Often when a longtime director on a project leaves for something new, it’s looked at with concern. Where is the original project headed? What might be going on within the company? With World of Warcraft director Tom Chilton, though, I don’t think we have to worry.
Chilton has been on World of Warcraft since 2004. He announced this week on the Blizzard forums that he is stepping down from his MMO throne to move on to something new. That something new, however, is within the company.
The MMORPG’s latest expansion, Legion, released last month and has done well since. The expansion sold over 3 million copies for the company and led them to numbers the game hasn’t seen since World of Warcraft: Cataclysm in 2010. World of Warcraft lead game designer Ion Hazzikostas will take over for Chilton as game director.
As for what Chilton’s working on, all he said in the post is that he’s going to be “focusing on another project within the company.” We don’t know yet what that project is, but anytime Blizzard hints at a new project, it’s a big deal. It could be the rumored vanilla World of Warcraft servers. Chilton’s long history with the game makes him perfect to helm an effort to bring old-school World of Warcraft servers online. It could be an entirely new property. It could even be an Overwatch-themed free-to-play card game. The monumental effort in creating an MMO and the shift away from games of that nature by the industry and fans in the last few years suggests that it won’t be a revival of Project Titan or some other massively multiplayer game.
Why this matters:
Anytime Blizzard says they’re working on a new project, it’s worth keeping an eye on. No matter what it is, it’ll be a huge game that pulls in big numbers for the company. We likely won’t know for a year or two what that new project is, but we’re looking forward to seeing what Blizzard has in store.