Spurred by Blizzard Entertainment's recent 20th anniversary milestone, Gameplanet interviews CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaine about the company's history and development philosophy.
Gameplanet: How does Blizzard decide what games to make?
Joeyray Hall; Pat Wyatt; Allen Anderson Morhaime: It's actually decided at multiple levels. We really try not to mandate to a team what game they should make. We're certainly involved in the conversation, but we feel like the team really has to be excited and passionate about the games they're making. So when we're thinking about what games to make, we'll brainstorm all sorts of ideas, and since our games do take a few years to make, we have a bunch of time to think about it.
Generally there are some ideas percolating in the company that we're already starting to think about when a team becomes available. Sometimes it's really obvious what game we should make, and sometimes it's not quite so obvious. In the case of World of Warcraft, after we shipped StarCraft Brood War, we started up a new team and they actually were working on a game very different to World of Warcraft, but they were struggling with defining the genre and the lore of their game, and about a year into it we all kind of asked ourselves if we were going to start over. Was the game they were making was what we all thought they should be making, and everybody said no, that they would make something different. We all arrived at the same conclusion, that we wanted to make a massively multiplayer game in the Warcraft universe. So it wasn't that controversial. It was just the right thing in that particular case.
Sam Didier In the case of StarCraft II, this is the same Real Time Strategy team that has developed all of our RTS games going back to Warcraft. We've certainly grown the team since, and evolved the team, but you've got some very veteran RTS developers on that team, so when that team shipped the Warcraft III expansion The Frozen Throne, StarCraft II was a game we were all very excited about, and everybody felt like we couldn't wait to make it. It had been too long, you know.