The highly regarded ex-lead designer at World of Warcraft, Rob Pardow has announced his next venture – Bonfire Studios.
Two years ago Mr Pardow ended his 17 year career at Blizzard and has mainly spent the time building a new home, which is apparently a nerd’s paradise. Aside from that he has held a position of adviser to games developers at Unity.
Such a talented man couldn’t stay out of the game indefinitely though.
Former chief executive of Electronic Arts (EA), John Riccitiello, commented on Pardow, stating that “There’s always a lot of hands on success. I’ve been in the industry long enough to know that just about everybody credits him with the product,”.
World of Warcraft, the game to which he was lead designer, is the most successful game ever made. The MMORPG has racked up almost £13bn in earnings since its release, 12 years ago. Over the 12 years World of Warcraft has seen 100m+ unique players, peaked at over 12 million monthly subs and revolutionised the gaming industry.
Alongside that he has worked on the wildly popular Starcraft and Diablo III titles. Not bad for the old CV, eh?
It seems not. He’s already managed to attract $25m of investment for Bonfire Studios, and the backing of another gaming giant in Riot Games.
The chief executive and co-founder of Riot Games, Brandon Beck is confident of success for Bonfire. He said, “We have a lot of confidence they’re going to build something fantastic,”.
The only thing we know for certain about what’s happening at Bonfire, is that they’re not working on a game at the minute.
This wont come as a huge suprise, it’d probably be niave to think they might have started anything yet.
He’s brought in Nick Carpenter, Josh Mosqueira and Matthew Versluys from Blizzard as well as Min Kim from Nexon, as the fellow founding members.
The inspiration for Bonfire comes from Hearthstone, a game created by a small team of designers. Pardow sights the elimination of layers of management and the involvement of the whole team in the designing process as key to the games huge success. Clearly something he is looking to replicate in his new venture.
They also state they want to build friendships through the games they create where players can “share amazing experiences, tell the stories, and come closer together.”.
Here was my initial worry. Having the best creative team and bundles of cash is all well and good but for a game to succed, sometimes unfortunatley, they need the layers of management. I’d love to live in a world where marketing wasn’t as important as content, but unfortuanelty don’t.
It looks like Bonfire will lean on partners Riot in this respect though. They refer to them as the Shield to their Avengers. Pardow writes about how he has found in Riot Games, and a16z, exactly what he was looking for. Which were “partners that could give us sage advice about the road ahead, connect us to future partners…”.
I for one cannot wait to see what they produce.