Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blizzard's Mysterious Teaser Screen

I've been ignoring the brilliant marketing going over at the Blizzard website this week, but I'm finally giving into the pressure and joining the speculation. Rumors are always fun in the gaming business, especially when there seems to be something solid behind all the noise. We know for sure that something is being announced at the Invitational in Paris this weekend. The icy teaser image that appeared on the Blizzard website seemed to be related to Wrath of the Lich King and most people assumed the official released date was the surprise announcement. However, several MMO news sites have pointed out a recent interview where Rob Pardo hinted a new game announcement. There's still room for miscommunication, but most people are taking this to mean the icy teaser images are not for WoW's newest expansion.

I've seen all kinds of guesses that the teaser images are for Diablo 3, World of Starcraft, or even a couple of old timers saying Lost Vikings. I'm still not convinced that the teaser is for a new game despite the amount of people convinced otherwise. Blizzard still has Starcraft 2 and Wrath of the Lich King in limbo land while they are adding the secret sauce. While Starcraft 2 is supposedly very playable right now, there are reports that WotLK is still quite unfinished. Would Blizzard really want to ramp up development on yet another game by having an official announcement? We know their working on another MMO, but without any specifics it's only gotten minor interest from the Internet. Once an official announcement is made you can expect the floodgates to open with demands for more information.

The teaser image itself has three components; ice, runes, and some kind of purple monster mascot. The runes and purple monster tend to go against the World of Starcraft rumors and Lost Vikings seems like a longshot. An almost common consensus is being reached that Diablo 3 is the most likely game to be announced. While there is always a chance for an original IP that seems to be against Blizzard's modus operandi. If you remember when Starcraft 2 was announced the same thing happened. At first everyone threw out a bunch of wild ideas and then it slowly got narrowed down in the forums and blogs until most people thought it was going to be a new Starcraft game. If we follow the same trend here then we can assume it's definitely Diablo related.

The only thing I'm left wondering is if it's Diablo 3 or an actual MMO set in the same universe. There's been a ton of Diablo clones out lately and most of them didn't add much in ways of innovation for the point and click adventure genre. I wonder if a third installment of the franchise would actually be able to distinguish itself enough from games like Hellgate London and Mythos. On the other hand a Diablo MMO is still fantasy based and I'm not sure if Blizzard really wants to impinged on it's already loyal MMO fanbase. Just look at all the confusion the EverQuest player base had when EverQuest 2 came out. It's enough of an obvious problem that I don't think Blizzard is stupid enough to do it so early. This just leaves me wondering what the hell they are hinting at anyways.


Viet said...

Short of a brand new IP, I'm definitely going to say Diablo III. They been at work on this project for such a long time and a new game for the series is way overdue.

Here's hoping they don't make it an MMO.

Relmstein said...

Well I'm glad to report it is Diablo 3 and not an MMO based on the game. This means that Blizzard is still hiding whatever they are planning for their next MMO. Maybe we'll know by the next Blizzcon after they've managed to launch one or two of their current projects.

Wrath of the Lich King
Starcraft 2
Diablo 3