For the better part of a year, Blizzard has had a job listing on their website seeking team members to work on a “Next-Gen MMO”. When this was first reported a while back, I was one of the few pessimists who believed that it was just a clever way for Blizzard to say they were looking for new people to work on WoW’s next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Well it appears I was wrong.
According to some a Blizzard employee it is, in fact, a new MMORPG and not an expansion. While some would be quick to shout out World of Starcraft as the most likely candidate for a new Blizzard MMORPG, I would disagree. Blizzard is already working on the next iteration of the Starcraft saga and would probably shy away from releasing two games based on the same IP in such a close time-frame (1 year). My thoughts, land squarely on that the proposed “Next-Gen MMO” is none other than Diablo 3, and, to top it off, I believe that this game will land on consoles as well as the PC.
DISCLAIMER: Before reading further, take what I am saying as pure speculation. I am in no way connected to Blizzard, and my recent “contacts” are no longer available. Everything I am suggesting is my own theory, pieced together from what I have been reading.
Blizzard has always been a developer with few major IPs. In fact, there are only four IPs that most gamers will think of immediately when they give serious thought to the company, and those are: Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, and Lost Vikings (the latter coming in a distant fourth). With the development of Wrath of the Lich King, and a reaffirmation (months ago) by a Blizzard exec saying that their next MMO would be something “different”, we can pretty much rule out Blizzard’s next MMO as being World of Warcraft 2. It’d be extremely hard to do anything off-the-wall different with such a well established MMO property as WoW without disappointing the majority of the players right now. In addition to it not being WoW 2, we can also safely assume its not a Starcraft MMO for the reasons I stated above. This only leaves Lost Vikings and Diablo as a means for further exploration, and because Lost Vikings is a narrow-pathed puzzle game and Diablo 1 and 2 were both already establish ORPGs it is safe to assume that this “Next-Gen” MMORPG is in fact going to be Diablo 3. So why do I say it is going to be on consoles (despite already contradicting myself)?
When people think next generation (in video game terms) what usually pops into mind first? Typically it will be the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii console gaming platforms. I mean, the PC never really leaps beyond its current generation, it just slowly upgrades key components over time, therefor there aren’t ever really “generations” per say in a PCs lifespan. Couple this with the fact that Activision and Vivendi just merged to form Activision Blizzard (AB from here on out) and you have yourself a bona-fide chance that Diablo 3 will be on consoles. Activision is a VERY well-established console loving publisher. So given all this circumstantial evidence it is easy to pin-point that Diablo 3 will be an MMO and has a good chance of landing on the consoles (probably PS3 and 360, sorry Wii fans). That is, you know, unless Blizzard is making a new IP. . . don’t get your hopes up. It hasn’t happened since they created Warcraft back in 1994.