Former WoW, Diablo Chief Opens New Studio

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  1. News Bot

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    Rob Pardo spent 17 years at Blizzard Entertainment before leaving the gaming giant in 2014. Now, Pardo has revealed what he's doing next, though specifics are still light at this time. The former chief creative officer of Blizzard will run a new team called Bonfire Studios. In its official announcement, Pardo outlined his ambition for the studio.

    "Game developers live the dream scenario where passion meets work. We don't view our week as something to get through so we can really live on the weekend," he said. "But often, developers must compromise and decide-- do I work on a blockbuster game where I have less personal impact or the gutsy indie studio that struggles to get noticed? Our vision is to create a studio that doesn't require them to choose."

    [​IMG]
    This is Pardo's Twitter header image

    Bonfire Studios doesn't have any announced games at this time, but Pardo, the CEO of the studio, said the company is named Bonfire because it aims to be a metaphor for the types of experiences it wants to create.

    "We want friends to connect through our games and share amazing experiences, tell the stories, and come closer together," he explained.

    It sounds like Bonfire will be split into multiple internal teams instead of one big department working on the same thing.

    "We believe you can create epic games with small teams of talented, self-driven game developers, where each team is deeply connected to their players and empowered to make the best decisions to evolve their game without bureaucracies, committees, or middle management in their way," he said.

    To help get Bonfire off the ground, Pardo needed to find financial partners that shared the company's vision for what it wanted to be. Those partners turned out to be League of Legends developer Riot Games and the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which was founded by internet pioneer Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. According to the New York Times, Pardo raised a combined $25 million from Riot Games and Andreessen Horowitz. Former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello and other unspecified people/organizations invested in Bonfire in an earlier round of investing.

    Bonfire is based in Irvine, California, which is where Blizzard is based. Pardo told the Times that it's likely Bonfire will make multiplayer games, as he alluded to with the bonfire metaphor earlier, but it's too soon to say if they'll be for PC, smartphone, or both. Whatever the case, Riot sounds excited.

    "We have a lot of confidence they're going to build something fantastic," Riot Games CEO Brandon Beck told the Times. "They're pretty uncompromising when it comes to quality."

    "We don't want to be constrained by genre," Pardo added. "We really want to create games that help us make those deeper connections with each other."

    Right now, Bonfire's main focus is on hiring to start the process of thinking up ideas and creating game prototypes. "Several" former Blizzard colleagues are joining Pardo at Bonfire, while former Nexon executive Min Kim is also on board.

    Pardo told the Times that he got the idea for his own studio while working on Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Pardo said part of the game's success is owed to the fact that it was built by a small, nimble team within Blizzard. By contrast, other development teams inside Blizzard became so big that challenges arose from a management perspective, he said.

    What would you like to see Bonfire make? Let us know in the comments below!

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