After a rocky few months in 2018, fans are being left disappointed with the ongoing progress for Blizzard on their upcoming slate of titles. And coming off of the heels of various controversies, like the confirmation yesterday that Activision-Blizzard would be sacking 800 employees, those keeping tabs on the mega-publisher are wondering what’s next for the company.
Today, during a publisher earnings call, Activision confirmed the slate of upcoming games from Blizzard, which was conspicuously lacking in new mainline releases, at least according to the company itself.
“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,” Blizzard’s president Collister Johnson said during the call. This statement is followed by pledges by the publisher to put even more financial assets into its active development teams. This statement seems perplexing when considered with the aforementioned lack of a major frontline release, because it’s hard to tell what Blizzard considers such a release to be.
The company currently has World of Warcraft Classic, Warcraft 3 Reforged and the much-despised Diablo Immortal in the pipeline. Those first two are directly being handled by Blizzard teams and should soak up a fair amount of development time and assets and could be argued as major releases, so it’s confusing as to what this company is planning and how they’re prioritizing their releases. That is all of course assuming these projects release in 2019.
Because if they don’t there’s going to be some really angry fans. A lot of people are still holding out hope for Diablo 4, or at least something better than a mobile exclusive, but I wouldn’t hold your breath over something like that happening. And while we’ll have to wait until BlizzCon 2019 to see if there’s any news on the major games front, new content for continuing properties like Overwatch will still be released this year.
And even though things will surely continue to be massively successful for Blizzard, let’s hope that the company can turn around its public image and labor relations, because yikes.