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Blizzard eSports boss wins backing of Guild Wars publisher to make free-to-play online PC game


A pair of former Blizzard and Relic lieutenants have banded together to found a new studio: Molten Games. With a multimillion dollar investment from NCsoft behind them, they’re building a free-to-play AAA online game for PC.

Which is cool – we tend to write about those.

Molten’s chief product officer is Paul Della Bitta, once Blizzard’s senior director of global community development and eSports. Their VP of creative development is one Blaine Smith, lead designer of beta-limboed Relic game Company of Heroes Online.

Della Bitta may have left Blizzard behind, but he intends to emulate the early days of the company’s culture.

“We remember the games and the dev studios back in the day,” he told GamesIndustry. “We played a lot of Valve and Blizzard games before I worked there. These were studios that were made up of gamers just making great games they enjoyed playing. And we’re trying to follow in those footsteps.”

Molten formed earlier this year, and has since solidified as an experienced team of 30. Della Bitta expects to expand to 60 staffers by the end of the year, and to over 100 once the mystery game is launched.

“There have been a lot of startups around mobile and social,” said the developer, “but a lot of people around the industry, especially people who’d been working on more core games, were looking for an opportunity to join a startup and be part of a small team.”

NCsoft CEO Taek Jin Kim reportedly liked the team so much that the project quickly had his backing.

“That was actually one of the easier processes of starting the company,” Della Bitta said. “And honestly, we know we’re lucky in that regard, because we know it is difficult to raise money.”

Lest we forget, Blizzard have their own free-to-play AAA online PC game in the oven – Hearthstone, the Warcraft CCG. I don’t for one second suspect the two games will be alike, though, do you?