Blizzard Entertainment Interview

VG247 managed to grab the ear of Blizzard Entertainment's Frank Pearce during a London press event, and proceeded to quiz him about the company's development philosophy, the ambitious goals they have for, what's in store for the future of World of Warcraft, when we might expect Diablo III on store shelves, and more. A generous excerpt:
VG247: It seems like World of Warcraft has, in very many ways, almost defined PC gaming in the last decade. It must have taken up most of your time and most of Blizzard's time throughout the last ten years, which is why it is such a big deal that we now have this major new title coming along from Blizzard. But do you perhaps have any concerns that the success of Starcraft II might in some way cannibalise WoW?

Frank Pearce: We've made a really great game and if people want to play it, then that's great. If a great game is going to come along and cannibalise players from World of Warcraft then I'd rather they were playing a Blizzard game than someone else's game. They are still our customers, ultimately, and they are still our players.

In a lot of ways the Real ID cross-game chat functionality contemplates that, because we know that there are going to be WoW players who will start playing Starcraft II, but who also want to still stay closely connected to their community within WoW. And potentially have a strong enough connection so that they may get a message from someone in WoW saying, (Hey, come on over, we need a last person to fill our raid.) They have that flexibility and that connection.


VG247: WoW seems to have levelled off a little recently, with the number of players hovering around the 11.5 million mark for the last year or two. Do you think this is it now? Has WoW hit its peak in terms of player numbers?

Frank Pearce: No, I don't think that at all. I mean, you can look at that number and if you look at some of the details around it. In China, for example, we haven't even launched Wrath of the Lich King yet, and that expansion is already 18-plus months old. They're still playing The Burning Crusade there, because we're waiting for approval for Wrath from the appropriate agencies. And once we get that approval and launch Wrath in China then I think we will see growth.


VG247: There is talk of the new Diablo being released in 2011. Can you say more on that?

Frank Pearce: We have Diablo III currently in development, but we have made no announcements about a release window yet. That was announced in France back in June 2008. We'll ship it when it is ready, but we are not going to rush it out. We take the time to get things right.