Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has finally laid to rest any speculation that the company's next MMO will be a follow-up to World of Warcraft.
"It's not going to be a World of Warcraft sequel," he said simply in an interview with Wired.
Despite Blizzard's repeated insistence that it's working on something "different" with the "next-gen MMO" it is known to be working on, speculation that the company was working on a new version of World of Warcraft has persisted in some quarters.
Morhaime said that Blizzard isn't aiming to replace WOW with a sequel - or anything else, for that matter. He hopes the two games will run side-by-side.
"We're not trying to replace World of Warcraft with this new MMO. We're trying to create a different massively multiplayer experience, and hopefully World of Warcraft will still be going strong when that one is released."
Ealier in the week, MTV revealed that WOW lead designer Jeff Kaplan - the man responsible for the design of the game's world, quests and dungeons - was "definitely involved" with the new game.
"I think the great part about a new MMO from Blizzard is that it doesn't have to be WOW," Kaplan told MTV. "There are a lot of lessons we learned in making World of Warcraft, and some of those you can take and do things better than you ever did before."
Kaplan also hinted that the new game may not share a high-fantasy theme with WOW and most of its competitors. "I'm shocked we haven't seen more sci-fi, near-future, post-apocalyptic, historical MMOs; there's all these completely different fantasy settings beyond the traditional high fantasy ones," Kaplan said.
Asked which of those settings the new MMO might have, he joked: "All of those combined!" Sounds a bit like Otherland, Jeff.
In fact, Blizzard's vagueness about the project may in part be because it hasn't decided what it is yet.
A high-level industry source has told Eurogamer that he believes Blizzard has two teams working on competing MMO concepts, and that it has yet to pick which one will go into full production.
Don't hold your breath to find out. It's "going to be a while" before we see Blizzard's next MMO, Kaplan says.
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