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It's a weirdly exciting time to be a Blizzard fan but not because of Blizzard itself

Sep 3, 2020
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Game studios are only as good as the people running them and we now have four studios with original Blizzard talent producing games:



Bonfire Studio: founded by legendary game designer Rob Pardo (lead on Brood War, WarCraft III and World of Warcraft (+Burning Crusade)). They've quietly been working on something for a few years now with a development team filled with Blizzard alum.

Second Dinner: Ben Brode of Hearthstone fame (co-creator) started this studio with a bunch of people from his former Hearthstone team. It was revealed last year that they are working on something within the Marvel universe.


Then of course we have the two most recent additions started by the founder of Blizzard himself, Mike Morhaime:


Moonshot Games
: a team of former Blizzard employees with lead game designer Dustin Browder (StarCraft II, HoTS, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2).

Secret Door: another team of former Blizzard employees this time led by the other co-creator of Hearthstone (before that he was the profession designer for WoW), Eric Dodds.





These are all studios that seem to have the luxury of time and money to make something special. As someone who has been a fan of their games since I was a young child, I was massively bummed out watching so many Blizzard people jumping ship over the last decade. It felt like the end of an era (and still does, though I still do enjoy some stuff Blizzard proper does) but now that there's these four studios making games without the pressure of Activision... I've actually not felt more excited to be a Blizzard fan in a long time. Silver linings and all that.
 

jigglet

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I hope they all tow the company line. China #1!
 
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The_Mike

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One thing is sure, Blizzard lost all their talented employees and it shows. It feels like after an expansion is released then either:

1. Two people are still working on it for future updates etc.
2. The expansions has so little content because everything's ready for release but is cut to release it later down the lane when updates are too barren.
 
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Al3x1s

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Try and elaborate. What makes these exciting? Premises? Concepts? Pics? Trailers? Anything at all? Why's it a weirdly exciting time *now* (vs last year, or 5 years from now) if they've been working on stuff for years without showing anything at all (and others are just starting even)?

Edit: dude, you essentially just repeated the nothing in the op in your "reply" to this, why even bother pretending like that, I'm not gonna repost and circle jerk over literally nothing, sheesh.
 
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I'll wait and see if the games these studios put out turn out to be good. A lot of the products these alums from great studios have made haven't turned out so well.
 
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Sep 3, 2020
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Try and elaborate. What makes these exciting? Premises? Concepts? Pics? Trailers? Anything at all? Why's it a weirdly exciting time *now* (vs last year, or 5 years from now) if they've been working on stuff for years without showing anything at all (and others are just starting even)?

I mean, for me, I care about the talent more than anything. I know what kind of games these people strive to make. Some of the games they made are among my favorites of all time. We're talking about the lead devs from StarCraft, Warcraft III, vanilla WoW/Burning Crusade, StarCraft II and Hearthstone. These aren't tiny studios with three people either. They have the budget and the time to produce something of a similar quality.

And why now? Because the last two studios were just recently announced in the last month. That's four major studios from some of the biggest names in this industry's history. I don't need to hear more to be excited. I trust they'll do something interesting. I care way more about the names of these devs then I do the names "Warcraft" or "Diablo" now.

It would be like if Miyamoto, Tezuka, Sakurai, Koizumi and Aonuma all left Nintendo in the 2000s and started their own studios filled with Nintendo alum. Would you really need concepts before getting excited? lol. If anything, the new and unknown is part of excitement.
 
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The_Mike

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Probably my coziest gaming memory was going to my grandparents house & playing Warcraft 2 on the PC they had upstairs with a can of Fresca in hand. These days, Blizzard doesn't even exist to me.

My guess is they went from a group of passionate friends to a million dollar business.
 
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TheContact

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Probably my coziest gaming memory was going to my grandparents house & playing Warcraft 2 on the PC they had upstairs with a can of Fresca in hand. These days, Blizzard doesn't even exist to me.

sounds like you had some pretty awesome grandparents
 
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martino

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i can't because of this
 

CAB_Life

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Try and elaborate. What makes these exciting? Premises? Concepts? Pics? Trailers? Anything at all? Why's it a weirdly exciting time *now* (vs last year, or 5 years from now) if they've been working on stuff for years without showing anything at all (and others are just starting even)?

Edit: dude, you essentially just repeated the nothing in the op in your "reply" to this, why even bother pretending like that, I'm not gonna repost and circle jerk over literally nothing, sheesh.

Yeah, I’m kinda with you on this one. I mean, as an artist you’re only as good as your last project, and none of these studios have any projects and only borrowed-pedigree behind them unless I’ve missed something. Who’s to say that they were the ones that made Blizzard what it is/ was? That’s rather presumptuous as a team is only as good as the sum of its parts and we can’t say with certainly which parts were strongest and which weren’t. Creative leads also tend to take all of the credit but are responsible for only a fraction of the implementation and execution.

Any of these studios could certainly produce a landmark game, but the jury is still out on all of them.
 

Xyphie

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"Star developers" breaking away from the corporate overlords to creating new independent studio rarely works out so I'm not holding my breath. One just need to look at the graveyard of other Blizzard Alumni studios (Flagship Studios, Ready at Dawn, Red 5, Runic Games, Carbine Studios etc).
 
Sep 3, 2020
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"Star developers" breaking away from the corporate overlords to creating new independent studio rarely works out so I'm not holding my breath. One just need to look at the graveyard of other Blizzard Alumni studios (Flagship Studios, Ready at Dawn, Red 5, Runic Games, Carbine Studios etc).

Carbine and Ready at Dawn weren't really on the level of the lead directors of Starcraft 1/2, WoW, Hearthstone, WarCraft III, etc making their own studios. They were clearly lower rung employees using the name Blizzard (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just obvious they were trying to pull clout). And Ready at Dawn is great. Lone Echo/Echo Arena is a top 5 VR game, in my opinion.

Flagship and Runic were both started by the Schaefer brothers. Runic was just without Bill Roper and David Brevik. And I would say creating Torchlight and Torchlight 2 is pretty damn good. Also, Hellgate was way ahead of its time! Destiny before Destiny!
 
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Ellery

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i can't because of this

As much as I agree with your picture and think that Blizzard went on a big decline ever since Activision bought them which has become very apparent in the design of the D3 BMAH, WoW grinds/timegating and store items, but this thread is about new studios that aren't chained to Activision but with lots of former talent that worked at Blizzard and people that made Blizzard great.

Definitely exciting times to look forward to, but it will take at least 3-4 years until we see something of substance I'd assume.
 

martino

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As much as I agree with your picture and think that Blizzard went on a big decline ever since Activision bought them which has become very apparent in the design of the D3 BMAH, WoW grinds/timegating and store items, but this thread is about new studios that aren't chained to Activision but with lots of former talent that worked at Blizzard and people that made Blizzard great.

Definitely exciting times to look forward to, but it will take at least 3-4 years until we see something of substance I'd assume.
i've should read OP until the end (oups)
i assumed those teams where still linked to activision or blizzard.
My post feel off topic now of course
More on topic i am of the ones that think the magic comes more from one collective than some key individuals.
At the same time creating conditions for this kind of environment is a talent a man can have.
We will see if it's the case of the names in op.
 
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AJUMP23

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Whatever Mike Morhaime is backing and helping with, that is what I am most interested in seeing in the future. I would like to see something like a Warcraft 3 from them.