I doubt that Blizzard’s next MMORPG will be either Starcraft or Diablo. It’s always been at the back of my mind that perhaps they will use these properties, but there are a couple of factors at play here.
- Both Starcraft and Diablo have sequels in development. In the case of Starcraft 2, Blizzard has announced a 3 part release schedule which puts the release of the last game in 2012 or later. Diablo 3 will be released sometime in 2010 or thereafter.
- While Blizzard doesn’t really come up with new IPs very often, it’s probably past due. Kinda like a meteor impact or Yellowstone exploding, it might not be next week but it will happen eventually. It could be time for Blizzard to come up with a new IP. It’s certainly past due.
- Or, Blizzard could use someone else’s IP. I imagine the big wigs on the top floor of Blizzard Central receive daily calls from Hollywood producers keen to get their next movie made into a MMORPG. It has to be better than a single player version of their movie, right?
I strongly doubt that either Diablo or Starcraft will be the subjects of the new game. Diablo is too similar to WoW in too many ways, and will be too much of a competitor. I’d think Blizzard would want to open up new subscriptions, not take from World of Warcraft.
Starcraft on the other hand would offer a different experience, but could still steal WoW subs. But the problem here is that Starcraft 2 is still in active development and will be for years to come. I doubt Blizzard want to jeopardize that.
Using a Hollywood, or perhaps a book, intellectual property for the next game is, I think, also unlikely. Blizzard do tend to be a go-it-alone sort of company, and using someone else’s IP puts on them all sorts of constraints. Just look at LotRO. Turbine was restricted heavily to what they could do with the Lord of the Rings universe. I doubt Blizzard would want such encumbrances.
Any third-party IP owner would have to be willing to let Blizzard have a lot more creative control than is normally the case for this sort of arrangement. This makes a Blizzard-foreign IP MMORPG a low chance of happening.
My feeling is that Blizzard’s new MMORPG will be an original wholly owned property created by Blizzard.