I was about to tweet this, but I decided to blog it instead. I really, really like the idea of game studios, who are entrenched in massive projects or well known for a particular type of game, stepping out of their comfort zone (as Chris Metzen calls it) to create even more games on the side. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a great and recent example. Blizzard is known for making amazing RTS, action-rpg, and MMO games. They’re known for taking years and years to develop a game, sometimes announcing half a decade before release. Blizzard has, in a way, gone stagnant over the years and become quite predictable.
When Hearthstone was announced, I was pleasantly surprised by the elegant simplicity. Watching the video (viewable after the break), I think Blizzard wants to think of it more as ‘epic simplicity’ where it’s nothing but simple fun. Bottom line, they’re using this really familiar, really rich property to fuel other creative ideas. A card game isn’t necessarily unique or innovative, but for Blizzard and fans of their franchises it sounds like a cool game to pick up and simply enjoy without investing so much; quite a departure from their typical games.
Of course I want to see Blizzard continue their traditional grand releases, but I would love to see them turn this into a new tradition of small team projects releasing much quicker, smaller, and epically simple titles. This direction is perfect for a fan like myself. I may be tired of World of Warcraft, but I truly love the Warcraft universe. I want to see more imagination and creativity from studios — many different studios (including Blizzard). I want to enjoy new and familiar games in entirely new ways. Everyone wins if that can be accomplished.