Announced only five days before the livestream was due to be aired on 9 June, the recent development aims to display solidarity with the worldwide focus upon systematic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The livestream would have featured executive producer John Hight alongside game director Ion Hazzikostas taking an in-depth look at WoW’s eighth expansion that was announced at BlizzCon 2019.
The new expansion is set to shake up the world of Azeroth, as Shadowlands will reduce the max level cap from 120 down to 60. Those who are already at the max level will begin at level 50 to progress to the level 60 cap. The expansion also will feature five new zones set in WoW’s rendition of an afterlife.
World of Warcraft tweeted ‘More important voices than ours need to be heard, and now is the time to listen.’ This joins an increasing drive within the gaming community, such as Sony’s decision to postpone its PS5 games event, to keep the focus upon the ongoing worldwide protests.
For the past couple of weeks, gaming companies have responded to the protests that have been sparked since the murder of George Floyd. As well as offering support to Black Lives Matter and the wider movement, companies such as EA, Square Enix and Ubisoft have pledged donations to anti-racism charities. EA is taking further action, matching donations of employees to local organisations and encouraging employees to volunteer in the local community. In a blog shared by EA CEO Andrew Wilson, the company states that they ‘must also go beyond listening and talking and commit ourselves to education and driving meaningful change through actions.’
Since its announcement on Twitter, Blizzard has given no further information on its postponement. In the second part of its tweet, World of Warcraft states that they ‘will share more details about the expansion in the future.’