Much debate today about this image, originally posted on a Chinese MMO site, purportedly from a Blizzard internal document. It shows their projected game and other project release dates for the next several years. We’re fairly skeptical about the provenance of this, but take a look and see what you think. There’s already an, with most people taking an, “I’m skeptical, but it’s good enough to want to believe in just so I can discuss it.”
We’ve added the image to our Release Dates gallery, for lack of anywhere better to assign it, and thanks to Unparallel for the forum tip and Dana Ward, amongst others, for emailing word of it.
Just for the sake of the argument, I’ll make a few comments taking the chart at face value.
The first thing to remember is that Blizzard always misses their release date projections. Which is why they no longer voice them publicly, until they’re absolutely positive they can make them. And even then things go wrong, as happened with Starcraft2 drifting out of 2009 and into mid-2010, after numerous assurances that the beta would start in 2009. So yes, it’s tempting to believe this and expect that Diablo III will be out in late 2011, but even if this were an official document back in April when it’s dated, that still wouldn’t guarantee a D3 DVD case under your tree come next December.
As for the rest… anyone could have made this up. It’s no stretch to predict SC2, D3, and WoW expansions coming out every 18 months. I’d be shocked if that didn’t happen. The two interesting tidbits are the “new” projects listed; “Starcraft: Phoenix” and “Titan.” SC Phoenix is a mystery, but clearly it’s not a game, not with a release date in less than a year, at the same time as the first SC2 expansion. The WoW movie is listed, but no other comic books or mangas or novels are, so it’s probably not something like that. Could be something bigger; like a Starcraft animated TV show? Maybe some kind of smart phone/B.net synch application? A new SC tournament system for Korea?
Titan is obviously the code name for their still secret Next-Gen MMO, and the late 2013 date for that is the single thing on the chart that I’m most skeptical of. At this year’s Blizzcon Rob Pardo confirmed that they would not be announcing that title until at least 2012. And if you believe that Blizzard would launch a whole new IP MMORPG little more than a year after announcing it in the first place… you’ll believe any release date chart you find online?