Blizzard's Bill Roper interviewed (part one)
by Mark Asher
Qt3: What's this 3D game you guys are rumored to be making?
Roper: [laughs] Oh, theyíd break my legs if I said anything
Qt3: Why not make a Blizzard MMORPG?
Roper: Itís almost a different breed of game. You almost
need to invest more time in the product after it t launches, which
is what makes the subscription model a necessity. The subscription
model allows you to constantly evolve the game. Thatís why a game
like Majestic needs a team. With our games we spend most of the
time in development.
Qt3: But youíd have a big advantage over so many of the MMORPGs
in development right now with your brand name recognition. Isnít
that hard to resist?
Roper: I think the MMORPGs are getting closer to being the
kinds of games that game developers got into the business for in
the first place, the creation of virtual worlds. So yeah, thereís
a big attraction there and many Blizzard people are big fans of
these games and play them a lot. It would take a change in the way
we do business though to start making these games.
As to us getting a good start with a game from our recognizable
brands, sure, that would happen. But the game has to be fun. A well
known license is important, but if it's not fun, players won't stay.
Even the Star Wars game that Sony is working on, sure it will get
a big launch, but if itís not fun the players wonít stay.
Qt3: Will we see Blizzard games on the next gen consoles?
Roper: We donít have anything in the works right now, but
itís been fun to see the new consoles. We got our start as a videogame
company, so we like those kinds of games. We just see computer games
and videogames as being separate markets. What works for one rarely
works for the other. About the only exception is Tomb Raider, which
has sold well for both markets.
Qt3: Whatís this new Warcraft novel thatís just been published?
Roper: Itís a great book by a veteran writer, Richard Knaak,
whoís been on the Times bestseller list with Dragonlance books.
Itís just the first in a series of books about our games that are
coming out. We went out and got established writers like Charles
Grant and Jeff Grubb to do these. Jeff has also done a lot of D&D
work for Wizards of the Coast. We put together a writing bible so
these writers would have a good basis to work from, but theyíre
free to be creative to some extent too. In this first book some
of the events that were hinted at in Warcraft 2 are explained. Itís
Qt3: Anything beyond books?
Roper: Sure. Weíd love to see films and TV series based
on our games. Weíre open to all kinds of things.
Qt3: Anything you want to add?
Roper: Just let people know about our tenth anniversary
sweepstakes giveaway. Weíre giving away some cool prizes, some stuff
you canít find anymore. We went around and found things like pewter
statuettes that were promotional items for our older games. As long
as we had at least one for our vaults, weíre giving the others away.
Thereís still another week or so left. Just visit our website.
Previous Page Back