Blizzard Co-Founder Starts New Game Company, Dreamhaven

Mike Morhaime is bringing a lot of ex-Blizzard talent to his Dreamhaven project in an attempt to form a "beacon of hope to others in the industry."

Photo: Dreamhaven

Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime has revealed that he has started a new game company called Dreamhaven.

“We’re almost trying to create a haven for creators who want an environment that is development-friendly, values product, and player experience over short-term financial pressures,” Morhaime says of Dreamhaven’s goals in a statement to Gamesbeat. “There is a better way of approaching business and game creation that can work and be sustainable and be a lot of fun and yield positive results.”

As of now, Dreamhaven intends to basically serve as a parent company to two development studios: Moonshot and Secret Door. Moonshot will be led by Jason Chayes (a former Blizzard executive producer on projects such as Starcraft 2 and Hearthstone). Assisting him will be Starcraft 2 director Dustin Browder and former Hearthstone creative director, Ben Thompson. Secret Door, meanwhile, will be led by former Blizzard executive producer, Chris Sigaty. That team’s other members include former Hearthstone director Eric Dodds as well as former Heroes of the Storm game director, Alan Dabiri.

While both teams are joined by various other veteran video game talent, you really do get the impression that Dreamhaven and its development subsidiaries are indeed refuges for former Blizzard talent. While all parties involved stop short of “calling out” Blizzard, some do mention the gaming giant when explaining why they decided to embark upon this venture.

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“I had a tremendous amount of fun during my time at Blizzard and many friends who are still there,” says Jason Chayes. “But is there unfinished business? There are more things that we’d like to do. There are more stories to tell, more games to make, and a need to figure out what developers and publishers look like in the future. This is an opportunity to build a company.”

Many of the various partners also informed the Washington Post that working with Morhaime was one of the best parts of their time at Blizzard. For his part, Morhaime says that he wants Dreamhaven to be “like a beacon to the rest of the industry,” but he doesn’t reference any games that the Dreamhaven teams may be working on at this time. He also mentions that he and his wife (Amy Morhaime) are currently funding the operation in an effort to “make sure we retain control over the company’s decision making.” That said, he doesn’t seem to rule out the possibility that they will need to seek outside funding opportunities at some point.

It’s easy to read this whole situation as a response to Activision’s reported “takeover” of Blizzard’s company culture in recent years, but it also genuinely seems that those involved with the Dreamhaven effort do want the opportunity to work on the kinds of projects that inspire them most. While we don’t know what those projects will be quite yet, it’s hard to deny that the talent involved with this endeavor is noteworthy and potentially groundbreaking.