Colossal Chinese publisher Tencent has founded a new studio with the modest goal of creating the next StarCraft—so naturally, it's brought on two former Blizzard developers to make it happen.
Spending much of his time at Blizzard on StarCraft 2 before moving onto Warcraft and Diablo, lead designer David Kim is one of two Blizzard veterans heading up Tencent's new LA-based Uncapped Games. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab), Kim called the offer an "opportunity of a lifetime", fulfilling a long-held desire to return to real-time strategy.
"I've always wanted to take a shot at another RTS game for a very long time now, maybe close to a decade," said Kim. "If we're making a sequel to an RTS, there are some things that have to be in that game to make it a sequel. But if we make it a brand new game, it opens up more possibilities on the game design side to be able to execute what we want to execute the best. That's the advantage we have here, I think."
Kim is joined by lead producer Jason Hughes, who comes out of lead producer roles on Diablo 3 and 4 (and before that, the criminally underappreciated Hawken (opens in new tab)). He added that there's "a lot of RTS interest" at Tencent—especially from the CEO, who "really just wants us to make a great game".
It's an ambitious dream, especially given the dire situation the genre finds itself in. The high point of the RTS was decades ago, and it's telling that StarCraft 2, now over a decade old, remains one of the most popular. Last year Fraser asked "can real-time strategy come back from the brink of death?" and didn't have much confidence. But who knows? Maybe Uncapped Games will be the one to change that.
Besides founding new studios, Tencent has been on an investment spree in recent years. The publishing giant put money into over 31 studios last year (opens in new tab), and recently bought a majority stake (opens in new tab) in Spec Ops: The Line developer Yager.