MSNBC Interviews Rob Pardo of Starcraft Fame

Posted by | May 31, 2007

Right now MSNBC.com is running an interview with Rob Pardo, Blizzard Entertainment’s vice president of game design.

He speaks about the extremely long cycle of development that Blizzard is well known for, and in no small bit how they have whet our appetites but keep the banquet elaborately secret. It has long been known that Blizzard works on their own time, a slow but inexorable behemoth, acting with the very eldritch magics of the universe to brew games of worldwide popularity.

The lock and key of their strange machinations may not be laid bare by the interview, but it does give some insight into the development processes that lead us to these wonderful offerings.

 

That’s a pretty long development cycle, if you started work on “StarCraft II” in 2003.

Different companies have different philosophies on how long they spend on products. I think we…have smaller development teams than other companies in the industry, and that turns into longer development cycles. We’re very iterative in our approach to game development. We can really look at the game and make really big decisions on redoing whole aspects of the game.

“Warcraft III” as an example: About two years in, we overhauled a large portion of the game because we just felt like we were going in the wrong direction. We’re able to do that because we have smaller teams and we give ourselves time to iterate through the product. You see a lot of companies that are so focused on the release date that they put 100-person, 200-person teams together to hit that date, and at that point you’re really the runaway train. You have to hit that date and live with decisions that you might not have been 100 percent happy with. We take the opposite approach.


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