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Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer expressed a lot of excitement for the possibilities of reviving Blizzard franchises, according to an interview with Windows Central.
Windows Central discussed the future of Activision-Blizzard games including dormant franchises like Guitar Hero, StarCraft, or Skylanders. Phil said he cannot directly compare Xbox's strategy in reviving niche games like Age of Empires and Killer Instinct, versus Activision-Blizzard's approach, as he wasn't involved in Activision's decision-making.
Windows Central specifically asked if there are any plans to revive and port games like WoW, Starcraft, and Heroes of the Storm to Xbox.
Phil is excited about back catalogs of Bethesda, and Activision Blizzard. He wants to discuss with Blizzard leadership titles they are passionate about. That will effect which titles they decide to revive. Phil also wants to let fans and customers know he doesn't bring up games just to tease to no end.
"You did a good job at laying out some of the examples from the past. Thinking about Age of Empires, we're on the 10th anniversary edition of Killer Instinct, which is another nice example to think about. There has to be passion in the team behind the projects. That doesn't mean that the team has to be the original team, every time. I'm not one — and maybe this is just my approach — I'm not one to come in and take a franchise from a team and remove them from the discussion or development process on how something new gets built. I think the original creators, the culture — frankly, some of the lessons we've learned from past experiences here are very important. You've seen from our history that we haven't touched every franchise that people would love us to touch — Banjo fans, I hear you. But it is true that, when we find the right team, and the right opportunity, I love going back to revisit stories and characters that we've seen previously.
In the case of Blizzard games specifically, really what I'd want to do is work with Blizzard's leadership to see where they have passion. I say all this, but I'm not at all suggesting that Blizzard doesn't have passion for reviving franchises too, I know that from my visits to the team. They absolutely have the passion in this area. There's a lot of excitement for possibilities that we can all do together. But also, I want our fans and customers to know that I don't bring up games just to tease to no end ... if people have watched how we've teased things in the past. There's usually some kind of reconciliation of those hints later on ... I'm not one to try and lead people on. It might not happen on the timeline that people would love, but usually when I tease, there's something there."
Heroes of the Storm is a really great game and we hope it will get the attention it deserves.
Make sure to read the full interview on Windows Central.
PC Gamer had the chance to talk to Blizzard President Mike Ybarra who said Blizzard's job is to satisfy impatient players who want "new stuff every day, every hour".
Blizzard is now adapting to the Microsoft Era under the umbrella of Xbox and Phil Spencer. The focus remains on maintaining their live service model. Blizzard President Mike Ybarra emphasized the challenge of satisfying players who demant constant new content. He acknowledged the high expectations of players for new updates and experiences on a nearly continuous basis. The live service model is expected to continue with their upcoming unannounced survival game. Ybarra stressed out the difficulty of delivering new content on regular basis while ensuring fair and satisfying monetization strategies to players. Ybarra didn't rule out the possibility of Blizzard exploring shorter, non-live service games. Ybarra is yet to have discussions with Phil Spencer about the future direction under the new ownership. You can read the full interview here.
We're liveblogging all the important announcements and highlights from the opening ceremony. Check back often for updates!
BlizzCon 2023 Opening Ceremony Highlights
World of Warcraft
Chris Metzen is now on stage talking about the next WoW expansion. The next expansion is titan-themed, light vs the void. The new storyline feels like the culmination of 20 years of storytelling. They are adding something called World of Warcraft: Worldsoul Saga which will cover multiple expansions at a faster pace.
The first chapter is called World of Warcraft: The War Within, you will meet the Nerubians and descend to the Heart of Azeroth. The second part of the saga is called World of Warcraft: Midnight - In this chapter, you will be returning to the old world, to the fabled lands of Quel'thalas. There, the forces of the void have invaded Azeroth, they are plunging the world into the darkness. You will banish the shadow forever. The final part of the saga is called World of Warcraft: The Last Titan. In this chapter you will return to Northrend. There, at Ulduar you will bear witness to the return of titans to Azeroth. There, you will uncover a vast conspiracy. One that stretches throughout the history of the world. One that challenges everything you know about the world and it's called Silithus. They are now playing a trailer for the War Within. In the War Within, we will be meeting Xal'atath who is leading a Nerubian civilization. New zones include Azj-Kahet, Isle of Dorn, The Ringing Deeps. New features include Delves, and Warbands! You can treat alts as family and there will be account-wide reputation! Earthen Dwarves are coming as an Allied Race in War Within. War Within releases in Fall 2024. World of Warcraft Classic
Holy Longdale is now talking about WoW. They are adding a new way of playing Hardcore in Classic. Cataclysm Classic was just announced. It's coming in the first half of 2024. Season of Discovery was announced for Classic. It will include game-altering abilities. The season will allow Warlocks to be tanks and Mages can become healers. The initial cap will be 25. Season of Discovery launches on November 30. Warcraft Rumble
Warcraft Rumble launched yesterday. The game has 70 bosses and plenty of dungeons. They will be adding new minions every season. In Season 1 it's Sylvanas. Hearthstone
Showdown in the Badlands is the latest Hearthstone expansion launching on November 14. Catch-up card packs will be introduced to Hearthstone You will find more details here. They have announced Battlegrounds Duos with a shared health pool, team combat, you can fight with your friends instead of against them.
World of Warcraft
John Hight revealed the future of WoW will be revealed today, so expect a new WoW expansion! Diablo
Rod Fergusson is now talking about Diablo 4. Diablo 4 is the biggest launch in Blizzard's history with more than 1.5 billion hours played. The devs are talking about quality-of-life improvements to the game implemented based on community feedback. Next week, they're adding 5 Malignant Rings to Season 2 that let you relive the fun you've had during the Season of the Malignant. Enchanting Preview Window will be added to the Occultists. Abbatoir of Zir a new Seasonal Event. Midwinter Blight in Diablo 4 starts on December 2. Blizzard revealed Vessel of Hatred, a new Diablo 4 expansion coming in late 2024. It follows the story of Mephisto in a lush jungle.
You can find Blizzard's official recap here. Overwatch
Aaron Keller is now talking about Overwatch. Overwatch Art Director has revealed a new hero for Overwatch named Mauga. A new Clash PvP mode is planned for Overwatch 2 in 2024. The Hanamura map is returning as Hanaoka. Competitive is being reworked with new rewards. They have two new Heroes planned in 2024. More details to be unveiled tomorrow. Intro
Blizzard President Mike Ybarra welcomes everyone at BlizzCon. This is the first in-person BlizzCon taking place after 4 long years. Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, is now on stage. It's his first BlizzCon. He talks about how much he enjoys playing Diablo 4 Season 2 with friends. He didn't announce Game Pass for Blizzard games. Ybarra says the Microsoft merge is "start of a new era" for Blizzard. Livestream Video
Here's the official stream, with all the content free to watch, and you can check out the official schedule here as well.
Players getting the free to play Warcraft Rumble on their mobile devices were greeted with a nice bonus! The game released a day early and those trying it out today found a Hearthstone card back and the WoW Gnomelia Battle Pet reward just for starting the game!
MiT_Epona posted the rewards screen, but the items are not yet unlocked in their respective games. Presumably this is due to the early launch and they will be arriving to players tomorrow, when Rumble was originally set to be launched.
Source: Rumble battle pet inc (don’t have in game yet).
It seems the Rumble just couldn't wait any longer! The Warcraft mobile game was scheduled to release tomorrow, but Blizzard pushed the button early and it has begun rolling out already! Plenty of players are reporting seeing it in their stores, but it's a rollout so it may take a while longer to get to you if it hasn't yet.
You can get the game here:
Apple Store Google Play
If you're unfamiliar with it, you can check out the game overview here and here's a couple of videos as well, one with the basics and one with some recent updates.