Amy and Mike Morhaime take questions about their new venture, Dreamhaven

Listening to former Blizzard executives now at Dreamhaven, it often feels less like “putting the band back together” and more like a family reunion.

On Friday, Sept. 18, Amy and Mike Morhaime, who have been married since 2010, discussed their past at Blizzard and their plans for their new company, Dreamhaven. Before joining Blizzard in 2008, Amy Morhaime was a game publishing and development executive at Vivendi Games. Here follow lightly-edited excerpts from the conversation.

What’s the most important part of Dreamhaven for you?

Amy: First of all, Mike and I love to work together. So that’s one thing. But all the people that came together for this, we’ve worked with for such a long time and they’re more than just coworkers. They are family, just like all of our employees really were at Blizzard. They were like family. And we spend our days working on really awesome challenges together. And then after work, we leave and want to spend our evenings eating together and then playing games together. And on the weekends we go spend time with each other’s families. And then when we have a moment to take a vacation, we actually will take vacations together, assuming there’s no…

Mike: … Sort of deadly pandemic or anything.

Amy: And then just the opportunity to try to figure out this time how we can extend our reach and our values and really help make the game industry and the world be a better place. It’s a privilege to be able to help lift up the rest of the industry and folks that might not have what we do. That feels very empowering and inspiring and we all want to do that. So that’s cool too.

So why are video games important? Why are video games a force for good?

Mike: I think for their ability to bring people together…

Amy: … Across all walks of life, right? It’s across all languages, all socioeconomic levels, all countries — it really doesn’t matter where you’re from. We can all join a raid and have the same goal and accomplish that together. And it’s across all ages, right? You’re playing with 13-year-olds to 50-year-olds. And we can all do that together. Imagine if we could do that in real life. Imagine what we would be able to do if we could connect people across all these different categories. You know, it’s hard to imagine these days now in the U.S. when you see how divided everything is, but imagine if we could all do that — instead of working towards killing a raid boss, we’re solving something even deeper for society. But I think Dreamhaven is a step in the right direction.

Amy, considering your history with esports at Blizzard, how relevant is the esports scene to the games you’re working on at Dreamhaven?

Amy: I think it’s probably a little bit too early to talk in detail about that, but one of the things that we love is multiplayer games. Having a community and having a strong player base and having that connection between game developer and content and the community is super important for all of us, especially for me. I’m very passionate about how we connect with our community and the amazing things the community can do. But we’ve got to see what our games are really going to be before we figure out how they’ll fit into that scene.

And Amy, the correct way to describe your role within Dreamhaven is how?

Amy: Well we don’t have titles right now but I basically oversee most of the operations. I spend a lot of time focusing on how we build culture at the company. Diversity, as you know, is very important to me. So how do we do that early on? How do we create an inclusive environment? We get to start from scratch with all the key learnings that we have, so I spend time thinking about that and also basic setup stuff around HR and finance and those types of things that we don’t want to burden our developers with.

When you talk about diversity and inclusion, there are the obvious axes of gender and ethnic and racial and socioeconomic and cultural background. But also, one of your huge strengths is that almost everybody at this company knew each other and worked together for many years before joining Dreamhaven and you have a strong culture and trust and shared values. That’s great, but you’re also going to have the challenge of integrating outside people that haven’t been a part of that.

Amy: That’s why you have to do it early on, you know? That’s why this announcement is so important. We really don’t have anything to announce other than we’re doing something, right? But I guess it’s a big deal because everyone wants to know what Mike is doing. But this announcement is really about getting out there and now telling people: ‘Hey, this is what we’re all about. And if you have these same values, come join us.’ And that’s a little bit harder to do when we’re all in stealth mode and just able to navigate within our networks. It already feels a little bit late because we’ve all been working together. It would be ideal if we had had some additional folks in at this stage.

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