Massive Attack: Blizzard's Next-Gen MMO Rumour Roundup

Not this

In many ways, Blizzard are responsible for MMO’s being what they are today. Their first – and to date only – MMO, the infamous World of Warcraft, redefined the way online games are played, and changed people’s understanding of what a massively online game could really mean. Speculation has been running wild for years about what Blizzard’s next MMO property would be, with “World of StarCraft” and “World of DiabloCraft” being popular choices, but Blizzard have always remained tight lipped. That is, until this year’s BlizzCon. Rob Pardo, Blizzard’s Executive Vice President of Game Design, confirmed that we shouldn’t expect to see any public announcement until at least 2012.

We’ve known for a while that Blizzard have been actively developing their title, with a rumoured fifty-man team beavering away behind the scenes. This however, is the first time that Blizzard have even committed themselves to the slightest detail, which means it’s once again time to fire up the Rumourmatic 9000 and take a look at what other things we can scavenge from the derelict shores of the Internet. No such investigation would be complete without discussion of Rob’s interview with EDGE last month, during which he mused on the potential offered by teaming up with Bungie, who recently signed onto a ten year deal with Activision-Blizzard.

As part of this deal, Bobby Kotick mentioned that part of the reason for Bungie’s signing up was the huge customer service experience of Blizzard, which many people immediately intepreted as “Bungie and Blizzard are making an MMO together!”. Rob poured cold water on that rather quickly, though he did leave open the possiblity of maybe sharing a beer with Bungie in the future and having a bit of a chat. So that leave us back at square one – what exactly could this mystery game be about?

French gaming site NoFrag reported that (translation here) an inside source had confirmed this next, mystery game would feature first-person action in a all-new science-fiction universe. They went on to explain that the game would be split into two sections: the FPS section and a social section, where players could communicate, trade, make friends and so on, before returning to the FPS section to, presumably, kill each other. There has been no confirmation of the idea of a sci-fi setting, unless you consider a job listing where Blizzard ask for an artist experienced with “sci-fi and fantasy character armor and weapons” to be confirmation – and a lot of people are.

Or… this either.

Given that Blizzard are just about to drop Cataclysm for World of Warcraft,StarCraft II just came out, and Diablo III isn’t far away, the idea of a game set in an entirely new universe makes a lot of sense, although it may disappoint those people hoping for a World of StarCraft. Long time Blizzard fans may also be pleased, or possibly saddened, to note that Blizzard are (at least according toWoW director Jeffrey Kaplan) musing on the possibility of taking their new baby onto the consoles, rather than keeping true to Blizzard’s PC-only policy. Mind you, he also answered with “all of them!” when asked whether the new game would be sci-fi, near-future, post-apocalyptic or historical, so there’s a very good chance that Jeffrey could just be pulling our legs. Whatever it is, you can always be sure of two things. One: we’ll keep you informed of every ridiculously inane rumour, no matter how small, and two: it’s probably going to make a killing. Stay tuned.

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