Last week, Blizzard announced that development of StarCraft 2 is winding down (opens in new tab). It wasn't a particularly shocking announcement—StarCraft 2 is 10 years old, after all—but it was very much an end-of-an-era moment for a seminal RTS and esport.
In an amusing and almost certainly coincidental bit of timing, a group of former Blizzard developers including a number of StarCraft 2 veterans unveiled a new studio today called Frost Giant Studios (opens in new tab), with a website featuring these all-caps words plastered across the top: REAL-TIME STRATEGY RETURNS.
"Our mission is to build the next great PC real-time strategy game!" the site says. "We've been privileged to work for some of the greatest companies in the industry. Now it's our turn to carry forward the legacy of epic storytelling, innovative co-op gameplay, and celebrated esports that make RTS great."
The current team includes:
- Tim Morten, production director and CEO (Former Production Director of StarCraft 2 and C&C: Generals 2)
- Tim Campbell, game director and president (Former Game Director of Wasteland 3, Lead Campaign Designer of Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne)
- Cara LaForge, Business Operations Lead (Former Senior Program Manager at Blizzard Esports, co-founder of DayTV)
- Jesse Brophy, Art Director (Former Lead Artist on StarCraft 2 and Principal Artist on Diablo 4)
- Ryan Schutter, Lead UX Designer (Former Lead Designer on StarCraft 2, creator of GameHeart)
- Kevin Dong, Lead Co-Op Designer (Former Lead Co-Op Designer on StarCraft 2, Project Manager for Team Liquid)
- Joseph Shunk, Lead Client Engineer (Former Gameplay Engineer on StarCraft 2 and Warcraft 3: Reforged)
- Austin Hudelson, Lead Server Engineer (Former Server Engineer for StarCraft 2)
- Micky Neilson, Writer (external) (Former Publishing Lead and Senior Writer at Blizzard, author of two NY Times Best Selling novels)
Morten told VentureBeat (opens in new tab) that he decided he had a better shot at creating an all-new RTS outside of Blizzard—not because Blizzard doesn't care about the genre anymore, but because it has too many other things going on. And it seems to be off to a strong start: The site says Frost Giant has raised $4.7 million to finance its first game.
"I knew that it was time for me to move on from Blizzard, and I saw I was in parallel exploring if it was possible to raise funding for a new RTS," Morten said. "It's incredible to me how that funding ecosystem for games has grown and continues to flourish."
Specifics (or even just vague generalities) haven't been revealed yet, but it sounds like the studio aims to stick with what it knows: The Frost Giant site says it doesn't aim to "radically re-invent" the genre, but will "instead build upon what's already great. RTS can evolve, but it doesn't need to become something fundamentally different."