Starcraft II can be called a major success. Not only did it bring back the action-packed strategy that kept Starcraft fresh for years, but it gave us a whole new engine to play with when making our own maps and mods for the game.
Seeing that Blizzard spent so much time and money developing an entirely new engine for Starcraft II, you would think that they did so not only to keep their customers entertained with map making, but to invest in something for the long haul.
Have no idea what I'm talking about? Take a look at this:
This stunning engine can be applied to future titles. Considering that Blizzard is in the process of making their new MMO, I would be willing to wager that this MMO is based in the Starcraft universe, despite previous announcements by Blizzard that the title was outside all of their current universes.
It is likely that Blizzard will follow the same model that World of Warcraft followed:
- Release a successful RTS
- Follow it up with an MMO based off of that successful RTS
It is even more likely now that we see that they've spent over one hundred million dollars on the engine for Starcraft II alone. Blizzard's release of the engine map creator to the public is a way to test the waters and the potential of the system.
Let's face it, Blizzard is a corporation. They create things because it generates revenue. If you just take a look at some of the RPG and MMO maps that players have been creating with the Starcraft II engine, you can see that adapting the engine to an MMO would be nearly effortless.
Blizzard is gauging their players' interest in the Starcraft universe. They released a public poll on Battle.net that asks their customers which Starcraft world they'd like to live on if they could.
Why a sci-fi MMO? Well, Blizzard is going to be competing with the new Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. If the 40K MMO isn't just more fan-base niche dead weight on THQ's back, then it will also be in great competition with TOR and Blizzard's new MMO (Which is undeniably Starcraft). Blizzard is going to have to get innovative here.
So what is the formula for market success in the brave new world of next gen MMOs? Researchers say that it is a feeling of immersion and "change". Moving beyond the static world of last gen MMOs to follow a formula similar to Bioware's games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, where the player's actions influence the entire continuity of the universe. Perhaps Blizzard's new "Starcraft" MMO won't focus on world-changing decisions, but I'm willing to bet they're going to use the engine for a whole lot of customization. Perhaps let players build and upgrade their own ships and vehicles, or even create towns and structures.
This is beyond speculation, folks. You heard it here first. If I lose this bet, I'll buy you a drink.