Iconic toymaker Lego will be pausing the release of an Overwatch 2 set, previously projected to release on Feb. 2, to review its partnership with Activision Blizzard Entertainment amid ongoing lawsuits and scandals that have plagued the game developer.
A statement from Lego, posted by The Brick Fan, says the company has “concerns about the progress” being made by Activision Blizzard in relation to fair treatment of female employees and the development of a more diverse environment.
“We are currently reviewing our partnership with Activision Blizzard, given concerns about the progress being made to address continuing allegations regarding workplace culture, especially the treatment of female colleagues and creating a diverse and inclusive environment,” the company said.
The state of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard last July and published the results of a two-year investigation that alleged widespread discriminatory practices, from unequal pay to overt sexism and a “frat boy culture.” Additional lawsuits were filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which settled with Activision Blizzard for $18 million. Appeals from the DFEH, which wants to intervene in the EEOC settlement, are ongoing.
Lego’s comments about a lack of progress likely refer to the continuing leadership of CEO Bobby Kotick, who was at the center of a damning report by the Wall Street Journal in November that implicated him as a key part of Activision Blizzard’s toxic culture. Despite numerous walkouts and petitions from employees, he remains in his position.
The Overwatch 2 Titan set, which included figures of Tracer and Mei fighting a Titan omnic, was slated for a Feb. 2, 2022 release. This scene came directly from the Overwatch 2 cinematic, “Zero Hour,” which was shown at BlizzCon 2019. Though Overwatch’s long-anticipated sequel has dealt with ongoing delays, the release of a concrete item was good news for fans.
Activision Blizzard and Lego have had a long partnership, releasing several sets based on Overwatch maps in the past. Lego figures of various Blizzard characters have been prominently featured at BlizzCons and Bastion, a damage-dealer in Overwatch, even has a skin based on Lego bricks.
This delay, however, is just the latest in a long line of consequences that Activision Blizzard has faced in the aftermath of its lawsuits. Fellow developers, like Sony and Nintendo, have called out the company’s handling of allegations and multiple sponsors paused or ended their partnerships with the Overwatch League late last year in the wake of the lawsuits.