The Warcraft series started as a real-time strategy game. Hard to believe, I know. But it's now become most recognized as World of Wacraft the MMO. Blizzard recently explained that they may not be done with Warcraft as an RTS, especially considering the fan demand for the series.
Speaking to IGN at this year's GamesCom event in Cologne, Germany, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void producer Tim Morten explained that after the team finishes up working on the expansion for the RTS title, they could consider stepping back into the RTS world of Warcraft...
It's very rewarding for us to hear that there’s demand out there for more RTS content in the Warcraft universe so once we’re done with [Legacy of the Void] I think we'll get together as a team and talk about what would inspire us to work on next. There's no question, though, that we'll consider Warcraft, StarCraft, or even new ideas. Anything is possible.
The fact they're “considering Warcraft” after the 2016 release of the Void pack should be music to the ears of fans who have longed for a follow-up to the 2002 release of Warcraft 3. The interesting thing about that game is that you don't always hear much about it but it was the catalyst for the largest and most played genre in gaming today. I'm talking about the MOBA genre.
It was mods for Warcraft 3 that spawned Defense of the Ancients and it was mods that helped craft the structure for today's MOBA genre. League of Legends has tens of millions of active, registered users playing each month, and both Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm are offshoots from what Riot did with League of Legends. The funny thing about is that Blizzard is still at the center of the genre and responsible for it even being as popular as it is.
Heck, they're also responsible for MMOs really blossoming in the mainstream arena as well with World of Warcraft. They also dominate the RTS e-sports leagues with StarCraft games.
Technically Blizzard could very well do anything and still hold a strong grapple on various popular gaming markets. Based on Morten's comments Warcraft 4 could be just as likely as a brand new IP or something completely different. Technically, given their market position, they're not really beholden to anything. Heck, even with the waning subscription numbers of World of Warcraft they've been making up for it with the burgeoning player numbers in Heroes of the Storm and the $30 million a month revenue from their trading card game Hearthstone.
Given that they haven't really evolved the RTS genre since StarCraft II, it might make sense that Blizzard could return to it and shake things up with a few years spent making Warcraft 4 a big, bad contender in the real-time strategy space. Right now StarCraft II is still considered the king and their only real competition is from Creative Assembly's Total War series.
The real question is: how much do fans really want a Warcraft 4 over some other game? It's hard to tell right now because, as mentioned, gamers are enraptured with a number of Blizzard properties, including the once controversial Diablo III. But unlike Valve and Half-Life 3, at least Blizzard seems to be willing to talk about or consider diving back into the Warcraft series in a serious way.