A little while ago, Blizzard announced that they would be announcing their next game on May 19th. For the last few days, their home page has been a running timeline of their previous big titles (no Lost Vikings, however :P).
Speculation has been rampant, and largely baseless. So… I figure it’s time to write down my own unfounded guesses, before the announcement actually arrives.
There are a few things that they could announce. Two things that I am pretty confident they will not, however, be announcing are 1) another MMO (ie, no World of Starcraft) or 2) Starcraft Ghost. Of course, I could be wrong… but in the first case, I doubt they have neither the personnel to support a second MMO nor the desire to detract customers away from WoW. And in the second, I believe them when they said that Ghost was on indefinite hold.
This leaves us with a few more probable possibilities.
something completely different
I strongly doubt that they will launch a completely new franchise here. Firstly, Blizzard really does have a good thing going with Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. Anything else is… you might say wasted effort. They already have strong mythologies to build upon. Second, their home page is doing a countdown of these franchises. That feels more like they’re building up to a sequel than to something entirely new.
This is probably the least likely option from among the real possibilities. Warcraft 3 was not terribly long ago and they’re busy telling the story of Azeroth through WoW. Their ability to do another Warcraft RTS – at least one with any meaningful plot – is severely compromised by the existence of the MMO. Regular story updates through WoW make WC4 a… most tricksy proposition.
While it’s probably not going to happen, I really like the idea of a new Diablo. It has the potential to be developed in direct competition with Guild Wars and Dungeon Runners. And while I enjoyed Guild Wars (and am very hopeful to see what they’re going to do with GW2), and have an old friend on the DR team… I would probably enjoy Diablo 3 more than either of them. Diablo would have better solo play than GW and would look better than DR.
And as with any other Blizzard title, It would also be very likely that the game would be released with OSX capability… and would be very easily configured to run under Wine/Cedega.
There’s also just something about the idea of seeing another good graphical roguelike by the people who did the original good graphical roguelike that makes me wish it were going to happen. Diablo3.com is owned by a group of fans with a petition for a new game. I doubt they’d be reluctant to sell the domain over when the time comes.
And it is my opinion that the most likely candidate is a new Starcraft RTS. SC has been a… well, phenomenon doesn’t do it justice. The title has been obscenely successful. It is 8 years old and can be acquired for $10 in the bargain software bin of your local Walmart. Yet, people still play it. They still play Starcraft tournaments. I, myself, played it as recently as this past spring break.
The title has been long overdue a sequel, especially given their inability to bring Ghost to market. Blizzard has specified their every intention to write a sequel… they’ve just never been more specific than that.
The one thing I fear with SC2 is that it will be more like WC3 than SC or WC2. I can only hope that Blizzard realizes this… and makes SC2 a true sequel, not a completely different game that just happens to share a common setting.
Looks like I was right. SC2 it is. And it looks like everything I hoped it would be. Ureshii ^_^
Not that the prediction required any magical clairvoyant muscles, mind… but yeah 😉