Rumor: My Thoughts on the Next Gen MMO

What does Next-Gen MMO means? Anyone knows? I have looked online and there doesn’t seem to be a formal definition of what it entails. The only way I can learn what a Next-Gen MMO entails is comparing it with other games out there in development that use the same term. For example, Square Enix is working on a Next-Gen MMO.  Final Fantasy XI team confirmed development on a new MMORPG for consoles and Windows Vista.  This has been the self-definition I had thought all this time it could mean.

Knowing the bits I know of, my gut tells me the Next-Gen MMO might be StarCraft Ghost Online on PC/Consoles.  Starcraft: Ghost was postponed, not cancelled—at a juncture where PS2 and XBox were to be displaced by PS3 and Xbox 360.

Microsoft unveiled XNA on March 14, 2006.  A week later, on March 22, Blizzard announced development on StarCraft: Ghost had been postponed indefinitely.

Blizzard Quote:
Blizzard Entertainment(R) Focuses Console-Development Plans on Next-Gen Platforms IRVINE, Calif.—March 24, 2006

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. today announced plans to focus the company’s console-development efforts on the next generation of console platforms. As part of this shift in focus, Blizzard(R) will indefinitely postpone production on StarCraft: Ghost(TM) while evaluating opportunities for utilizing the additional power of the new and upcoming console systems.

“Like many in the industry, we’ve been impressed with the potential of the new consoles, and we’re looking forward to exploring that potential further,” stated Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “In addition to allowing us to determine the best course for StarCraft: Ghost, this review period will help us lay the groundwork for our future console games.”

In the months ahead, Blizzard will further evaluate the next-gen console technology and determine the best plan of action for offering a StarCraft(R) console-gaming experience that meets the company’s expectations and those of its players. Further specifics on plans for StarCraft: Ghost and Blizzard’s future console games, as well as platform and release information, will be revealed at a later date.

On June 28, 2007—Rob Pardo said he hoped one day to return to Starcraft: Ghost.

On August 27, 2007—Rob Pardo hinted StarCraft: Ghost was not dead during an interview with

On September 6, 2007—At the AGDC 2007, Mike Morhaime explains why StarCraft: Ghost was postponed.

On February 7, 2008, at the 2008 D.I.C.E., Blizzard presented a list of games the developers tackled and ultimately got cancelled.  Games we didn’t even find out existed or were in development at the time.  StarCraft: Ghost however eluded the list and was not present in the list of cancelled games.

Could it be StarCraft: Ghost is the Next-Gen MMO? Surely things look to be that way.

StarCraft Ghost: Academy (Tokyopop) and StarCraft Ghost: Spectres (Pocket Books) are scheduled for release on 2010.  Leord told me yesterday that during his visit at the Blizzard Entertainment’s Headquarter last week it was said by a developer that Michael Liberty and Nova would be part of the StarCraft II single player.

It’s amazing how the manga and the books are so intertwined lorewise with the game and even between each of the printed format books.  Just a few days ago, the Tokyopop editor revealed that the Dominion Senator’s telepath child from StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 3 War-Torn will also be a cast member in the StarCraft Ghost: Academy (Tokyopop).

I might be wrong all over again, but when I have a hunch, I go for it.  A few years back, on March 19, 2005, I reported Dustin Browder had joined Blizzard Entertainment, and I posted my hunch … that Dustin had been hired to work on StarCraft II. Dustin was hired on March 14, 2005.

I also had the hunch Diablo III would be announced at the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals.  I’m not infallible, but my gut tells me StarCraft Ghost might be the Next-Gen MMO. And if true, it might be announced at 2009 BlizzCon.  Hold your tomatoes until then, in case I phail miserably.

Note: I keep scratching my head at a comment from someone (I will keep anonymous) who told me a few months ago, with an interesting remark, the following: “2010 is the year of the Ghost”.

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