Blizzard China Resignation Fuels Launch Leak Rumors

Blizzard China Resignation Fuels Launch Leak Rumors

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Rumors about a leak of Blizzard's long-term launch schedule are looking just a wee bit more solid thanks to the sudden resignation of the general manager of Blizzard China for unexplained reasons.

MMOGameSite.com caused a stir last week when it published what was claimed to be Blizzard's launch schedule all the way into 2014. Along with release dates for known games like the future StarCraft 2 chapters and Diablo 3, it also purported to reveal heretofore unheard-of titles like StarCraft 2: Phoenix and something called Titan. Blizzard responded with the usual "no comment on rumors and speculation" and most of us immediately blew the whole thing off as a hoax because there's just no good reason to believe it. Why would Blizzard, which still hasn't announced a release date for Diablo 3, commit on paper to having the second expansion ready for the end of 2014?

And yet, and yet. A couple days after the alleged leak it came to light that Ye Weilun, the general manager of Blizzard China, resigned unexpectedly and was quickly replaced by Dai Jinhe, formerly the sales director of Nokia China. The official Blizzard position is apparently that the two events are unconnected but his resignation is unsurprisingly adding fuel to the rumor fire. MMOGameSite also reported that Blizzard CEO Paul Sams is expected to arrive in Shanghai this week and that staffing changes may follow in his wake.

A release schedule that looks a half-decade into the future can easily be dismissed as speculative but it was later reported that the leak also included more salient data like subscriber numbers, revenue, advertising budgets and media plans, all of which are far more sensitive than the possibility of a new Battle.net "map market" showing up in the middle of next year. And it all remains pure speculation, albeit speculation with a little more momentum thanks to the departure of Ye. In other words, I'm still not buying it, but I'm also going to pay a little more attention to what happens next.

via: BGR

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ok my 1st question is what is titan is that some sort of codename for a game there making?

Jim From Accounting:
ok my 1st question is what is titan is that some sort of codename for a game there making?

If this is to be believed - a HUGE if - it's the next-gen MMO they've been making for ages.

I'm personally still not buying it, but it's definitely become a bit more interesting.

John Funk:

Jim From Accounting:
ok my 1st question is what is titan is that some sort of codename for a game there making?

If this is to be believed - a HUGE if - it's the next-gen MMO they've been making for ages.

I'm personally still not buying it, but it's definitely become a bit more interesting.

Sounds good. Im guessing there going to pocked at for a bit for more information then.

Let's have a look...

I distinctly recall Blizzard mentioning a map market as part of their plans for Battle.net 2, so middle of next year seems as good a time as any. Unlocking Battle.net to 3rd parties is inevitable, but I would be surprised if it doesn't happen next year. Likewise, I can see Starcraft 2 Zerg expansion slipping into Q1 2012, as they were mooting an 18 month time frame. Diablo 3 Q4 2011 seems fair. No idea what SC2 Phoneix or WOW Brazil is (although I'd guess the latter is a version of WoW for Brazil). I'd say the turn-around time for Starcraft 2 Protoss expansion is optimistic, but the rest of the expansion dates are plausible. Of course, it begs the question what's the WoW TCG (isn't there one already?) and the WoW movie entries are for. I'd say the transitioning period around 2014 from WoW to New MMO is fair, assuming said new MMO gets off the ground (it probably will).

Aside from a few odd-ball entries, there's nothing outlandish I can see in the "leak". We are talking about Activision-Blizzard after all, two expansions for Diablo 3 seems par for the course all things considered.

Also, MMOGameSite is claiming that the resignation is due to this leak, thanks to the medium of another leak. Hmmm...

I'm far more interested in Titan. I hope it's the next MMO. I really really hope so.

Delusibeta:
Let's have a look...

I distinctly recall Blizzard mentioning a map market as part of their plans for Battle.net 2, so middle of next year seems as good a time as any. Unlocking Battle.net to 3rd parties is inevitable, but I would be surprised if it doesn't happen next year. Likewise, I can see Starcraft 2 Zerg expansion slipping into Q1 2012, as they were mooting an 18 month time frame. Diablo 3 Q4 2011 seems fair. No idea what SC2 Phoneix or WOW Brazil is (although I'd guess the latter is a version of WoW for Brazil). I'd say the turn-around time for Starcraft 2 Protoss expansion is optimistic, but the rest of the expansion dates are plausible. Of course, it begs the question what's the WoW TCG (isn't there one already?) and the WoW movie entries are for. I'd say the transitioning period around 2014 from WoW to New MMO is fair, assuming said new MMO gets off the ground (it probably will).

Aside from a few odd-ball entries, there's nothing outlandish I can see in the "leak". We are talking about Activision-Blizzard after all, two expansions for Diablo 3 seems par for the course all things considered.

Also, MMOGameSite is claiming that the resignation is due to this leak, thanks to the medium of another leak. Hmmm...

The few updates on the story make it seem realistic, and nothing is too out of scope like you said. I'm just going to believe it is true until proven otherwise just to be out of the norm. Plus "Titan" sounds like a Blizzard sorta name, it's at least powerful enough :P

It's a long way from being believable but as John said, this resignation makes things a whole lot more interesting. If Paul Sams really does clean house in Shanghai, Blizzard is going to have to either do some serious rumour control, or just fess up that the cat got out of the bag.

And if that turns out to be true, you can bet that it'll be a LONG time before Blizzard's Chinese office sees anything more informative than Blizzard's Twitter feed.

Andy Chalk:
Why would Blizzard, which still hasn't announced a release date for Diablo 3, commit on paper to having the second expansion ready for the end of 2014?

I remember what MMOChampion said about the Diablo 3 expansions was:

"Target release date in a year makes sense. The 2 expansions aren't really a surprise but I wouldn't take it as a confirmation, that's usually the kind of stuff you mention in company meetings with the higher-ups to make everyone happy."

Blizzard seriously do not fuck about when it comes to secrecy of information and such. However I think it might be stretching just a little far to say these two events are connected...maybe if we get another hint.

If this is to be believed then that pretty interesting news. The thing that seems a bit odd to my that if Titan is to be the new MMO, then why would they release a 5th WoW expansion at the same time?

What really scares me, is they have 2 planned expansion packs for WoW, if the list is to be believed. I'm still surprised anyone can find this game fun anymore, I've gotten just plain sick of it personally, and honestly they are running dry of interesting characters to kill off.

Its also weird for them to have the release for the 5th expansion to be released within the same period of time as this "Titan" thing, which may be their new MMO.

The list is a little on the old side though, its dated april 10th, 2010. SC2: Phoenix may simply be the old name for Hearts of the Swarm, or perhaps they originally thought of releasing the Protoss campaign, and that was going to be the name.

Though, if that's what it means, Titan could simply refer to the subject of the 5th WoW expansion, which is rather unsurprising.

Warcraft doesn't have enough villains left to support two more expansions.

The schedule for things we know, such as WoW expansion timing, is a bit early (1.5 years instead of 2 years apart) on that chart and a lot of things are being released at the same time (a WoW expansion and the launch of a brand new MMO in the same quarter) but for an internal shareholder meeting it looks certainly plausible. The two games in one quarter could just be, "We'll release one and delay the other" and the WoW expansion timing being off could be them saying it to make them happy now and then ask for more time later when it doesn't seem as a big a deal.

Delusibeta:
Of course, it begs the question what's the WoW TCG (isn't there one already?) and the WoW movie entries are for.

The WoW TCG (with Upper Deck iirc) contract ran out and currently it is frozen. Those plans are for a relaunch.

This is supposedly 6 months old and back then Sam Raimi was involved with the WoW movie around then (although it more recently has been put on hold)

The schedule actually makes a lot of sense if true. Starcraft 2, along with its expansions and possible spin-off, all stop releasing after Diablo 3 has been released, but before its first expansion and before the WoW expansion and Titan. Following those things there will be one more Diablo 3 expansion, and they'll have most everybody playing either WoW, Titan, or Diablo 3, depending on your addictive game of choice.

XinfiniteX:
If this is to be believed then that pretty interesting news. The thing that seems a bit odd to my that if Titan is to be the new MMO, then why would they release a 5th WoW expansion at the same time?

The little that they've told us about it suggests that it's very much different from WoW. A next-gen action MMO, and likely a shooter at that. Kind of like Planetside, but hopefully more polished. Which means they're trying to add different types of gamers to their fanbase. It wouldn't be in direct competition with WoW, and their hope is no doubt to get some people playing both WoW and "Titan" at the same time.

Xzi:
snip

XinfiniteX:
If this is to be believed then that pretty interesting news. The thing that seems a bit odd to my that if Titan is to be the new MMO, then why would they release a 5th WoW expansion at the same time?

The little that they've told us about it suggests that it's very much different from WoW. A next-gen action MMO, and likely a shooter at that. Kind of like Planetside, but hopefully more polished. Which means they're trying to add different types of gamers to their fanbase. It wouldn't be in direct competition with WoW, and their hope is no doubt to get some people playing both WoW and "Titan" at the same time.

A shooter would be pretty cool in an MMO format - especially if it's FPS. An MMOFPS would win me as a customer (not that that really matters to the as I already play WoW, SC2 and most definitely want D3!). I guess having two MMO's running would probably not be an issue. I mean they had Starcraft and Warcraft going at the same time in the same genre.

Marq:
Warcraft doesn't have enough villains left to support two more expansions.

Yeah there will be. As long as there are subscribers there will be expansions and villains can be easily added to the game.

OT: Until Bobby Kotick steps down as the CEO of Activision Blizzard I refuse to play any Blizzard game. To me, Kotick is just a money hungry asshole and I see no reason why my money should go to paying his huge salary. They basically turned WoW into a money printing machine through the use of microtransactions. In fact, the game has turned into a micro transaction machine. There's a mobile auction house whose features can only be accessed by paying money, there are exclusive pets, exclusive mounts, character faction change, character race change, server transfer available only to those who pay the necesarry fee. To be honest, giving that the game requires I pay 15 a month it should at least cover server and faction changes. It's not like they can't make money using the Blizzard store which has already netted them a fuckload of cash through the selling of those annoying pets and that one celestial mount.

cursedseishi:
What really scares me, is they have 2 planned expansion packs for WoW, if the list is to be believed. I'm still surprised anyone can find this game fun anymore, I've gotten just plain sick of it personally, and honestly they are running dry of interesting characters to kill off.

Its also weird for them to have the release for the 5th expansion to be released within the same period of time as this "Titan" thing, which may be their new MMO.

The list is a little on the old side though, its dated april 10th, 2010. SC2: Phoenix may simply be the old name for Hearts of the Swarm, or perhaps they originally thought of releasing the Protoss campaign, and that was going to be the name.

Though, if that's what it means, Titan could simply refer to the subject of the 5th WoW expansion, which is rather unsurprising.

That can't be right, because along with Starcraft X1 and Starcraft X2, Phoenix is on the list. Starcraft 2 has always been planned to have only two expansions. HotS and LotV, and those each hold the "X1" and "X2" slots respectively. Given that Blizzard has stated how they wish to get back into console gaming, Phoenix may be an action game in production to fill the void where Starcraft Ghost left off. However, since it is slated to release at virtually the same time as the first Starcraft expansion, my bet is on something smaller, like a PSP/DS game or maybe a game for mobile systems such as the Apple and Android phones/tablets.

In addendum, we've already known that Blizzard has been working on a next-gen action MMO based on a new IP for some time now. The likelihood that it is releasing some time past 2017 is minuscule. But whether this schedule is legit or not, "Titan" sounds like an appropriate code-name for the project, or maybe even a proper name altogether.

I don't think we need to be speculating on whether this information is true or not, but on how Blizzard will react to this.

If it is true, would they change they're release dates so that they are no longer predictable?

I await a better response from them, anyone know if they are under any pressure over this? Are the forums rampant about this leak?

If there isn't that big of a stir (besides the resignation) and the release dates are faked, then I don't see them doing anything about it.

So either I hope it is true or I hope the fan-base goes crazy enough for Blizzard to step in and give the final word. Either one of these would be fun to watch?

AndyFromMonday:

Marq:
Warcraft doesn't have enough villains left to support two more expansions.

Yeah there will be. As long as there are subscribers there will be expansions and villains can be easily added to the game.

OT: Until Bobby Kotick steps down as the CEO of Activision Blizzard I refuse to play any Blizzard game. To me, Kotick is just a money hungry asshole and I see no reason why my money should go to paying his huge salary. They basically turned WoW into a money printing machine through the use of microtransactions. In fact, the game has turned into a micro transaction machine. There's a mobile auction house whose features can only be accessed by paying money, there are exclusive pets, exclusive mounts, character faction change, character race change, server transfer available only to those who pay the necesarry fee. To be honest, giving that the game requires I pay 15 a month it should at least cover server and faction changes. It's not like they can't make money using the Blizzard store which has already netted them a fuckload of cash through the selling of those annoying pets and that one celestial mount.

There can never be enough money, if you had that kind of money you'd probably want it never to end, if you could get fed up with cash Blizzard would be giving away free shit and wouldn't charge for the game at all.

Who Dares Wins:

AndyFromMonday:

Marq:
Warcraft doesn't have enough villains left to support two more expansions.

Yeah there will be. As long as there are subscribers there will be expansions and villains can be easily added to the game.

OT: Until Bobby Kotick steps down as the CEO of Activision Blizzard I refuse to play any Blizzard game. To me, Kotick is just a money hungry asshole and I see no reason why my money should go to paying his huge salary. They basically turned WoW into a money printing machine through the use of microtransactions. In fact, the game has turned into a micro transaction machine. There's a mobile auction house whose features can only be accessed by paying money, there are exclusive pets, exclusive mounts, character faction change, character race change, server transfer available only to those who pay the necesarry fee. To be honest, giving that the game requires I pay 15 a month it should at least cover server and faction changes. It's not like they can't make money using the Blizzard store which has already netted them a fuckload of cash through the selling of those annoying pets and that one celestial mount.

There can never be enough cash, if you had that kind of money you'd probably want it never to end, if you could get fed up with cash, Blizzard would be giving away free shit and wouldn't charge for the game at all.

Good for them. If I was in their place I'd restructure the entire company and get Kotick fired ASAP before the entire world realizes what they're doing. A friendly image always sells better in the long term, whilst a "bad" image tends to sell good on the short term.

Everything about this seems about right time line wise. Not sure what's not to believe about this exactly.

AndyFromMonday:
-snip-
Good for them. If I was in their place I'd restructure the entire company and get Kotick fired ASAP before the entire world realizes what they're doing. A friendly image always sells better in the long term, whilst a "bad" image tends to sell good on the short term.

That's absolutely correct with already existing examples, I'd do that too. They probably wouldn't want to be nicknamed Bli$$ard and Activi$on.

AndyFromMonday:

Who Dares Wins:

AndyFromMonday:

Yeah there will be. As long as there are subscribers there will be expansions and villains can be easily added to the game.

OT: Until Bobby Kotick steps down as the CEO of Activision Blizzard I refuse to play any Blizzard game. To me, Kotick is just a money hungry asshole and I see no reason why my money should go to paying his huge salary. They basically turned WoW into a money printing machine through the use of microtransactions. In fact, the game has turned into a micro transaction machine. There's a mobile auction house whose features can only be accessed by paying money, there are exclusive pets, exclusive mounts, character faction change, character race change, server transfer available only to those who pay the necesarry fee. To be honest, giving that the game requires I pay 15 a month it should at least cover server and faction changes. It's not like they can't make money using the Blizzard store which has already netted them a fuckload of cash through the selling of those annoying pets and that one celestial mount.

There can never be enough cash, if you had that kind of money you'd probably want it never to end, if you could get fed up with cash, Blizzard would be giving away free shit and wouldn't charge for the game at all.

Good for them. If I was in their place I'd restructure the entire company and get Kotick fired ASAP before the entire world realizes what they're doing. A friendly image always sells better in the long term, whilst a "bad" image tends to sell good on the short term.

Unfortunately, that's not true. The old adage that any buzz is good buzz holds firm to this day. Even if everybody in the gaming community hates Kotick, and Blizzard's games by extension, they talk about these things constantly. Which means you're hearing about them constantly. And whether what you're hearing is positive or negative, the chances of you buying a product based on either are about the same.

That's why developers and publishers really could care less about the image they paint for themselves. What they do for their individual games they hold to be more important. Which is also smart because the majority of people who buys games like Black Ops don't pay attention to what Activision is doing or saying.

Marq:
Warcraft doesn't have enough villains left to support two more expansions.

Im pretty sure they do.
The Old gods.
The Titans.
The Dark Titan. I forgot his name.
Whatever that caused the emerald dream to corrupt.
Those Dragons that are trying to change the time.

Exort:

Marq:
Warcraft doesn't have enough villains left to support two more expansions.

Im pretty sure they do.
The Old gods.
The Titans.
The Dark Titan. I forgot his name.
Whatever that caused the emerald dream to corrupt.
Those Dragons that are trying to change the time.

Don't forget the Burning Legion, that's still a threat.
I mean Outlands was only a fraction of Draenor. They could expand on that massivley.
And there is always creating new Villains, no?

The timing for the movie seems... odd. Mid-cycle.. why not time the movie with the x-pack?

Titan is almost certainly the mystery MMO that Blizzard has been planning. Interesting that it's still so far out.

Also interesting that they're planning such a long life cycle for D3 - an exp. pack every 2 years? Yes, D2 was big, and has had long legs, but as the lawyers say - past performance is not indicative of future gains.

Dialbo, Starcraft, WoW, some new project... Yet no Warcraft 4...

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

I don't think this is completely accurate. Blizzard has gone on record saying that they are making a Warcraft 4 after they produce Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 completely and its not on the list. And it really wouldn't make sense to be Titan because WC is an established series, there's no reason to have it be a secret to it's own company...

The release dates on that chart seem solid, atleast from a speculative perspective I think.

D3 around 2012 possibly Winter 2011 omgomgomgomgomgomgomgogomgogmogmogmogmogogmogmogmogmgomgomgogmgo.

But let's be realistic here, add 5 years to each green dot and this thing is legit.

cursedseishi:
What really scares me, is they have 2 planned expansion packs for WoW, if the list is to be believed. I'm still surprised anyone can find this game fun anymore, I've gotten just plain sick of it personally, and honestly they are running dry of interesting characters to kill off.

Its also weird for them to have the release for the 5th expansion to be released within the same period of time as this "Titan" thing, which may be their new MMO.

The list is a little on the old side though, its dated april 10th, 2010. SC2: Phoenix may simply be the old name for Hearts of the Swarm, or perhaps they originally thought of releasing the Protoss campaign, and that was going to be the name.

Though, if that's what it means, Titan could simply refer to the subject of the 5th WoW expansion, which is rather unsurprising.

No, I think you're reading this wrong. It's very clearly labelled and easy to understand.

The Xs are expansions. Starcraft X1 is Heart, X2 is Protoss. Phoenix is another product (could be a movie or anything other than a game) according to the list.

I think it makes sense if Titan and WoW 5X would release at the same time. Blizzard does not want to compete against itself, my guess is that they'll have cross game subscriptions, with plans that give you both games for cheaper. 5x could be another interesting WoW addition that makes people come back for more while also signing up for Titan (which, c'mon, has got to be the 'big' MMO). On this list Titan has no relation to WoW, since every game is grouped together.

I mean, if this list is to be believed, that is.

Boxinatorizore:

Exort:

Marq:
Warcraft doesn't have enough villains left to support two more expansions.

Im pretty sure they do.
The Old gods.
The Titans.
The Dark Titan. I forgot his name.
Whatever that caused the emerald dream to corrupt.
Those Dragons that are trying to change the time.

Don't forget the Burning Legion, that's still a threat.
I mean Outlands was only a fraction of Draenor. They could expand on that massivley.
And there is always creating new Villains, no?

The Titans are "good guys" i think and the Dark Titan, Sargeras is the leader of the Burning legion. So two more expansions kinda make sense. Also i think WoW Brazil is just the Portuguese localization of WoW, could be wrong there but it makes sense.

Anyhoo, Titan... would love to hear more about this, hopefully this "leak" will force blizzard to give us a little more info, although chances are we'll have to wait till next blizzcon.

Eeeeeh, it sounds almost nerd-gasm worthy IF it is real but something in that MMOgamsite.com makes me still think this is nothing more than a rumor. The sentence "A gamer, speaking on terms of anonymity..." that makes me think this isn't anything real. I can still hope though.

Brotherofwill:

cursedseishi:
What really scares me, is they have 2 planned expansion packs for WoW, if the list is to be believed. I'm still surprised anyone can find this game fun anymore, I've gotten just plain sick of it personally, and honestly they are running dry of interesting characters to kill off.

Its also weird for them to have the release for the 5th expansion to be released within the same period of time as this "Titan" thing, which may be their new MMO.

The list is a little on the old side though, its dated april 10th, 2010. SC2: Phoenix may simply be the old name for Hearts of the Swarm, or perhaps they originally thought of releasing the Protoss campaign, and that was going to be the name.

Though, if that's what it means, Titan could simply refer to the subject of the 5th WoW expansion, which is rather unsurprising.

No, I think you're reading this wrong. It's very clearly labelled and easy to understand.

The Xs are expansions. Starcraft X1 is Heart, X2 is Protoss. Phoenix is another product (could be a movie or anything other than a game) according to the list.

I think it makes sense if Titan and WoW 5X would release at the same time. Blizzard does not want to compete against itself, my guess is that they'll have cross game subscriptions, with plans that give you both games for cheaper. 5x could be another interesting WoW addition that makes people come back for more while also signing up for Titan (which, c'mon, has got to be the 'big' MMO). On this list Titan has no relation to WoW, since every game is grouped together.

I mean, if this list is to be believed, that is.

Note I said "may", I was running with the idea that it MAY have a connection with games releasing at the same point since its several months old. I read, and understood it loud and clear. I even stated that Titan could possibly be their big hush-hush new MMO.

And I doubt they'd want to try such a thing, they've stated before (though its hard to ever take Blizzards word) that the game will be very different from WoW, an entirely new IP as well. If they don't want to compete against themselves, it would simply be smarter to sell the 5th expansion months before the Holiday season, so they can plant their new MMO for a holiday release. People will buy WoW crap any time of the year.

WTB Higher-res image of the Production Slate.

 

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