Mists of Pandaria comic, novella en route

BlizzCon 2011: Blizzard Publishing division confirms World of Warcraft expansion-based stories are in development; Warcraft, Starcraft universe compendiums possible.

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ANAHEIM, Calif.--Blizzard Entertainment has scant few peers in the gaming industry that build reaching and branching universes for players to lose themselves in. The company has long since abandoned delivering those stories through games alone, and during an afternoon session at BlizzCon 2011, Blizzard took some time to address what's happening in its all-things-not-gaming division.

Pandaria's history won't be enshrouded by mist for much longer.
Pandaria's history won't be enshrouded by mist for much longer.

The panel, which was led by Blizzard's senior VP of creative development Chris Metzen, counted among it novelists from the franchise, as well as editors and historians working at the company. Metzen began the panel by stating that novels, comics, and manga are important to the company, but at the end of the day, print isn't doing well. But still, while Blizzard is investigating alternative media types--including animation and motion comics--it intends to continue releasing books and comics.

Beyond those opening remarks, the panel offered little by way of news or announcements. However, Metzen did tease that Blizzard is considering doing lore compendiums for the Warcraft and Starcraft universes in a vein similar to what the Book of Cain is doing for Diablo. That release, which had been previously announced, seeks to codify and clean up the history of the Diablo franchise, as told by Deckard Cain. As such, the Book of Cain is an illustrated look at the history of the Diablo universe, and it also continues journal entries and other entries from his perspective.

And as could be expected following this morning's announcement of Mists of Pandaria for World of Warcraft, the publishing team will be releasing print stories to accompany this expansion. Pearl of Pandaria is a new hardcover graphic novel that will be published by DC Comics. The story takes place prior to Cataclysm and has been written by Micky Neilson, with the art being handled by Sean "Cheeks" Galloway. A novella, Quest for Pandaria, will also be coming out in four installments.

For more from BlizzCon 2011, check out GameSpot's ongoing coverage.

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