In an interview with Eurogamer, Blizzard co-found Frank Pearce and StarCraft 2 designer Jonny Ebbert discussed a number of issues regarding many of Blizzard’s upcoming titles, chief among them Diablo III and the recent controversial announcement that the game would be an online only affair.
When asked whether the decisions was fueled by an effort to curb piracy, Pearce claimed that such concerns were “definitely not the driving factor.” Pearce added that if people want to pirate Diablo III, they will find a way to do so, online connection or not.
Rather, the decision to turn Diablo III into an online game stems from a desire to create more of an always-connected community within Blizzard games. “To create that community and provide everyone who’s part of that community the benefits of that community, we want them to be connected and playing online,” said Pearce of that goal.
Pearce said that he understands the concerns of people who wish to play Diablo III offline, but allowing such support is an issue of time. Diablo III’s server software will be running on their own hardware rather than the client’s, meaning that most of the game information won’t be stored on a player’s machine.
Updating this would add an undue amount of time to the development of the game, an undesirable prospect considering how long fans have been waiting for the title. “We decided we wanted to get it into the hands of our fans as quickly as possible,” said Pearce. Whether or not a change to allow the game to be played offline could be added in the future was not addressed.
Diablo III wasn’t the only game discussed. The pair also talked about the upcoming StarCraft II expansion, Heart of the Swarm, whose single player component will have a strong focus on the character of Sarah Kerrigan. “The fantasy we’re trying to fulfill is, you’re Kerrigan… she manipulates the Swarm. She always has these god-like powers,” said Ebbert.
The pair also discussed StarCraft II’s ever-growing eSports scene. Ebbert said that while he can’t discuss any details, the company has a lot of plans for helping to drive eSports forward even further. “Players are going to be really excited about what they see at BlizzCon and when they finally get their hands on it,” said Ebbert.
As of now, no release dates have been given for Diablo III or StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Blizzard’s annual BlizzCon gaming convention is set for the weekend of October 21st.