Rob Pardo forms Bonfire Studios with Josh Mosqueira and other Blizzard leavers

Rob Pardo Bonfire StudiosRob Pardo departed Blizzard back in July 2014 and has been taking a break but he’s now returning to game development with a few familiar faces. The new studio is called Bonfire Studios.

Josh Mosqueira, who has been hailed as saving Diablo 3 as the game’s second game director, has joined Rob along with Matthew Versluys who was director of BattleNet Engineering and Nick Carpenter who was the vice president of art and cinematic development at Blizzard.


According to the announcement on the New York Times, the studio does not have a game in development yet but they have been funded by RIOT Games and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

A new website has just been launched and a blog post explains their goals.

The most important part of our quest is WHY are we doing this? We can’t say we are going to Mount Doom to save the world, but we do think deeply about what we love about games. One of the most rewarding parts of creating any game, be it a D&D campaign or a massive persistent world, is the connection you have to the players themselves. You get to see the player’s reactions, you get to respond to them and make their experience better over time. It’s like the warmth of friends around a bonfire, sharing stories.

And that’s why we named our studio BONFIRE. The bonfire is a metaphor for the experiences we wish to create. We want friends to connect through our games and share amazing experiences, tell the stories, and come closer together.

To ensure our developers have a big impact we are organizing them into small but powerful and diverse superhero teams, like the Avengers. We believe you can create epic games with small teams of talented, self-driven game developers, where each team is deeply connected to their players and empowered to make the best decisions to evolve their game without bureaucracies, committees or middle management in their way.

To give us the ability to operate with independence and create the games we want, we had to find amazing investors. If we are going to create a superhero team, we needed our version of Shield. After all, superhero bases are not free. But we needed more than financial backing, we wanted true partners that could give us sage advice about the road ahead, connect us to future partners and most importantly who share our vision for Bonfire Studios.

We are extremely fortunate to find our partners in Riot Games and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Riot’s aspiration to be the most player-focused game company in the world, aligns very nicely with our vision to build friendships through our online games. With a16z, we found a treasure trove of experienced entrepreneurs that have a wealth of knowledge about how to create a great and enduring company.

Thanks PC Invasion.

Tagged As: , | Categories: Ex-Blizzard


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  1. Where is Bill Roper?

    • He was the corporate choice, not the artists choice, iirc. And even if he is included, he still wouldn’t be a favorable name to mention, yet. Also: Ain’t he said he’d be concentrating on writing?

  2. I expect more faces from Blizzard will be showing up there sooner or later.

    • Yep. And history is gonna repeat itself. The Game is gonna shit itself. The Company is gonna shit itself. Of course that shit is gonna be endlessly hyped. Looking forward to it

      • Yeah, I can only wish them being better setup financially from the start, than Flagship. Or else they may fall into the same trap of having to adhere to the timetable of investor or publisher: Not able to take the time to get out the kinks and polish the game, while still being in the “finished, when it’s finished”-mindset that Blizzards ressources had allowed previously. (Hellgate would have become great, if Flagship would have just had the money available, to develop and polish the game just a year longer and NCSoft wouldn’t have been in their necks regarding release …)

  3. Can’t wait to see what’ll happen. The team Pardo has assembled are all decorated veterans of the industry. Maybe they’ll make something great.

  4. In before “Rob Pardo is gonna make you his bitch”.

  5. Funny, I was just thinking about Hellgate: London the other day.

  6. lol… Chris Metzen just announced he is retiring from Blizzard.

    • Meh, I wouldn’t read too much into this. Here’s what it says:
      “The reason I use the word “retire” is because I’m not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that. It’s been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it’s time to slow it down. Rest. Lay around on the couch and get fat. Well, fatter.…

      Seriously though, I’ll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They’re the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really live…to love my wife with all my strength…that’s my career now.”

      In other words he made bank, being one of the original employees of Blizzard, and so is retiring early. I’m not sure he’d ever go back into games, if he leaves Blizzard and the industry for 5-10 years, it’d be hard to go back and capture the magic again. But he could go into comics, or writing, or any sort of creative career like that.

    • [quote]
      It’s a massive change for me, but it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. It’s ironic given the fact that things have never been better or more energized at Blizzard. Just this year alone has been incredible.

      Legion’s arrival.
      The launch of Overwatch.
      The Warcraft feature film.

      I’ve never been more proud of Blizzard and the quality of its products than I am now. It’s remarkable that even after all these years we can still reach new heights and take the world for an amazing ride.

      wasn’t the warcraft film pretty much a flop ?

      • In the US it did terribly, but it did very well overseas, especially China.

        It’s hard to know if Blizzard were predicting that, and whether they actually tooled the film to appeal to the Chinese audience in particular.

        But regardless of how well it did, it’s a big year for the employees of Blizzard (of which Chris was one) because they would have spent a lot of time working on it.

      • Nope, it definitely wasn’t a flop. It did what it set out to do; please the fans with a film they will appreciate and also introduce the warcraft universe to lots of non-fans. It’s got a 7.2 user score on IMDB and an 8.3 user score on metacritic. Sadly the movie is based on a game and is also very high fantasy with lots of magical spells and handwavy gestures which most critics in hollywood have some kind of weird aversion to or something. I for one am fucking happy to finally see some amazing magical effects in such a high budget film!

  7. There’s one thing that matters, how are they going to milk the cash teet of the players. Past that, I don’t really care.

  8. “And that’s why we named our studio BONFIRE. The bonfire is a metaphor for the experiences we wish to create. We want friends to connect through our games and share amazing experiences, tell the stories, and come closer together.”
    another everquest clone or onlineCCG? ugh I dont like Rob Pardo.

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