Blizzard COO: Our new MMO is “cool, new, different, next generation”

By Patrick Garratt, Wednesday, 12 November 2008 16:55 GMT

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Speaking ahead of tonight’s launch of WoW expansion Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard COO Paul Sams has told VG247 that its second major MMO – already in development – is going to be a “next generation” title that sounds like a substantial departure from World of Warcraft.

“We want to create a great game,” he said. “Something that’s cool, and new, and different, and kind of next generation in terms of look and feel and gameplay. That’s a challenging endeavour.”

Sams indicated that the project is in the very early stages of development.

“We’re definitely at the beginning, in the first half of development,” said the exec, explaining that Blizzard tends to work to a two-half process when creating new games.

“When we’re building a new game from the ground up, what happens is that it’s slow going for the first bit, while the team goes round and round and round figuring out how it’s going to look and feel, what the player experience is and what the differentiators are, and then the speed at which we then bring in the contet and polish and actually get to the finish line… I think the second half of the process is always substantially faster than the first half of product development,” he said.

Sams said when we’re going to see first mention of the game.

“I don’t know yet,” he answered when asked for an announcement date.

“For us, we want to make sure that the gameplay and the experience that the players are going to have is fleshed out quite a bit.

“The last thing we want to do is say, ‘Hey we’re doing this,’ and everyone says, ‘Oh cool,’ and then we change things completely. We want to have a level of confidence that the direction we’re going in the right one, and that it’s polished enough to be able to show something, also. And we’re not in either of those places yet.”

Sams said he expected the process of getting the new MMO into the public domain would be challenging one, but growing WoW has taught the company a huge amount.

“I think we’re going to get a lot of bumps and bruises along the way,” he said.

“The good news is that we’re been able to do this with World of Warcraft, and so we have a lot of experience, so hopefully we’ve learnt a tremendous amount.

“Not to mention that before WoW launching we were the world leader in online gaming with Battle.net. We have a lot of experience, and so hopefully that’s going to benefit us as [we bring the game to market].”

Wrath of the Lich King is released at midnight tonight. Watch this space from the flagship London launch event.

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