Eurogamer: You hope this game will have a similar life span to StarCraft?
Frank Pearce: Yeah. And with that in mind it's really hard to say whether or not we've achieved the success we want to with that product. StarCraft, 12 years later, people are still playing it passionately. Warcraft 3, there are still millions of people passionately playing maps and mods around the world. You can look at Warcarft 3 and say that was the beginnings of the idea for creating a game client like that as a platform for the community to do more than just experience the game the dev team creates. We've certainly carried that further with StarCraft 2.
Eurogamer: You've talked about Heart of the Swarm gameplay details. It seems you're focusing on one central character this time.
Jonny Ebbert: That's exactly the direction we're trying to go with this campaign. The fantasy we're trying to fulfil is, you're Kerrigan. A lot of people, when they picture what Kerrigan does, is, she manipulates the Swarm. She always has these god-like powers. Those are the two main tracks we're trying to explore.
Eurogamer: How will Heart of the Swarm impact on the eSports scene?
Jonny Ebbert: We have a lot of plans for eSports. I can't get into the details of what we're planning for Battle.net or multiplayer, but what I can tell you is, we're thrilled with the meta-game we have now. When we watch the eSports scene and the bets replays, we're just stupefied, really, by the creativity of the players.
We want to preserve and enhance that meta-game. That's probably been the most agonising part of this. It's trying to make changes to the multiplayer meta-game and preserving everything that's awesome about it, and maybe shoring up any of the weaknesses and adding something new. Players are going to be really excited about what they see at BlizzCon and when they finally get their hands on it.
Eurogamer: It sounds like a design nightmare.
Jonny Ebbert: Well, the good kind, right?
Frank Pearce: That's what they get paid to do, though. They don't get paid to do this stuff because it's easy.
Eurogamer: You have to keep existing players happy while adding new things. It sounds like a tricky juggling act.
Jonny Ebbert: It's the best kind of problem to have. You have something that's incredibly successful, and you want to try to make it even more successful. It's hard to picture a better position to be in as a designer.
Eurogamer: Frank, what's your personal take on the always-on internet debate? Are gamers overreacting?
Frank Pearce: The opinions of the people who feel like they don't want to be online when they're playing is valid. But for us, our goal is to have an always-connected community, and not just necessarily a community around World of Warcraft, and not necessarily a community around StarCraft or StarCraft 2, but an overarching Blizzard community. To create that community and provide everyone who's part of that community the benefits of that community, we want them to be connected and playing online.