Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is Blizzard The Pixar Of Videogames?

Blizzard announces Diablo3 (never played Diablo1 or 2).

Pixar has just released Wall-E. This sounds like a Pixar movie I might actually want to see. Very little dialog, Roger Deakins as a virtual cinematography consultant, apparently wonderful sound design, and robots (I have not seen it yet).

One important difference: Pixar produces few sequels whereas Blizzard seems permanently stuck in rehashing their past efforts. Why? They have enough damn money to strike out for something new, so why don't they?. After playing and reading about GTA:IV and Rockstar (WSJ article here) that seems rather conservative. Now would be the perfect time for Blizzard to do something completely novel. Is this because they're tethered by a MMORPG that requires constant maintenance unlike the other two companies who basically produce one-off products? Are MMORPGS a creative drain even if they can be cash cows?

BTW, as far as I know Pixar has never produced a dud (9 features and counting?) and I don't recall Blizzard producing any subpar games either (maybe something before Warcraft II)?

Somewhat related is this fan made movie, UnstuntedII that uses exported WoW character models to produce animation you will not see in game. Interesting twist on the typical machinima workflow.

Unstunted - Vol II from James Dunlop on Vimeo.

Also vaguely related is this new WoW tool that allows far greater control of in-game camera controls. This could be a very interesting development.

World Of Warcaft Machinima Tool from Mads Lund on Vimeo.

And somehow I missed this, but the winners of the invitational contest have been announced. In the machinima section:

"The machinima movie contest winners are:

  • Best movie: Olibith
  • Best Editing: Olibith
  • Best Special Effects: Daniel Wasiluk
  • Best Scenario: Raphael Daniel"
Congrats to the winners!

Pointless question goes here:

So which would you rather be? A Pixar or Blizzard employee? Or neither, hacking the system from without as shown in the last two clips?

No comments: