“Sometimes it’s a must-do thing.”
Blizzard’s decision to ban a pro-Hong Kong Hearthstone player who staged a mid esports match protest made headlines in October last year. Now, in a new People Make Games interview, Blitzchung has said he has no regrets for speaking up – that it was simply something he had to do.
Last October, a huge backlash erupted after Blizzard banned Blitzchung and fired the casters he had been streaming with. After enormous internal and external pressure, the developer eventually issued something of a backtrack before an outright apology at BlizzCon – but the damage had been done.
A copycat incident was followed by a full-on anti-Blizzard protest at BlizzCon 2019, as Blizzard lost corporate sponsorship money and US politicans got involved. The fallout was felt around the industry, while fans acted to turn Blizzard’s own characters into protest symbols.
It was a big deal, in other words.
But amongst all of that, the person at the centre of it all – Blitzchung – has largely remained silent.
What does he think of it all now? Does he regret it? (No, he does not.)
Asking the questions is People Make Games’ Chris Bratt, who went to Hong Kong to find out how Blitzchung coped in the spotlight, and to hear his thoughts on it all now.