In 2014, after 17 years of working at Blizzard Entertainment, Rob Pardo left the masterminds behind World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft and more. Recently Pardo revealed his next venture, although details were left to speculation for now. His experience as chief creative officer for Blizzard should pay off, as Pardo plans to run a new team called Bonfire Studios. In an official announcement, Pardo outlined their goals with this new 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.”
Bonfire Studios hasn’t announced any titles yet, however CEO Pardo has said the name of the studio is a metaphor for the experiences they want to create.
“We want friends to connect through our games and share amazing experiences, tell the stories, and come closer together,” Pardo explained.
Additionally, Bonfire reportedly plans to be made up of several smaller internal teams. The reasoning behind this decision is simple, keep developers closely connected to their game and its fans. Also to remove some of the bureaucracies involved at that level of the industry.
“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.
Needless to say, Bonfire had to find some financial partners in order to get off the ground. Pardo turned to the developers of League of Legends, Riot Games and the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz which was founded by internet pioneer Marc Anreessen and Ben Horowitz. According to the New York Times, Pardo raised a total of $25 million from the two financial partners. In an earlier round of investing, former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello and other unspecified people/organizations also supported Bonfire Studios.
Bonfire Studios calls Irvine, California home, which is also the home of Blizzard. Pardo told the Times that Bonfire is likely to make multiplayer games but it is too early to say weather they will be for the PC, smartphone or both. The prospects have Riot Games very 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.”
The new studios main focus right now is hiring more talent to start the process of crating game prototypes. Reportedly several former Blizzard colleagues are following Pardos lead, and even former Nexon executive Min Kim is joining Bonfire Studios.
“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.”
Pardo explained to the Times that he thought up the idea for Bonfire while working on Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Going on to state that part of the games success came from the fact that it was made by a small team within Blizzard. On some of Blizzards larger projects, there came a point when the development team became too large, causing management problems.