Blizzard’s next five years

The alleged leak

Something rather topical and worth posting about today is the supposed leaked internal slide showing Blizzard’s plans for the next five years.  Is it real or fake?  I think it’s fake simply because of how it looks.  Maybe it’s just me, but I think the title is the dead giveaway.  Something about it doesn’t quite fit with what I would expect their “product slate” to look like and the title, especially the company name, would be different.  I’m also not feeling the whole “here’s our products guys” vibe — even internally, who would have access and leak this and why would it be presented in such a way?

If we assume it’s real, that means WoW will get two more expansion packs… I thought I read that there wouldn’t be more?  Maybe I’m imagining things.  I felt weirded out by seeing that Diablo 3 had planned expansion packs when the game is so far from release anyway.  I’m also reminded of StarCraft 2’s expansions and a little something I forgot all about: The Map market (and what’s this 3rd party thing?).

Most interesting of all is the alleged MMOFPS titled (codenamed?) Titan.  It was my guess all along that Blizzard would take their ability to conquer entire video game genres and not only take over MMOFPS for the rest of all time but actually make the first truly successful one that would launch a plethora of off-shoots and copy cats.  Planetside can be heralded as the first with moderate success and definitely deserves the accolades, but it will be forgotten entirely if Blizzard pulls off a hit — and they will.  If it’s merely a codename then it’s not worth thinking about, but if it is a real title for the game then I’m thinking something Halo-esque or maybe even Gears of War’ish.  I’ll go ahead and lock in with that setting.

Even if this is all legit, the dates don’t matter.  Add three years to just about everything and you’ll be close to the real date.  It is, after all, Blizzard.  This entire thing is one big oxymoron.

  • i have seen this floating around the interweb and have thought alot of the same things keen. but i dissagree that WOW will not be getting a new expac that to me makes sense i dont bealive that Blizzard will not let this cash cow go to waste.

  • Oh I agree that they’ll make more. I just remember reading somewhere that they were scaling back. It makes sense to milk it on auto pilot.

  • It seems possible, but frankly, any legitimacy it has is from a Sc2 and cata releases, and those are known at this point. 4th Q 2011 for D3 is hardly a controversial date at this point. The rest could be completely made up and still seem reasonable.

    In the end though, I’ll buy everything on that list besides the WoW stuff (not really WoW hating, I’m just not really into MMORPGs too much anymore). They could come out in 8 years and I’d still be first in line….what can I say.

  • Having worked in an office/project driven environment for about 16 years now I can firmly say that I’ve seen enough of these Project plans/powerpoint slides to make my eyes cross. I think it’s best not to take this slide to literally. It’s a business “wish list”.

    Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

    1) As has been stated by you and Boubille (where I saw this first mentioned) any date/title listed here is highly subject to change. I think anyone who’s been around Blizzard for more than 1 release knows that they will move a date at the drop of a hate and drop a title in development if they don’t like the way it’s turning out. This doesn’t mean that they, as a business, don’t have a plan prior to changes/modifications for releasing said product.

    2) You may only see 2 wow x-packs there because that may be all the farther out they’ve planned for it. Each expansion changes the game and story a fair amount (cata probably moreso than any expansion to date) and it may be that that is all the farther out. As a rule most companies will churn out x-packs as long as they’re still making a profit on it (Ultima online and EQ being prime examples of this)

    3)It doesn’t surprise me that they’ve already plotted out x-packs for D3. I mean I would assume they already have a story laid out for the core game and/or maybe it was too much story for just one game and, like Starcraft, they need extra space to tell the full story. In addition to this what company doesn’t want/plan for expansion packs/DLC to capitalize on momentum of a IP?

    Titan was already leaked and FPS was generally agreed where they’d move. Given that it was a completely new IP from all their other properties and figuring that they’d try to move into a (relatively) untapped market FPS was almost a given. Survival/Horror I’d say is a decent guess as well although I wouldn’t rule out Sci-fi it just seems more “done” than S/H. but it’s not like I have inside knowledge just hunches.

    All in all I’d say this is a likely legit artifact. I would just caution everyone not to get too spun up about it. Blizzard more than ANY other game company on the market could end up doing a 180 from this chart.

  • Agreed with Askander. If its for real it’s nothng to get excited about because all those dates exist in a world more fantastical than WoW.
    HOWEVER considering the WoW movie is in development hell right now……. I think its a fake. The acid test is whether that “Starcraft Phoenix” is actually a product because if it is it hasn’t been announced anywhere I’ve been aware of.

  • I absolutely think it’s a fake. It looks so cheap and tacky plus there is no way to verify it so what’s to stop anyone from just making it up?

    Besides, as you point out, release date schedules mean nothing.

  • Have you ever worked for a large, corporate entity? This could be some underling’s slide about the possible future from a bad Powerpoint deck he/she was going to deliver to a team within Blizzard. The look of it, the dates, the wording … I see similar things like this at my company all the time.

    Someone in Department X is presenting about Item Y and they have a little bit of info. They make a few calls to get some info about it to fill out their deck and they put together slides. Bad slides. This could be for some manager trying to secure budget for headcount … or for money to hire contractors. This shows the proposed work on the horizon and solidifies their case to get bodies.

    Or … it’s a fake. Either way does it matter? Blizzard takes their sweet old time with everything.

    After taking all the time to redo the WOW world … I can’t imagine Cataclysm will be it. Why go through all that without ever planning to add another expansion that the millions of fans will open their wallets for?

  • @Krosuss: Indeed it could be from am underling, which is what I’m getting at by saying it does not look official or like anything management would have put together. It wouldn’t make sense for them to even need to put this together.

    @Howdy Doody: Heh, I like the chart.

  • Quote: “saying it does not look official or like anything management would have put together. It wouldn’t make sense for them to even need to put this together.”

    @Keen: Actually it does make a ton of sense. The further you get away from the trench workers the more high level view people want to see. This (looks almost like a project printout but not quite) looks exactly like a status sheet that shows many moving targets all on one sheet. It’s the sort of thing I have drawn up in the past at my job to keep track of where everything currently is deadline wise.

    I would agree that this doesn’t look like anything “presentation worthy” but then again we’re not seeing it in context either. Maybe this was an embed as part of a monthly project report from Blizz to activision or maybe it’s just something a mid level manager had tacked to his wall. Without more knowledge it doesn’t mean much and honestly, as my first post was inferring is that there isn’t much here that’s really any surprise. Titan was already known about, x-packs are expected. Dates are really the only thing that’s truly new here and even those follow a bit of logic.

    I’m not saying that I believe this is real but it doesn’t really seem all that unlikely either. Heck if I was to fake something like this, it probably would look REALLY similar.

  • @Silver: Won’t happen. Titan is the title that was supposedly named to be their new mystery MMO. Something of which they’ve already stated isn’t based off any existing IP. Which means Starcraft/Warcraft so forth are already off the table.

  • I say it’s real precisely because it looks like the sort of insipid, finger in the air nonsense I see at work all the time.

  • We’ll have to see. As pointed out above, StarCraft Phoenix is the real test. If that’s legit then this is probably legit. I still see no reason for this slide to be created by anyone at Blizzard in such a way that it finds itself on the internet like this, but I won’t say it’s impossible; just that I think it is more unlikely given how frivolous this whole thing is based upon how much of it is already known.

    There is, of course, the tinfoil hat conspiracy theory that it was leaked on purpose just to get us talking.

    Question: Since when have we known about Titan? Do you simply mean the fact that they’re making another MMO or the name? I had no idea it was called “Titan” nor did I have any idea that prior to this it was a “MMOFPS”. I just knew there was a MMO coming down the pipes.

  • WoW will continue to churn out Expansions every 2 years becasue it brings in to much money. I also think Titan will be a real MMO RTS or MMO FPS, no way will they split their playerbase by making another MMO RPG, it will be a new genre for sure.

    Diablo 3 will be out by christmas 2011 and then you will have expansions for SC and Diablo coming soon. So i believe msot of these numbers and dates, although they would be subject to change.

  • Well let’s try this: What Software product produces charts like this? If it’s MS Project or Excel, it’s probably a fake.

  • also, why would marketing muppets choose to deliver a new MMO in the same period as an Xpac for another MMO? That’s product cannibalization.

    If real, it’s not a Developer schedule, it’s a marketing schedule.

  • Quote @Keen: “Question: Since when have we known about Titan? Do you simply mean the fact that they’re making another MMO or the name? I had no idea it was called “Titan” nor did I have any idea that prior to this it was a “MMOFPS”. I just knew there was a MMO coming down the pipes.”

    I’d heard it a while back, can’t remember where specifically but a quick Google search popped this up:

    (Dated 8-13): http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1034480398

    and

    (Dated 10-6): http://www.diablofans.com/topic/22167-blizzcon-2010-schedule-1022-1023/page__st__20

    (Hope those links turn out)

    As for whether it was leaked on purpose or not? I’d buy it. Wouldn’t be the first time (or the last) that a company did that.

  • I don’t think an internal document is going to have ‘Blizzard Product Slate’ and I don’t think they’d have X1, X2, X3, more likely they’d have code names for their projects.

  • SC2 Phoenix, maybe a console game based on SC IP?

    More importantly, is the bnet 3rd party launch for real? Activision, imo, envisions bnet as their future distribution platform. Obviously it is there current one with cata being able to be purchased directly from bnet. Most people could agreed that eventually they want to start monetizing customer sc2 maps. Bnet 3rd party to mean would mean almost a steam like environment. Makes alot of sense.

    That being said, anyone could create this but could be real.

  • @JJ Robinson: When bnet first rolled out that’s what I thought it was going to be. I had a hard time really grasping that it was only for blizzard games after reality set in. Given Steam’s success it would make sense for them to try and expand into another market (especially if they’re influenced at all by activision thinking). I just wonder if there’s space for another Steam/D2D.

  • StarCraft: Pheonix is a code name for a remake of StarCraft 1 if I had any say in it. StarCraft 2 can already convert legacy maps and people have been wanting the SC1 units that were left out of SC2’s map maker.

    Not only would it be the first thing they sell on the market place as an example of what they want people to make but the word pheonix brings images of rebirth to mind.

  • If it’s fake or not doesn’t matter to me. I could have more or less guessed those dates. The innaccurate parts would be Q4 2011 and Q4 2013. Blizzard isn’t going to release 2 games with in 3 months of each other if they can at all help it. Especially a NEW MMO versus WoW.

    WoW will keep getting expansions as long as it has enough players to demand it. I think that is why it ends at Titan. They are going to make the call after their new MMO launches on if they should continue to support WoW or just move all their assets to Titan.

    Titan will be a MMOFPS with a major focus on social gaming.

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