Blizzard teaser augurs new game?

World of Warcraft developer's official Web site gated by image of shattered ice in advance of Worldwide Invitational this weekend.

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This weekend, Blizzard Entertainment will be holding the first of its two conventions for 2008, and the last as a wholly owned subsidiary of Vivendi Games. Held in Paris, France, the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008 will be the first of its kind in Europe, and offer a host of event standards, such as tournaments, cosplay contests, music, and developer panels.

What's beneath the ice?
What's beneath the ice?

More importantly, Blizzard has shown a proclivity to tease new games just before they are announced at one of the developer's main events. Leading up to the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2007 in Seoul, Korea, the Irvine, California-based developer surprised few with the official debut of Starcraft II after running a teaser campaign on its official site and Starcraft2.com.

Now, signs have appeared that Blizzard may be brewing up yet one more reveal. The developer's home page is currently gated by a teaser image depicting what appears to be shattered ice bearing a runelike marking--and not much else. Upon clicking the image, the user is then redirected to Blizzard's standard home Web site.

With Starcraft II and the next World of Warcraft expansion accounted for, Blizzard has two other properties that could blow in at the event. The first is a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which VP of development Itzik Ben Bassat said in January would not be an addendum to its current MMOG colossus, World of Warcraft.

Speculation is also rife that Blizzard is on the cusp of making public its quest to revive the infernal Dark Lord in Diablo 3. Back in 2006, Diablo novel scribe Richard A. Knaak dropped not-so-subtle hints that the third full installment in the franchise is in development. More recently, Blizzard began scooping up Diablo 3-branded fansites, namely diablo3.com. The developer, though, was quick to dismiss the acquisition as standard operating procedure to "safeguard its intellectual properties."

When contacted by GameSpot, Blizzard declined comment. "We're not telling anyone anything," a rep cheerfully said.

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