Former Blizzard Leaders Form Magic Soup Games With Aim To Create AAA Titles

Blizzard veterans J. Allen Brack, Jen Oneal, and John Donham have teamed up to create Magic Soup Games, a fully remote game studio dedicated to creating “massive AAA games that have positive themes.”

The trio have decades of experience working at Activision Blizzard. Brack worked at Blizzard for nearly 16 years, including three years as Blizzard’s president. He left the company amid controversy surrounding a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit alleging a “frat boy” workplace culture at the studio. Oneal worked at Activision Blizzard for nearly 20 years, leading Activision’s Vicarious Visions studio before a brief stint as Blizzard’s co-head following Brack’s departure. He remained in that position for only three months before also leaving the company, a move that sparked controversy of his own. Donham worked at Blizzard for just over a year as of 2019 as chief of staff and vice president of special projects.

At Magic Soup, Oneal will assume the role of CEO, while Brack will lead game development and Donham will oversee operations. The trio isn’t revealing what the studio’s first game will be, but in a Q&A with VentureBeat, Brack said the studio aims to make “AAA games that have positive themes and work with people who deeply understand and enjoy the game.” art of game creation”. The studio’s first game will also be something that “doesn’t fit neatly into any existing genre today,” according to Brack.

The studio currently has five employees whom, in keeping with the studio’s culinary name, it calls “chefs.” Brack said the name Magic Soup comes from the idea that making games is a lot like making soup, in that both require a lot of time, iteration, and ingredients, and each requires a lot of tasting and testing to get right.

When asked about leaving Blizzard under “difficult circumstances,” Brack said he has reflected on his role in driving cultural change and has spent time “listening and reading a lot of personal stories and opinions about things that should have been better.” . For Oneal, she said that “it was very difficult to leave,” but she remains committed to promoting diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the game.

Magic Soup joins a long line of studios formed by prominent former Blizzard developers in recent years, including Second Dinner, Frost Giant, and most recently Gas Giant Games.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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