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Chris Metzen of Blizzard Entertainment speaks during the PlayStation 4 launch event (Reuters)

Blizzard Entertainment's legendary co-creator of Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft, Chris Metzen, is retiring after 23 years with the game studio. Announced with a heartfelt post on Blizzard's forums, 42-year-old Metzen said he is stepping away from the company he has been working for since he was 20 to "slow down" and focus on his family.

"The reason I use the word 'retire' is because I'm not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that", Metzen wrote. "It's been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it's time to slow it down. Rest. Lay around on the couch and get fat. Well, fatter....

"Seriously though, I'll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They're the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really love my wife with all my strength...that's my career now."

Metzen worked on Blizzard's award-winning franchises such as Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft in various roles - even as a voice artist. He wrote that he had "the distinct privilege of shaping worlds and building games with the brightest creative minds in entertainment".

"I've walked with giants (and stood on some giants' shoulders, too), In short, I've had the time of my life." he wrote "I pretty much had the coolest job ever—but the truth is, sometimes it was really hard. Building games with dozens of brilliant, passionate alpha-geeks with their own red-hot instincts and perspectives can be pretty tricky.

"Coming to consensus about certain design decisions, story motifs, or courses of art direction takes a lot of communication, patience, and 'give and take'. It stretches you. Sometimes it wasn't all that pretty. But engaging with your teammates and collaborating through the potential quagmire of all that creative tension is where the real magic happens."

Since joining Blizzard in the early 1990s as an illustrator and animator, Metzen worked on some of the studio's earliest titles such as Justice League Task Force and Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. He also helped craft the Diablo universe back in 1996, was the lead designer of Starcraft in 1998 and has been the creative director for almost every Blizzard game since Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos in 2002 to the recently released hero-based shooter Overwatch.

Metzen even voiced several characters in various Blizzard games including the Skeleton King in Diablo, Thrall and Varian in the Warcraft series, the marines in StarCraft and Bastion in Overwatch. In the recently released Warcraft movie, he consulted with direct Duncan Jones on the film and made a cameo in it as well.

"To all of you out there in Blizzard's vast gaming community—those of you I've had the pleasure of meeting in person and all of you around the world I've only heard about—thank you," he wrote. "We've shared countless adventures together and I've always been overwhelmed and humbled by your passion for our games as well your commitment to each other... You will never know how much you've all touched my heart and inspired me to give my all into this craft."