“We create massive games that make you feel good,” states Magic Soup Games, a newly-announced studio, on their official website. This trio of developers is ex-Blizzard Entertainment veterans Jen Oneal, J. Allen Brack, and John Donham. They were behind games such as World of Warcraft, Star Wars, Tony Hawk, EverQuest, Diablo, and Skylanders.
But let’s backtrack.
In July 2021, Oneal left the company, last serving as the executive vice president of development. She was with Blizard for nearly 20 years until parting due to pay disparities. Only upon handing in her resignation letter was Oneal offered as much money as her co-lead Mike Ybarra.
“While I have many good memories of my time there and the great games I got the opportunity to work on, what I cared most about was the people, and it was very difficult to leave, especially during an overall challenging period,” she told VentureBeat. “After leaving, I still wanted to help women in the industry and continued my non-profit work.” Onel continues to be active as a board member for non-profit Women in Gaming International.
Brack also left in 2021. He was the former president of the company. His exit followed the spark that lit the fire that was the lawsuit alleging harassment and discrimination of women at Activision Blizzard.
“Separation was incredibly difficult, but I believed the organization would heal faster under someone new,” Brack said. “I still believe Blizzard can re-emerge as a haven for creatives with a positive culture for all employees.” He noted that the company did improve practices and policies addressing employee inequities, at least while Brack was still the president.
All three founders expressed their desire for “inclusiveness” in their new venture, but stayed away from commenting on any of the primary accusations against Blizzard.
Matthew D’Onofrio, News Editor
Matthew “dinofries” D’Onofrio is a writer, content creator, and — most importantly — a gamer. With such a strong passion for video games and a severe case of FOMO, it’s no surprise he always has his finger on the pulse of the gaming world (And won’t shut up about it). On the rare occasion Matt’s away from a screen, you’ll find him strumming away on his acoustic guitar or taking care of his cat Totoro.
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