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Mike Morhaime on Blizzard's Past - Project Cuts, Titan, RMAH, Diablo Immortal
28/06/2019 à 12:54
Former Blizzard president Mike Morhaime recently hosted an interview during Gamelab in Barcelona, Spain to talk more about what was next for him and insights on his past endeavors. News site
attended the event and covered the interview in detail.
Click here to read the full interview
During the interview, Morhaime confirmed the statistic that has been shared last year, that around 50% of Blizzard's projects don't ever see the light of day.
I've gone back every few years and checked the math on that, and it's pretty consistent ... It's like half the titles we work on never make it.
Morhaime mentioned as well that the reasons behind every cut are different, from not large enough markets to too high costs, but ultimately, it all comes down to preserving Blizzard's brand as the maker of games ranked at the highest quality.
There's a saying that 'perfect is the enemy of great', because if you strive for perfection, you'll never ship.
Morhaime revealed more about the infamous cancelation of Project Titan, which led to the bases of Overwatch. Titan was supposed to be Blizzard's big follow-up to World of Warcraft. It was intended to be a revolutionary new MMO, but, in the end, it failed.
We failed to control the scope. It was very ambitious. It was a brand new universe, and it was going to be the next generation MMO that did all sorts of different things, it had different modes. We were sort of building two games in parallel, and it really struggled to come together.
Blizzard failed to deliver the engine to a state that it would attend all the ideas the team had for the game, which led to parts of the staff having to wait until certain parts of the engine weren't ready. It was then that Morhaime and other executives decided to re-evaluate Titan, which was how Overwatch came to fruition.
The pitch was basically an evolution of a sort of Team Fortress-style game in a superhero universe. It was going to leverage some of our best technology from Titan and World of Warcraft. We were going to take some characters and worlds from the Titan universe design.
We thought we could make a really compelling game with much tighter scope control. And I think it was probably one of the best decisions that we made. We took something that wasn't going to ship for a very long time, might never have shipped, and turned it into an awesome game.
Diablo III's Real Money Auction House
The idea behind Diablo III's RMAH was to regulate and officialize item trading, as it was a common practice in Diablo II.
People are going to do this anyway - why don't we provide them a safe and secure way to trade items? But the problem was that we didn't design the loot model with that in mind. We designed it without an auction house initially, and when you have an auction house in a game that's dropping tonnes and tons of loot, it's way cheaper and easier to get second-hand items from the auction house.
The Auction House in Diablo III destroyed the reward loop for the game, giving players willing to spend large amounts of money an unfair advantage. Morhaime says that if they could go back in time and remove the Auction House from the project, they would.
The Diablo Immortal fiasco from BlizzCon 2018 probably won't be forgotten anytime soon. The announcement created confusion as to whether a full-fledged Diablo PC title was under development or not, leading to a hellish response to the mobile title.
It's sort of like when you have a group that's really passionate about a franchise like Diablo, really excited about a project that hasn't been announced - Blizzard tried to manage expectations that they weren't going to announce Diablo 4 at Blizzcon, but I'm not sure that got through.
Most of the audience did not get that memo. Maybe there should have been more discussion around: Blizzard is not abandoning the PC.
Future for Morhaime
When asked about his future endeavors, Morhaime mentioned that there are plans in motion, as we covered
earlier this week
, but it didn't get any further than that.
Right now the thought process is making a list of the ideas we come up , my wife Amy and I. We've been talking to a lot of people who are doing interesting things. we were always very focused on executing stuff, so I don't know if we had the luxury of being in an open, unconstrained space.
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