Blizard's chief creative officer Rob Pardo has announced his departure from the firm.
"After 17 years at Blizzard, with long and careful contemplation, I have made a difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting decision to pursue the next chapter in my life and career," he said in a statement on Thursday.
Formerly Blizzard's executive vice president of game design, Pardo joined the firm in 1997 and was the lead designer of the genre-defining MMO World of Warcraft.
"As to what I will be doing next, I don't have an answer for you yet... but I will 'when it's ready'," said Pardo. "My priorities are to enjoy the summer with my family, play plenty of games, and think about what's next.
"The game industry is such an exciting place right now with PC gaming thriving, the new consoles, mobile games, and virtual reality becoming an actual reality. It's like having an empty quest log and going into a new zone for the first time."
In his positions at Blizzard over the past 17 years, Pardo has played a critical role in the overall game design on many of the firm's major franchises including Diablo, Starcraft and World of Warcraft, in hiring the talent that has produced some of the most successful PC games in history.
"I'm really proud of the contributions I was able to make to Blizzard's accomplishments. From building lasting games, to supporting the growth of eSports, to extending the Warcraft world into a feature film, and of course to being able to celebrate our shared passions with the Blizzard community online and at BlizzCon," he said.
Read Pardo's full statement here.