Blizzard’s Return to Console Games
Blizzard’s return to console games is just a matter of time, of which we know for certain at least Starcraft: Ghost will make a return someday. In the verge of a new game announcement, hopefully at the next Blizzcon, things aren’t going so well for other gaming studios. J. Allen Brack recently told Gamasutra the following:
It’s very similar with World of Warcraft. We developed the game for the PC. It’s a very PC-centric control scheme and the way of playing the game is PC-centric. But we’re a company of gamers. I have two consoles at home. Sam has consoles. We’re a culture of gamers. We will definitely work on a console game at some point. I have no doubt about that. It’s just [a matter of] what game. What makes the most sense?
Should other console game studios worry to see Blizzard return to consoles? Even before Blizzard has announced anything, some studios are already shaking with their own upheavals. Electronic Arts (EA) has announced an impressive list of servers to be shut down in phases throughout different months of 2010. It is astonishing. Is the game industry so in crisis that it has to resort to shutting down server operations? Is it a way to force their players to play newer EA games’s multiplayer?
Blizzard Entertainment for example has said their classic games will continue to be supported via the classic Battle.net, while new and future games will be playable on the upgraded Battle.net 2.0. It is likely that whatever reasons EA had to shut down these many servers will cause an immediate backlash from their fans, followed by boycotts on current and future EA games. All of these affected games are Sport games.
The horde of players, now left in limbo, will have to spend their time somewhere else for their daily multiplayer fix, so 2010 will be a very good season for multiplayer games seeking more souls to harvest, specially newly orphan ones.
With this huge vaccum left behind by EA Sports, it would be interesting how many of these orphan gamers would jump aboard Blizzard games, specially when the Next-Gen MMO is announced.
The term Next-Gen MMO strongly suggests that Blizzard is working on a console game. Did Blizzard give up on console games? The answer is no. Though they postponed [not cancelled] development of Starcraft: Ghost, Rob Pardo has mentioned many times their willingness to return to the development of this game. The Swingin’ Ape Studios was purchased by Blizzard Entertainment on 2005, and checking up on the current status of the founders of Swingin’ Ape Studios will reveal that all three co-founders Steve Ranck, Mike Starich and Scott Goffman are still working for Blizzard Entertainment as Lead Software Engineers.
Now excuse me, but have you ever heard of three former console developers occupying the Lead Software Engineer position for just one single game? Unless … [bliss] all three are Lead Software Engineers of three separate console games?