No, it’s not a quote from anyone at Blizzard, though it’s understandable if you assumed that it was. It’s actually the title of a news item on The Escapist, which paraphrases an admission by Square-Enix CEO and President Yoichi Wada. Their next big title is Final Fantasy XIII, which is due next year, more than 5 years after FF12. There’s also an obligatory Duke Nukem ForNever reference, and Blizzard gets a mention in the article to, for obvious reasons:
On the other hand, while five years is a bit uncomfortably long to be working on a game, it could be worse. After taking five years to release Half-Life 2, Valve spent almost eight years in development of Team Fortress 2, announcing the game back in 1998 and releasing it in 2007. Development on StarCraft II started back in 2003 after the release of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, and Diablo III has been under development in one form or another since Lord of Destruction came out in 2001.
It’s actually worse than that. As we detailed on the comprehensively-researched Diablo III History page, a fair number of Blizzard North employees were working on D3 back in 2000, long before D2X was completed.
So here’s the question, then. Does Blizzard take too long to make games? The unofficial company motto is, “When it’s done.” and their track record of success is hard to argue with. But imagine they’d avoided all of the project restarts and Blizzard North’s crash and all the rest. We could have seen Diablo 3 in 2005, and by now we’d be all be eagerly awaiting Diablo 4! It’s impossible to imagine, but what if Blizzard turned out sequels in 3 or 4 years, instead of 7 or 8? Would the games be just as good? What if they were a little less fun—would you take games that were 75% as detailed and replayable, if the wait between titles was half as long?