Three former Blizzard leads have set up new AAA studio Magic Soup Games

Three former Blizzard executives have formed a new AAA studio, Magic Soup Games.

Jen O’Neal, J. Allen Brack and John Donham each held senior roles at Blizzard, among other studios, during their careers.

In a statement, the trio said Magic Soup sees them “drawing on decades of experience to build original AAA games that are genuinely uplifting and engaging for players around the world.”

Oneal, who is the studio’s CEO, said: “J, John and I have similar ideas about the type of games we want to make, and we’re strongly aligned with the company’s goals and principles, so this was a natural fit for us. .

“We know that the quality of our games will reflect our team culture. We work up front to make sure we foster creativity, fully remote collaboration, and diverse backgrounds.”

Between them, the trio have worked and led teams behind franchises such as World of WarcraftTony Hawk’s Pro Skater, EverQuest, Diablo and Skylanders.

Brack was Blizzard’s president until it was announced in August 2021 he would leave the company “to look for new opportunities”.

He was one of the few Activision Blizzard employees named in a 2021 lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing accusing the company’s HR staff and executives, including Brack unable to deal with sexual harassment and discrimination against female workers.

Brack was replaced by Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who were named studio heads, but Oneal then left just a couple of months later, claiming that she was only offered the same salary as her male counterpart, Ybarra after giving the resignation.

“Jen has a great track record as a team builder, culture driver and playmaker,” Brack said in a separate statement. “John and I are thrilled to have him at the helm of the company.

“John has decades of experience in both games and startups, and he’ll be running operations. I’m excited to wake up every day and focus on game development with the team. The three of us look forward to seeing what kind of games and teams we’ll build in the years to come.