It’s a secret! I can give you the old Blizzard mantra of: “It’ll ship when it’s ready,” but it’s something that historically, we’ve learned to keep release dates really close to the vest. I think all game developers are extremely optimistic, and we used to give optimistic dates and we’d disappoint our fans when we didn’t hit them. So now, I think we’ve just gotten more gun shy. The only thing I can give you [that’s] concrete is it’s not going to be this year. Some people were hoping, because of how advanced the game looks, that we’d have it out by Christmas, but that’s definitely not happening.
That’s a pretty long development cycle, if you started work on “StarCraft II” in 2003.
Different companies have different philosophies on how long they spend on products. I think we…have smaller development teams than other companies in the industry, and that turns into longer development cycles. We’re very iterative in our approach to game development. We can really look at the game and make really big decisions on redoing whole aspects of the game.
“Warcraft III” as an example: About two years in, we overhauled a large portion of the game because we just felt like we were going in the wrong direction. We’re able to do that because we have smaller teams and we give ourselves time to iterate through the product. You see a lot of companies that are so focused on the release date that they put 100-person, 200-person teams together to hit that date, and at that point you’re really the runaway train. You have to hit that date and live with decisions that you might not have been 100 percent happy with. We take the opposite approach.