At this morning's Austin Game Developer's Conference keynote, J. Allen Brack and Frank Pearce of Blizzard took the stage to talk about the inner workings of Blizzard. Most of what they covered was stats and trvia. Did you know the Blizzard bug team is currently tracking over 179,484 bugs? Now you do. There are 7,650 quests in WoW since Wrath of the Lich King! Consider yourself informed.
Some of the trivia was actually pretty interesting, like the fact that when Blizzard releases a patch, almost half of that data is audio. Pearce also mentioned that BlizzCon is operated "at a substantial loss for Blizzard," but the value is that it's a huge marketing/PR opportunity for them. Considering how many tickets they sell (in only eight minutes), that's around $3.5 million that's written off. Plus whatever Blizzard spends above and beyond that. No wonder Blizzard employees have to buy their own tickets.
However, the most interesting part of the keynote was when they briefly spoke about Nomad, the canceled squad-based sci-fi game. Ten years ago, Blizzard put a lot of work in on the game, but eventually looked at it and said "Is this really the game we want to be working on right now? The answer ended up being "no," and the team went on to start work on World of Warcraft. Here we are ten years later with WoW going strong, and no Nomad in sight.
They'd mentioned this canceled game, along with a slew of others, at last year's DICE summit, but without any other information. Sadly, the only thing they had to show were pieces of concept art, including some by "The Bourbon Cowboy," Chris Metzen. The art itself isn't that exciting (the best one is above and there's a couple more in the gallery below), but the words "squad-based sci-fi RPG" are exciting. Could this be Blizzard's next game? Possibly mutated into MMO form? Who knows when we'll find out, since one of the stats they flashed onscreen this morning was "Number of Unannounced MMOs: 1."