Former Blizzard Co-Founder Discusses Some of Blizzard's Biggest Failings, Hints at a Comeback

Former Blizzard Co-Founder Discusses Some of Blizzard's Biggest Failings, Hints at a Comeback

Mike Morhaime is now free to talk about his time at Blizzard.

Blizzard co-founder and former president of Blizzard Entertainment Mike Morhaime could be readying a comeback. Morhaime is in Barcelona, Spain this week for the GameLab industry event, where he spoke for the first time about the end of his non-compete clause, and some stories about failed Blizzard projects now that he's fully in retirement mode.

Our colleagues at VG247 caught up with Morhaime at GameLab, where during a talk, he revealed one of the reasons Titan, Blizzard's high-profile and ultimately canceled MMO, was doomed. Morhaime cited Titan's over-ambitious development as the reason why it became one of Blizzard's most high-profile duds.

"We've tried really hard not to announce any games that weren't ready to be announced, or we weren't sure that we were going to release them," Morhaime said. "Titan is an exception to that where we wanted it to be our next generation, our sequel to sort of World of Warcraft. We took a lot of our senior developers and put them on this project. And I think where we really failed was we failed to control scope. It was very ambitious."

Morhaime also talked a bit about Blizzard's more recent missteps, like Heroes of the Storm. Heroes saw development on the game drastically scaled back, essentially shelved, by Blizzard last December. Its esports scene was blindsided. The irony is that the MOBA genre was popularized by the Warcraft 3 mod, Dota, and Morhaime says the company failed to get into the genre in earnest early enough.

"One of my regrets is that we didn't pursue Dota early enough," Morhaime says in an interview with VG247. "Dota was very popular and we were very focused on World of Warcraft at the time–there were more people playing Dota than Warcraft 3."

Morhaime says that the community was leading the charge on Dota and that Blizzard didn't want to step on their toes. But also, development on World of Warcraft took most of the company's attention.

"In retrospect–boy, if I could go back in time and say, 'You know what? Why don't we have a small team that's focused on doing something with Dota? Or why don't we include Dota with the launch of StarCraft 2 and have a mode or something?' I'd love to try doing that a little bit earlier. It hink Heroes was probably too late."

As for what's next, Morhaime is still in retirement after stepping down from the company he helped found. But he revealed that his non-compete contract expired in April of this year. "I'm allowed to do anything now. The fact is right now we're still in the brainstorming phase, we're exploring a bunch of different ideas. I don't really have anything that I'm ready to talk about."

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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