Whoops: Blizzard leaked the name of the next Hearthstone expansion on a t-shirt

Hearthstone t-shirt leak: Showdown in the Badlands
(Image credit: Blizzard)

It's not cool when a retailer leak blows a big game announcement. Just ask Bethesda, which saw its surprise Rage 2 announcement spoiled by an errant Walmart Canada listing. (I bet Pete Hines is still steamed about that.) But you know what might be even more frustrating? When your own gear store does it.

That seems to be what's happened with the next Hearthstone expansion: As noticed and captured by Hearthpwn, a t-shirt for something called Hearthstone: Showdown in the Badlands appeared on the official Blizzard store recently. 

The Badlands, as the Warcraft wiki explains, is an arid, desolate region in Khaz Modan, where "only the hardiest of creatures can survive." It's traditionally viewed as Horde territory but the Alliance has a presence as well, but it really doesn't sound like there's a whole lot going on for either side because it's such an unpleasant place.

The leaked listing, which has since been taken down, doesn't say anything about the presumed new Hearthstone expansion, but the t-shirt itself might hint at what's coming. The art is based on American Gothic, a very famous, oft-parodied 1930 painting by Grant Wood that's generally viewed as a somewhat grim reflection of the hard-bitten resilience of rural farmers in the American midwest—not the sort of thing that would be out of place in a Hearthstone-ified take on the Badlands.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Following the leak, the official Hearthstone Twitter account dropped another hint: Silhouettes of spurred boots. Coupled with the leaked t-shirt image (don't overlook the cacti in the background of the Showdown in the Badlands logo) and it sure looks like something themed after tales of the Old West—the American Frontier!—is on the way.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

I've reached out to Blizzard for comment on the leak, but have not yet received a reply. I strongly suspect it'll remain that way until BlizzCon, which is now just a few weeks away: This year's event returns to in-person action on November 3 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.