World of Warcraft lead designer announces Bonfire Studios

Rob Pardo gathers ex-Blizzard all-stars with $25 million joint investment.

After 17 years of service, ex-World of Warcraft lead designer Rob Pardo parted ways with Blizzard in 2014. He’s been relatively quiet since, however has now unveiled Bonfire Studios—a new indie outfit comprised of ex-Blizzard colleagues and ex-Nexon CEO Min Kim. According the New York Times, the startup has received a $25 million joint investment from venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz and Riot Games.

Pardo’s ex-Blizzard colleagues include Matthew Versluys, Nick Carpenter and Josh Mosqueira—the latter of which was once creative director of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. Versluys is also the ex-director of, thus it seems Pardo has formed quite the all-star team. “To ensure our developers have a big impact we are organizing them into small but powerful and diverse superhero teams, like the Avengers,” says Pardo in a Medium blog post.   

As yet, Bonfire Studios hasn’t revealed its debut project, however has made clear its mission statement. "Game developers live the dream scenario where passion meets work," the Medium post adds. "We don't view our week as something to get through so we can really live on the weekend. But often, developers must compromise and decide - do I work on a blockbuster game where I have less personal impact or the gutsy indie studio that struggles to get noticed? Our vision is to create a studio that doesn't require them to choose.

"To give us the ability to operate with independence and create the games we want, we had to find amazing investors. If we are going to create a superhero team, we needed our version of Shield. After all, superhero bases are not free. But we needed more than financial backing, we wanted true partners that could give us sage advice about the road ahead, connect us to future partners and most importantly who share our vision for Bonfire Studios.”

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