Saturday 31 January 2015

Anonymous Blizzard source: "Diablo 3 team has been completely gutted" - Other Blizz leaks

This was put up this morning by Tae Kim at Yahoo Finance. It was taken down, and edited and reposted at and now has a blizzard response. The original version, since removed, said as follows:

An Activision Blizzard insider, who could not be named due to his or her employers’ policy on talking to the press, revealed significant details about the company’s current game pipeline. This same source had the name and exact timing information of Blizzard’s Overwatch game announcement last November way before the news. The validity of the Overwatch leak and other various reasons are why I deem him or her to be a credible source.

The insider says Hearthstone numbers “are off the charts.” The next expansion is due to come out in April and will be more PvE focused. The team is also experimenting with a 2 vs. 2 version. Stunningly Hearthstone has now passed the 75 million players milestone.

Regarding Overwatch, the insider says the business model is still in flux. They are trying to decide between a free-to-play or expansion type focused model. No matter what, you will initially be able to play the game for free, but how you pay for heroes is still to be decided. The development team is pushing to launch the game this year, but senior executives are skeptical it can be done by then. There is a tiny chance for a December release, but it’s more likely to come out in early 2016 at this stage.

Executives have “low expectations” for Heroes of the Storm. The insider thinks many of the senior staff on the Heroes of the Storm team will be laid off.

The next Starcraft 2 game is already done and ready to go. The release date is still not settled. The current time window ranges from April to June.

The World of Warcraft team has “quadrupled” its art outsourcing, which has been a bottleneck in the past. The next expansion is almost “feature complete.”

The insider says the Diablo 3 team has been “completely gutted” for a new project set in the Starcraft universe. The game will be similar to Warframe and contain gameplay aspects from Left4Dead, DayZ, Smite, and other MOBAs. It is in early pre-production, which means late 2016 or later.

The insider gave me more details on other things, but I covered the most interesting content developments. Hearthstone’s success is beyond even the most optimistic expectations and should be a buffer against the continued year-over-year secular decline of the Call of Duty and Skylanders franchises.