The secret to Blizzard games is ‘endless iteration’

You may have noticed that Blizzard takes a while to put out their games. Their two biggest releases coming up, Diablo III and StarCraft II, have been in development for what seems like ages. Often games that are in development for this long are stuck in the mire of game design, and may never see the light of day, so it’s understandable that Gamasutra would raise the question of if “the development time has been extended to a surprising degree” when they talked with Blizzard lead content designer Kevin Martens. Martens thinks this is Blizzard’s greatest advantage, however.

“Here’s the secret to Blizzard games, and this is a secret that won’t help any of our competitors: endless iteration,” he explained. “We’ll take something, we’ll put it in the game. Maybe we’ll like it when we put it in, maybe we won’t. We’ll leave it in there for a while, we’ll let it percolate. We’ll play it and play it and play it, and then we’ll come back. We might throw it all out, or we’ll throw half of that out and redo it.”

Basically, being able to try things over and over and over again makes their games better. Seems pretty logical to me, even, dare I say it, obvious. Still, how many companies actually have all the time in the world to test out every option in every game. I guess that’s why Martens isn’t too scared to reveal this “secret.”

Matthew Razak