Blizzard’s World of Warcraft has been astonishingly successful for the studio, becoming one of the most-played PC games around and providing steady revenue for Activision Blizzard. Its most recent expansion, Cataclysm, has shattered sales records and analysts expect the game to dominate for decades. Blizzard hasn’t achieved this degree of success by being content with the status quo, however, and in recent months the studio has danced around the idea of what it has in mind for its next MMO.
Back in November, a document leaked online that purportedly showed Blizzard’s release schedule for the coming years. One item was particularly interesting. Code-named Project Titan, the MMO showed an apparent release window of late 2013. While the document itself may or may not have been legitimate, Blizzard’s vice president confirmed that the project was indeed in development, though he declined to offer any additional details. Blizzard’s chief operating officer is now talking about the studio’s next MMO plans, and while he’s about as vague as you can possibly be, his comments are still interesting.
Speaking with VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi, Paul Sams says that the next project is a natural evolution for the company. As he points out, World of Warcraft has been around for more than seven years now, and game design and technology has obviously progressed since that period.
“We really try to learn from what we’ve done in the past,” Sams says. “When you architect the game, you architect it with the vision that exists at that time. We’ve got some vision for what is coming and how gaming has evolved. Some of the new things that maybe we would want to do, we can’t do as elegantly because of the way we’ve architected the old game. It’s easier if we are starting fresh. So that being said, we are doing that sort of thing and it’s also not the same game.”
Sams says that the game isn’t being seen as a replacement for World of Warcraft, but, as he calls it, a complementary experience. “There are over 12 million global paying subscribers that are active in our game. We are not going to turn our back on them and we intend to continue to support that franchise for many many years to come. As to our new unannounced game, we believe that it will be more complementary than competitive. And while people do have a limited amount of free time that they can devote to these types of games, we do think that people will want to check out the new and the old. We think the new one is very compelling and is going to capture a lot of hearts and minds and will be very successful for us. But we also believe that many people will continue playing World of Warcraft because they have such a huge collection of friends and community. We have taken some of our most experienced developers and put them on this project. We believe we have a dream team. These are the people who made WoW a success. We are going to blow people’s minds.”
Blizzard has certainly demonstrated the ability to blow sales records. We’ll obviously have to wait at least a few years to see if they can do the same to fans’ minds.
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