MMOs don't typically get sequels, but rather regular updates that introduce new content for the same initial product. While Blizzard Entertainment has employed this formula for its genre-defining and enduring MMO World of Warcraft, the studio has also considered making a full-on sequel that could live alongside the original game.
During Gamescom this week, Game Informer spoke with World of Warcraft game director Tom Chilton and asked him if Blizzard ever considered making World of Warcraft 2. "Definitely," he said. "It's something we have talked about. It's something we have talked about for ten years."
Chilton acknowledged that there would be numerous hurdles to overcome for such a project, including potentially fragmenting the game's massive player base. "I think that there are a lot of challenges there in seeing how World of Warcraft 2 relates to World of Warcraft; do they live alongside each other, does one feed into the other, what is that product, etc. These are challenges that have to be figured out before that becomes a reality."
Would it be feasible for Blizzard to work on two major MMOs at once? It seems like a tall task, and even more challenging when you consider that in a previous interview with DigitalSpy, the studio explained that it wants to release World of Warcraft expansions on a yearly basis, which would conceivably require a significant investment of resources. The company is indeed actively hiring for announced games/projects, but it remains to be seen what these are.
World of Warcraft originally went on sale in November 2004, meaning the game celebrates its tenth birthday later this year. Though subscriber figures have fallen from a high of 12 million in 2010, Blizzard's most recent count of 6.8 million people playing $15/month is still the highest of any subscription-based MMO out there.
The developer experimented with another MMO, codenamed Titan, but announced last year that this World of Warcraft follow-up was undergoing "large design and technology changes," suggesting Blizzard had gone back to the drawing board.
Blizzard has released four main expansions for World of Warcraft to date, and a fifth--Warlords of Draenor--launches later this year. Among other things, Warlords of Draenor comes with updated character models for the game's either original races (along with the Draenei and Blood Elves), which should no doubt give the game a more modern look.