What Does A Sellout Game Developer Look Like?

See here what Blizzard used to be and what Owner/Publishers Vivendi and Activision have done to this once great company!
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information
It’s Like Seeing a Piece of Art Getting Ruined Before Your Very Eyes…
Recommended Videos

I can’t say I really blame game development companies who become big and seek further success through a publisher, but as many people know, the choice to team up with an even bigger publisher is often the kiss of death for that business. The company itself doesn’t necessarily die, but the games they put out lose that little bit of thoroughness, that level of unique detail, that existed before the publisher took over.

Let’s be honest, the purpose of a publisher is to reach a wider audience than a business is currently. But to do that, the games created have to appeal to wider play styles, story interests, and other preferences. Unfortunately this puts the developer in a sticky situation, because now they have to really generalize their game.

This is such a shame because at one point the business was making amazing, single platform games that worked incredibly well on that platform. All of the mechanics were challenging and engaging; they required you to really think. But then a big time publisher stepped in and the game was ported to other platforms; it became simpler, and appealed to a larger audience. This has happened a lot but the best example that I can come up with is Blizzard, the kings of sellout.

Blizzard: A Fallen Titan

Although they have been with Activision for a while now, I thought it was a good time to take another look at the gun they used to shoot themselves in the foot. In light of Diablo 3 coming out for the Xbox 360 and PS3, I wanted to enlighten people to what big time publishers do to businesses.

When Diablo 3 was in creation, it was nearly complete in about half of the time that it actually took. This was the product of a subsidiary of Blizzard known as Blizzard North or Condor. These were the original creators of the first two Diablo games, headed up by David Brevik. As this team was nearing completion, the publisher and owner at the time, Vivendi, was not satisfied with how the game was shaping up. In 2005 it was announced that Blizzard North would be dismantled. Jay Wilson was then named head of development, and Activision later bought Blizzard and acted as the publisher.

As Diablo 3 underwent the new development methods outlined by Jay (who had NEVER worked on a Diablo game before), the game became a shadow of what it could have been. And as the influence of Activision became more and more apparent, the die hard fans like me felt the brunt of the changes as the skill system was cut down enormously.

Now that the owners of Blizzard only care about the revenue generated by the game, we see things like the real money auction house where you pay to win and Blizzard takes a cut. We see simplified controls that are easily mapped to a game controller so that the game can be re-released for the console. And we see a game that has had the story, difficulty, and engaging mechanics ripped out so that more people can buy it and Blizzard/Activision can show better quarterly reports. 

GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Post_Mortem
Hardcore gaming, Game Development, and the Business of Gaming Makes Up My Life Everyday!