Blizzard Confirms it Has No Standout Releases Planned for This Year
Don't expect anything huge from Blizzard before the end of this year said the company's president.
In the midst of yesterday’s unfortunate news dealing with the layoffs at Activision-Blizzard, more information about upcoming releases for 2019 were divulged during the publisher’s earnings call.
Specifically, Blizzard’s president Collister Johnson announced that the company has no major releases planned for the 2019 calendar year. “We expect materially lower financial performance this year. 2018 benefited from the release of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, whereas we are not planning a major frontline release for 2019,” Johnson said during the call.
At the moment, it’s hard to know just what a “major frontline release” is defined as according to Johnson. Currently, Blizzard has in development World of Warcraft Classic, Warcraft 3 Reforged, and Diablo Immortal, the much-maligned mobile take on the Diablo series. As of now, it seems likely that all of these releases would hit some time this year, but it’s hard to know if Blizzard internally considers them major games. Two of these aforementioned titles are simply remastered editions of older games, while Diablo Immortal, as mentioned, is just a mobile title. It seems likely that these three games could still release in 2019 and Johnson’s statement would still hold true.
What this message does surely mean though is that we shouldn’t expect any major sequels or new iterations of classic IP at any point this year. Specifically, if you were holding out hope for Diablo 4, which was rumored to be revealed last year at BlizzCon 2018 before a last-second change of plans, then you should probably dash those hopes. New content for continuing properties like Overwatch will still surely arrive throughout the year, but anything major other than standard content updates seem out of the question. At best, maybe we’ll finally get a formal reveal for something like Diablo 4 later this year at BlizzCon 2019.
It’s going to be a much quieter year for Blizzard as a whole it seems, but that doesn’t mean the developers at the company aren’t toiling away on something. In fact, yesterday’s earnings call also revealed that Activision-Blizzard would be pouring more assets into the development side of their teams, so it seems like doubling down on active development projects is where the publisher is placing its attention.
Even though things will surely be quieter this year on the whole with Blizzard, we should learn more about what some of these upcoming new projects should be as we move through 2019.