This year at GDC Blizzard dropped some more hints that indeed a Starcraft MMO could be on the way. At the “Future of MMOs” talk, President of Blizzard, Rob Pardo, had this to say when asked “Can sci-fi be as successful as fantasy in the MMO space?”
Provided by WanderingGoblin.com
Kim stated that IPs that are easy to identify, like Star Trek or Star Wars, make this problem disappear. Players know what to expect in a Star Wars universe, and it could be successful. Looking sidelong at Rob Pardo, he indicated that a Starcraft MMO, for example, would be immediately understood by players and, “I’d probably play that instead of WoW.” (both the panelists and the audience laughed at this exchange.)
Rob Pardo had a tinge of palpable disdain for the question. He reminded everyone that in the 1970s, people thought sci-fi couldn’t be successful on TV or in the movies. “Then a little film called Star Wars came along and it revolutionized everything.” According to Pardo, a big, successful sci-fi MMO simply hasn’t been seen yet. You just have to have the right product, and it could easily be just as succesful as WoW.
I have to be frank in saying that three WanderingGoblin.com staffers attended this panel discussion, and Pardo’s comments had the three of us raising our eyebrows and looking sidelong at one another. It wasn’t simply the answer he gave, one that was very strongly in support of the idea of a big sci-fi MMO. It was the tone he took when answering it. While we can’t say that Pardo was intending to drop a hint about Blizzard’s unannounced, in-the-works MMO, it is obvious that Blizzard thinks that a sci-fi MMO like Starcraft could be a big success.
With World of Warcraft showing its age, Blizzard knows that if they want to continue being kings of the MMORPG world they will need to branch out. Doing a Diablo MMO might make more sense in the fact that Diablo is already a RPG, so turning it into a MMORPG would be a natural transition. However by doing a Starcraft MMO, Blizzard can really do something completely new. A Starcraft MMO would most certainly be very very different from WOW. Only time will tell, but as I said months ago, I’m putting my money on a Starcraft MMO.