Last week, Blizzard Entertainment vice president of development Itzik Ben Bassat dropped something of a verbal bombshell. At the London launch event for the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, the executive appeared to say the next installments in two of his company's storied series might not be far off.
"We'd like to say to our fans of Diablo and Starcraft that we haven't forgotten we have these franchises," he said. "We cannot wait to be here in a few years, or however long it will be. It won't be a decade, and we'll be celebrating the launch of [the next] Starcraft together." Some took Bassat's comments as meaning that the first Starcraft game since 1998 would be out in 2008. Others thought he meant new games in the franchises would be out by 2017.
Given the success of World of Warcraft--which has 8 million subscribers and counting--and the shelving of Starcraft: Ghost, many have speculated that Blizzard is prepping a Starcraft massively multiplayer online role-playing game. However, Bassat has now hinted that Blizzard's next MMO game won't just be a clone of its current cash cow.
"When we announce our next MMORPG it's not going to be another WOW--we're not a company that tends to tread the same ground," he told British film magazine Empire. "It'll be something innovative and new that really brings entertainment to another level." American Blizzard reps delcined to expand on Bassat's comments, although the fact that the company began hiring real-time strategy developers last summer might offer a clue.
Though such comments will likely fuel the fires of speculation, Bassat had precious little grist for the rumor mill surrounding the forthcoming World of Warcraft film. "Hollywood has its own pace but we're working as hard as we can to push it forwards," he told the mag. "Bringing Warcraft to the movies is the next step for us, we want to let people bring World of Warcraft into other aspects of their lives. After all, we're competing for people's entertainment time, whether it's listening to music, watching TV, or going to the cinema."