You can listen to the entire podcast above, but read on for some select quotes. 

Now he’ll have time to work on his card skills, as can you with our list of the best Hearthstone decks.

“What do I know about life, what have I learned? I don’t know, not all that much,” Metzen says in the interview, reflecting on his time away from Blizzard. “I spent so many years running real hot and real fast, chasing this dream that I had and also trying to be a good soldier, a good officer for this company I was with. You take a step back from it – the rhythm of it all, the reality, the pace of it – and I’ve been very thoughtful the past number of months.”

Metzen’s retirement was announced earlier this year, around September, but he says he was not working at Blizzard for a few months prior to that. He’s had plenty of time to reflect in that time, which has been spent with his wife and children, relaxing as much as a parent can.

“Leaving Blizzard was an incredibly difficult thing,” he says. “I had been there since… essentially I was a kid. I was like 19 when I got hired. It was my life, it was my identity and it was, in many ways, all-consuming. It allowed me to realise all the dreams I had and aspirations. It was just incredible. But there can be a cost sometimes to run of running that hard.”

He says Blizzard were “absolutely [his] family” and that working there was his “great joy”, but it was just time for a change of pace. Now, after having some quality time with his other family, Metzen says, “I’m a happy dude.”

“The truth of my experience was, maybe three years ago – we’ve reported the broad reality of what happened with the Titan project that we were engaged in, and we haven’t shared a lot of details on how it went left, and I’m not going to either, other than to say: Titan going south was the result of a number of years that we had spent on it,” Metzen reveals. “Those were very frustrating years for me, not just because of Titan, but it was a contributor.

“During those years I burned out really hard. I wanted to just not carry the weight of it all, the expectation of it all, anymore.” Metzen says he got stuck in a “vicious loop” of working on something while seeking validation, to do it all over again.Metzen goes on to explain how his mental health deteriorated over time, leading to panic attacks. In the end, stepping back seemed like the right thing to do.

Have a watch through the video above for more Metzen reflections, or if you’d rather listen to it on SoundCloud, here’s the full podcast from Scott Johnson.