Blizzard Entertainment has begun its ever “go-insane” teasers just days before a major game announcement. The Blizzard homepage at Blizzard.com now shows two box artworks from previous games.
One is Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and the second is Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.
At the bottom of the page we see a space background with vertical lines representing the pass of time.
The text displayed at the bottom of the page says … Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (1994) and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (1995). Note both game titles are highlighted. Followed by Diablo (1996), Starcraft (1998), Diablo II (2000), Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002), World of Warcraft (2004) and a Glowing Question Mark ( ? ) for 2007.
We are six days away from the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals at South Korea, to be held through May 19-20th, where Blizzard will announce for first time one out of three major games they have been brewing and developing for the past four years.
Let’s recap possible games to be announced:
Back on 2003, Blizzard North was working on two unannounced projects. Rick Seiss took over leadership of Blizzard North after the executives, now founders of Flagship Studios, resigned. On February 2004, Hollywood Reporter said Blizzard North merged its two Diablo teams into one, cancelling one of its two unannounced projects. Taking a look at the US Patent and Trademark Office website in search of Blizzard copyrighted names, it reveals the registration of Diablo II: Salvation was abandoned on 2003.
More recently, on October 2006, Richard A. Knaak teased fans during our interview when asked if the plot of Diablo: Sin War Trilogy novel impacted somehow the storyline of future Diablo projects. The novel reveals the origin of the world of Sanctuary, the revelation of Mephisto’s daughter: Lilith and the secret purpose of the Worldstone. The novel trilogy delivers! The road foundations to Diablo III have been laid.
We have seen RTS job openings in the past years. On March 14, 2005, Dustin Browder was hired by Blizzard—you have known Dustin Browder from famed Command and Conquer: Red Alert (2001) / Generals (2003), MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries (1996), and The Lord of the Rings: The Battle For Middle-Earth (2004) among others. A strong thought of Starcraft 2 or Warcraft IV comes to mind.
There is a new World of Warcraft expansion in the works. An interview revealed Blizzard looks forward to releasing an expansion each year (Optimally).
There is a large batch of thoughts, and possible games Blizzard could be announcing at the WWI in six days. Pick your flavor:
- Starcraft 2 (RTS)
- Warcraft IV (RTS)
- Diablo III
- Starcraft: Ghost (Xbox 360 / PS3)
- World of Diablo (MMO)
- World of Starcraft (MMO)
If we put in the mix what Computer and Video Games said a week ago, spreading rumors of a Starcraft MMO, it could be most likely a Starcraft MMO-RTS. Think of MMO Persistent World features like those in Hellgate: London, with continued updates and downloadable expansions using Battle.net Broadband. A server-side RTS with hack-prevention measures. VOD and E-Sport Support.
Among possible World of Warcraft expansions could be Northrend and South Seas. A year ago, Blizzard licensed White Wolf Publishing—under the leadership of d20 developer Luke Johnson, to publish World of Warcraft RPG: Lands of Mystery—which offers never seen and broad content of Northrend and all the isles of the South Seas, complete with maps and lore of each region. Content never seen in previous Warcraft games. You can take a look at the Table of Content, and/or read a summary of the Northrend content (Map attached). The maps shown at the Behind the Scenes DVD, confirms Blizzard has been planning a South Seas and Northrend expansion since at least 2004.
Blizzard has so many possible games in their grasp it is nigh impossible to pinpoint or take a guess at what they will announce either at the WWI (May 19) or at Blizzcon (August 3-5).
The general thought is that Blizzard will announce a Starcraft game, since they are announcing it at South Korea—a major Starcraft community. If we take Blizzard’s recent pattern of novel tie-ins as an intro to a new game announcement, we have to consider that this very month of May Blizzard and Simon & Schuster Pocket Star Books are releasing STARCRAFT: THE DARK TEMPLAR, book one: FIRST BORN. Follow the link to read its book description. You can pre-order it at our Store. My guess is this novel has something to do with the announcement on May 19th. Our interview with Christie Golden to discuss details of this novel has been delayed for two months pending approval.
The release of World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness novel (August 2007) by Aaron Rosenberg could herald a possible tie-in with a South Seas expansion. The book novelizes the events of the RTS game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.
If you check out your World of Warcraft (2004) Collector’s Edition’s Behind the Scenes DVD, you will see hand-drawn maps on a chalkboard created by the developers. You can see in the DVD a hand-drawn map of Isle of Kezan (Undermine) showing a major transportation-hub with zeppelins and boats going from Isle of Kezan to Ratchet, Kul’Tiras, Booty Bay and Valgarde. Valgarde is located at the Howling Fjord Region, at Daggercap Bay in southeastern Northrend. Check out the Isle of Kezan maps displayed at the Collector’s Edition DVD.
Only time will tell what Blizzard is announcing at South Korea next week, and at Blizzcon 2007 in Anaheim, California.
Something you should expect everyday, or quiet often through this week is a change of splash-page teasers on Blizzard’s homepage.
Back on September 2002, Blizzard teased fans when the homepage was updated every hour with less blurred images, slowly displaying Nova, the terran ghost character of Starcraft: Ghost. Fans—including me—were reloading the page mindlessly for 24 hours trying to figure out what the blurred images hid.
Keep an eye on Blizzard Homepage … you will know what I mean. Taking a look at the HTML code, we see the image of the splash page is titled day1.jpg—that is a countdown toward May 19, people. Each day will show a different splash page until May 19th. Expect more teasers each day throughout the following week. The countdown has begun!