2011 Citi Technology Conference: Blizzard To Release Six Games in the Next Three Years

Activision Blizzard announced recently to its shareholders and media, including me, they would broadcast their announcements at the 2011 Citi Technology Conference on September 8, 2011 at 10:45 AM (ET). Speakers: Thomas Tippl (COO, Activision Blizzard) and Rob Pardo (Blizzard EVP of Game Design).

According to Thomas Tippl, Blizzard Entertainment will release SIX video games based on known intellectual properties (IP) in the upcoming three years.

That doesn’t count the upcoming Next-Gen MMO which is based on a brand-new IP.

Now that’s mind-blowing! Let’s recap what everyone does know so far Blizzard’s pipeline looks like:

  • 1. World of Warcraft Expansion III (Untitled)
  • 2. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
  • 3. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
  • 4. Diablo III
  • 5. Diablo III Expansion (Untitled)
  • 6. Whoa? … again … WHOA?

As you see from the pipeline above, there is a sixth game unaccounted for here. Thomas Tippl mentioned six games based on known IPs within the next three years.

The World of Warcraft has been shipping expansions within 21-25 months (nigh two years).

  • World of Warcraft (Vanilla): November 23, 2004
  • Burning Crusade: January 16, 2007 (25 months, 24 days)
  • Wrath of the Lich King: November 13, 2008 (21 months, 28 days)
  • Cataclysm: December 7, 2010 (24 months, 24 days)

The next WoW expansion will be announced at BlizzCon 2011, and might ship around Q4 2012 – Q1 2013 (as a wild and highly inaccurate guess). Thomas Tippl’s projections span from 2012 – 2014 … Can Blizzard cram in two expansions in a lapse of three years?

On the other hand, StarCraft II is known to have three episodes, of which Wings of Liberty was shipped on July 27, 2010. “Heart of the Swarm” is coming out on 2012. That falls into the standard 21-24 months development cycle. This gives “Legacy of the Void” room to ship around 2014, and thus why I listed it above within Thomas Tipple’s three years projection.

On the Diablo III front, Jay Wilson mentioned in an interview last year plans for “expansions”. Mike Morhaime and Rob Pardo have mentioned hopes to ship Diablo III by Q4 2011, but they won’t sacrifice quality to push a 2011 release date. Let’s pretend Diablo III ships on 2012. Based on a 21-24 months development cycle, Blizzard can cram in a Diablo III expansion in this “three years projection”. A third Diablo III expansion? Maybe. Maybe not.

As seen, it’s hard to tell what this mysterious Sixth known video game IP fits in Thomas Tippl’s announcement today at the 2011 Citi Technology Conference.

It could be any of these:

  • World of Warcraft Expansion # 5
  • Diablo III expansion # 2
  • Warcraft IV
  • StarCraft: Ghost
  • Any of the Classic Arcade revisited

Take in mind, Thomas Tippl said known IPs. The Next-Gen MMO doesn’t count. That’s a brand-new IP, not an existing one. Take your best guess shot.

Another possibility is that Blizzard might develop a mobile game (iPad, Sony NGP) — but that’s further down in the speculation spectrum.

You can listen to the 2011 Citi Technology Conference broadcast here.

Gamespot article titled “Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tippl says publisher expects six releases from studio, including Diablo III and one expansion”.

Blizzard’s Next-Gen MMO: Job Opening Reveals Armor and Weapons Game

Blizzard Entertainment posted this week a brand-new job opening for the still-unannounced Next-Gen MMO. Based on this job opening for a 3D Character Equipment Artist it might be hard to tell if this fourth game currently in development will be based on one of the existing franchises: Diablo, WarCraft or StarCraft. This is the first time we know anything substantial about the enigmatic Next-Gen MMO, nevertheless. This job opening is for a developers that will be in charge of modeling armor and weapons based on the concept art from Blizzard’s Art Team.

The fifth game in development, not to be confused with the Next-Gen MMO, is still young, but it is confirmed unofficially through Blizzplanet to be a brand-new IP.

The Next-Gen MMO hasn’t been confirmed to be based on a new IP or on an existent IP, but this game is a strong candidate to be revealed at BlizzCon 2010. Personally, I have said it many times in the past couple of years, and still think it is based on StarCraft and StarCraft: Ghost. Only time will tell, and Blizzard fans are know to be loyal and patient.

Blizzard Quote:
3D Character Equipment Artist – NextGen MMO at Blizzard Entertainment

Location: Irvine, CA (Orange County, California Area)

URL: http://www.jobs.blizzard.com/

Type: Full-time
Experience: Mid-Senior level
Functions: Art/Creative
Industries: Animation, Arts and Crafts, Computer Games, Computer Software, Entertainment
Posted: June 8, 2010

Job Description

Blizzard Entertainment is looking for an exceptionally skilled 3D character equipment artist for a team focused on next-generation massively multiplayer online games. The ideal candidate has extensive experience modeling and texturing a diverse visual range of character armor and weapons. A solid grasp of armor and weapon design, structure, color, and light for the creation of both 2D and 3D art assets is essential. The 3D character/character equipment artist must have a skill in another art task as well (illustration, modeling, texturing, animation, or concept drawing), and be well-versed in related tools — Maya, Photoshop, etc.

Skills

Requirements

  • 2+ years game development experience modeling and texturing sci-fi and fantasy character armor and weapons for next-gen art pipelines
  • An exceptional understanding of visual design and a keen eye toward form, shape, structure, and silhouette with regard to modeling and texturing character equipment
  • Superior eye for light, color, and detail in creating texture maps of different material types
  • Self-motivation, good communication skills, and a great team-player
  • Skill in one or more of the related creation tasks — illustration, modeling, texturing, animation, or concept drawing

Pluses

  • Have shipped AAA PC or console titles as a 3D character artist
  • Experience with Mudbox, ZBrush, (or equivalent modeling program) and the process of converting high-poly sculpted characters into lower poly game models
  • Experience with the creation of next-gen shaders and materials
  • Strong foundation in the traditional arts, including but not limited to figure drawing and illustration.
  • Passionate gamer with experience playing a wide range of games

Merry Christmas, Blizzard and Fans!!!

It’s that time of the year when families get together in special times to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. It’s meant to be a time of joy. I wish everyone happy holidays, especially all the people at Blizzard including those I have personally met or interacted with such as Chris Metzen, Mike Morhaime, Paul Sams, Frank Pearce, Ghostcrawler, Jeff Kaplan, Nethaera, Karune, Bashiok, Jay Wilson, J. Allen Brack, Wryxian, Changwoon Jung (who takes care of flight and hotel whenever I go to Blizzcon and to the Blizzard campus — thanks a bunch).

I gotta thank Chris Metzen for many things, he creates fantasy and sci-fi worlds that have entertained and enlightened me over the years not only through the games, but through books, manga and comic books. Chris Metzen got me invited to the fansites’ Starcraft II single player hands-on back on July 17th where I interviewed him. It was great when I was recording video of a Starcraft II panel at Blizzcon, and I heard this voice calling my name. When I turned my face to the side, it was Chris Metzen waving at me. That was absolutely awesome, and I felt a lot of joy within to have someone I am a fanboy of remember me and say hi. His work and his worlds inspire to wish to be better each day. You can learn things from certain stories, that you would not learn normally in real life for lack of living those experiences.

I emailed Chris Metzen a couple of weeks ago simply to apologize for that Sargeras article I wrote a few days ago. I had meant to write about it for a long time — ok, two years late — and used a photo by Gadgetress (OCRegister) of Chris Metzen from the 15th Anniversary of Warcraft celebration held at the Blizzard campus. The Sargeras article brought up the retcon, and possible reasons the creative team had to infuse a new direction to the story, while I was also exploring and parodying the reaction from fans when this retcon took place a couple of years ago.

To make a long story short, in the parody I used this photo of Chris Metzen that looked like those facepalm images, and I added a few parody words concerning the retcon. You know, at that moment it looked fun to use the photo in the context of the article, but I still felt uneasy within. I emailed him to apologize. It’s not my nature to cause stress to people or make them feel bad, or do bad things on purpose. I’m a nice guy, honest and overall a good guy. A bit funny sometimes, which contrast with my shy personality.

Chris Metzen was pretty cool about it, no hard feelings from him for using the photo in that context. However, I want to share that at the time that photo was taken, he had a speech about what all those 15 years at Blizzard creating all these worlds meant to him. It’s easy to say 15 years, but it’s a long time and a large chunk of your life dedicated to writing, inventing, jammin’ ideas within and with other fellow writers. It was a very emotional moment, that I can just grasp and imagine. It was a meaningful moment, that I am really sorry to have parodied.

While there’s a lot of trolls out there who might think otherwise, many people — including me — love the work Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson and the Creative Team have done over the years. We are very proud of you, Chris. Merry Christmas!

Laguna Art Museum VIP Benefit Dinner, BlizzCon Ticket and More

World of Warcraft fans in the California area—and why not, international and national folks—will be delighted to hear of a special offer that might get you into Blizzcon if you missed out the ticket lottery.

From July 17 through 19, you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing to purchase tickets for the Laguna Art Museum

Last Chance – Fansites BlizzCon Tickets Giveaways

The Blizzcon Tickets are sold out.  However, you still have a chance at winning a Free ticket to attend Blizzcon via Fansites Giveways courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.  Blizzard is very supportive to all the fansites under their flag. So take this very exciting opportunity.  Beneath are all the fansites whose giveaway is still active.  Participate in all of them to increase your chances at winning one. However, if you got two be honest and let them know. Good luck and see you at BlizzCon.

INCGAMERS NETWORK

OTHER FANSITES

Echoes of War Standard Edition Re-Release on June 16

The Echoes of War: Music of Blizzard Entertainment was so very welcomed by fans that EMINENCE produced a new round of copies for sale.  Pre-orders are now available with $ 5 discount savings if you do so before June 16th.

I wrote a review of this product a few months ago if you want to check out what this product contains.  We had a giveaway of the Legendary Edition. The publisher EMINENCE will provide us new copies to giveaway to fans. Stay tuned for details on how to participate.

Blizzard Quote:
ECHOES OF WAR: STANDARD EDITION RE-RELEASE

GDC 2009: Blizzard’s Pardo: Sony, Microsoft Need New Forms Of Gameplay

Recently we reported that Rob Pardo confirmed that Blizzard and Microsoft are talking about the Xbox 360 successor.  They want Microsoft to learn from Nintendo. During the Luminaries Lunch at the GDC 2009,  Junction Point’s Warren Spector slashed at Rob Pardo with mockery … “I

Blizzard And Microsoft Talk Xbox 360 Successor For Next-Gen MMO?

Rob Pardo confirmed at the GDC 2009 that Blizzard Entertainment and Microsoft are talking about the Xbox 360 successor.  And by the looks of it they want its successor to have a keyboard and mouse peripherals and tools to allow MMO and RTS gameplay on consoles.  The potential is enormous. Imagine World of Warcraft, Starcraft: Ghost, Starcraft II and even Diablo III on PC and Consoles.  It is the culprit of the Next-Gen MMO no doubt.

The future is looking brighter for Blizzard and all its millions of fans if Microsoft can pull the right cards off its sleeve and places them into the table to make it possible.

Blizzard Quote:
Rob Pardo: “There are are so many games like we make at Blizzard that we don’t take to consoles because they don’t support the input device, and you end up with crappy ports. That’s why RTS games never do well on consoles,” he said.

“If I was them, I’d be sitting around trying to figure out what’s a cool input device that supports all types of new kinds of games.”—read more

Fifth Blizzard Game In the Works Update

Recently, Blizzard Entertainment added two job openings under the category titled Unannounced. I wrote an article about it a few days ago. We have now a few interesting bits concerning these job openings for a unannounced game.

UpdateMarch 24—The job openings mentioned in this newspost is indeed a brand-new game that has not been mentioned before.

1. This brand-new game is not a World of Warcraft expansion, and it is not related to the Next-Gen MMO.

2. In the present, the brand-new game is using the World of Warcraft engine merely for testing purposes.

3. The Client Software Engineer job opening is to hire the person that will have the responsibility to develop an engine from scratch for this game.  This new engine will be built depending on the skill and interest of the person hired for this position.

Whether this game is based on the three major franchises (Warcraft, Starcraft or Diablo) or a new IP, that remains unknown.

We encourage our readers who have the skills and fill the requirements for this job to step forward and submit a resume and code samples to [email protected].

BATTLE.NET 2.0 HAS LAUNCHED !!!

Starcraft 2 is closer than ever my brothers … BATTLENET 2.0 HAS BEEN LAUNCHED. IT IS OFFICIAL. You can now sign up to create a battle.net 2.0 account. Enter a good standing email address—probably non-gmail nor one that has given you issues before with beta signups.  Then you will receive an email verification to your inbox. Accept it by clicking the link emailed to you.

Once done, you have the option to merge your World of Warcraft account to the Battle.net 2.0 service.  This merge cannot be reverted.  Once you have merged your world of warcraft account, your old username and password are void. You will login into your World of Warcraft account and login into the game using your Battle.net 2.0 account login.

This is something to be EXCITED about guys. Starcraft II beta is upon us any minute. And that means Blizzplanet will giveaway some beta keys away courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment very soon. Stay tuned for any contests or giveaways.

via: starcraftwire.net

Blizzard Quote:
We

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