Hearthstone game director Ben Brode has announced he is leaving Blizzard after 15 years with the company.

Brode is starting a new company that will “probably” make games, and is looking forward to “actually creating things again”.

“I am very fortunate to be able to take a crazy risk right now in my life, and I’m excited to be scrappy and a little scared,” he wrote on Blizzard’s official forums.

“I’m going to miss the on-campus Starbucks, though. Dang.

“Blizzard, thank you for taking a chance on me, and thank you for taking a chance on Hearthstone. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

“And to the passionate community of players – I will miss you, and the laughs we shared together. Thank you for making being a part of Hearthstone so much fun for me. I’ve loved every minute.”

Brode was hired by Blizzard as a night crew game tester at the tender age of 20, but his big break came years later with Heathstone.

“I am very proud of Hearthstone. I think we made an impact on the industry,” he wrote.

“People tell me that Hearthstone brought their family closer together, or that they became close friends with people they met at a Fireside Gathering.

“Others tell me they were inspired by Hearthstone to become game developers themselves. It’s incredible to be a part of something that touches so many people,” he added.

“But as proud as I am of Hearthstone, I am even more proud of the team.”

According to Brode, the Hearthstone team view the game not as a job, but as a shared passion.

"I get too much credit by virtue of being a public face, but the 80+ people on the development team are still there, and they are the ones actually making the cards, brawls, events, missions, and features,” he wrote.

“I am confident the game is in the best possible hands, and I'm excited to see where a new generation of leaders takes Hearthstone from here."