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HearthstoneMar 15, 2018 3:00 pm CT

Has Ben Brode been replaced by an impostor?

No. But now that we’ve answered the question, let’s talk about how we got here. The Hearthstone community on Reddit is… shall we say, passionate about the game? And slightly willing to engage in flights of fancy? Yes, we’ll say it that way, and poster zapzaya cobbled together a theory. It explains away all the inconsistencies between the mini ARG that the Hearthstone devs put on via Twitter and the fact that they all seem to be back and alive now, in defiance of the teaser video’s ending.

Now, we could just say That was a teaser video, not a documentary. Of course they’re all still alive and working on Hearthstone. But let’s hear zapzaya out.

Ben Brode had been replaced by an imposter! from hearthstone

Now, I am always down for a convoluted explanation for something that involves a conspiracy, a neural net impersonating a human being, and Dave Kosak in a rather stunning chapeau. But believe me guys, if Ben Brode had been replaced by a sophisticated artificial mind I would know about it. I mean, I replaced Jeff Kaplan with an android several years ago and none of you noticed. So I consider myself the foremost expert in replacing Blizzard employees with artificial intelligences. And even I couldn’t make a neural net that good at Brode’s unique blend of ebullience and zeal for Hearthstone.

It’s the real Brode, people. Because not even the mysterious horrors of the wilderness could prevent that man from bringing you the next expansion. But in all sincerity the Witchwood teaser is just three Hearthstone devs having fun referencing the Blair Witch movies. It’s about showing off the latest expansion with its spooky Gilnean forest vibe. You definitely don’t need to take it seriously. It’s just a fun way to preview new mechanics like Echo and Rush, as well as new cards like Genn Greymane. And above all, it’s meant to get us all hyped for a fun new chapter in Hearthstone. Brode, Thompson and Kosak are all alive, well, and not at all sophisticated computer intelligences pretending to be human.

Either that or perhaps I’ve been replaced too.

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