GamesIndustry.bix has posted a solid interview with Blizzard’s VP of International, Michael Ryder. The interview is focused on WoW and the MMORPG market in general, but there’s some interesting (if fairly PR-speak) discussion of Blizzard’s game design philosophy, and why delays aren’t necessarily a bad thing. A quote:
Q: It’s an expensive business, the MMO business – where does innovation come from now? When you’ve got something working really well, how do you justify the spending?
Michael Ryder: I don’t think that innovation for us is necessarily a choice. I think the way that Blizzard operates, we look at players’ need, quality, gameplay… all those things that are critically important. We put those at the top of the list, and we’ve got some really talented people in development who are always looking for some good ideas.
It’s not just development either, it’s all the services we provide – we look for things we can do to make the experience better. I think we make a big attempt to listen to what the players have to say, and suggestions they might have on areas they feel we do better on.
So one of the innovations we’ve made recently is using mobile devices for access to the Armory, using mobile devices for authentication – I think that’s the beginning of a trend, perhaps, where we look at using mobile devices to make it easier for players to interface with the game. That’s an area of innovation that comes naturally – the technology’s there, the platform’s there.
Definitely when we’re looking at creating more content, that’s the thing that drives continued interest in World of Warcraft, that we continually come out with content – and it won’t be compelling if it’s routine, or mundane. If you don’t find ways to innovate in gameplay and offer some really new creative stuff, people are going to lose interest.
So I think innovation for us is a mandate – we have to keep doing interesting things in order to expect people to continue to enjoy the game.