During the summer of 2008, shortly after Diablo 3 debuted at the Paris WWI event, three senior members of the Diablo 3 design team; Keith Lee, Brian Morrisroe, and Sam Christiansen, left the company to found iPhone ap company BooYAH. Since Brian Morrisroe was the Art Director, the man “to blame” for the early, very colorful look of Diablo 3, conspiracy theories sprung up that the departed devs had been fired over the Art Controversy.
The three departed denied it, as did everyone at Blizzard who ever commented on it, but since when do denials stop conspiracy theorizing? At any rate, BooYah’s Iphone ap “My Town” has gotten quite popular, and Keith Lee was interviewed about it, and the founding of his company, at last weekend’s GDC show. Here’s the quote:
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Tuaw.com: So you guys left Blizzard and formed your own company. How long ago was that? And let us know why as well.
Keith Lee: So after announcing Diablo III in Paris, my two co-founders, Brian [Morrisroe] and Sam [Christiansen], we left Blizzard because we were just inspired by the idea of doing something that was based on the real world. And we thought that the advent of smartphones and cameras, as well as GPS would give us an interesting opportunity to expose a lot of the game mechanics that we learned working at Blizzard doing everything from World of Warcraft to Diablo, but to apply it to a big audience. So that’s what excited us, not just drive people to play hundreds of hours to get an epic sword on a PC, but to drive them to actually spend hundreds of hours to level up in the real world, and that can be as simple as leveling up by going to a fitness place, or by leveling up in music by doing stuff at a concert with your friends. So that’s what really excited us.
The mission for our company is to create new experiences for the masses by intersecting the real world and the virtual world. We launched a year and a half ago, and we’re based in San Francisco, and we’ve launched our most recent app, called MyTown. MyTown now is the most popular location-based mobile game.