After a career spanning more than 32 years and just about every game Blizzard ever made, senior art director Samwise Didier is calling it quits. Didier announced on Twitter that he is retiring, and that today is his last day at his “beloved Blizzard Entertainment.”
“Blizzard was never just a job for me,” Didier wrote. “I joined the company in 1991 and it immediately became my second home. I found out I had a family that I didn’t even know I had!
“I grew up there. I learned almost everything I know about art there. I learned how to use a computer (I only knew Atari 2600 and Nintendo), I learned how to use Photoshop, I learned how to create UI and make thousands of buttons. I learned how to create 3D models of my art, how to texture and animate them, and even make them shoot fireballs or lasers. I got to see my art come to life! Hell, I even joined my first band at Blizzard. And to top it all off, I got to work on some of the greatest games this here ol’ world has ever known.”
Didier’s first credit at Blizzard was for artwork on The Lost Vikings, according to his Mobygames page. From there, he proceeded through an enviable roster of games including Blackthorne, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Diablo, StarCraft, all the sequels, and of course World of Warcraft. Art was his main game, but not his only talent: He also has voice acting credits on Warcraft 3 and WoW, and served as a producer on The Death and Return of Superman, Justice League: Task Force, and Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness.
He was also known for his interactions with the community: In 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Didier posted “beginners guide” videos on how to draw a pandaren, a dwarf, and an orc. He’s kept up the habit since on his ABC With Samwise YouTube channel, in which he talks about his art (and other topics) while drawing characters drawn from Blizzard’s universes.
(Image credit: Samwise Didier (Twitter))
Blizzard president Mike Ybarra paid tribute to Didier’s influence on the distinctive look of Blizzard’s games. “Thanks so much for everything you’ve done for Blizzard, Sammy!” Ybarra wrote. “Your talent helped build Blizzard’s signature art style, and I know many of our artists have learned so much from you over the years. Thanks for what you did for them, and for gamers and artists everywhere. Congrats on your retirement!”
BioWare executive producer Michael Gamble threw in a heartfelt accolade of his own: “You’re beloved in the industry. To fans and peers, alike.”
Didier left one final piece of artist advice for Blizzard in his farewell message. “Always draw big shoulder pads,” he wrote. And then, a reference to his well-known motto: “ABC, my friends.” Always be creating.