Blizzard Entertainment® recently announced the creation of their own book publishing label, Blizzard Publishing. The label will specialize in publishing Blizzard publications, including a series of art books, as well as some previously released titles that take place in the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® universes. A selection of novels, manga, and even a World of Warcraft adult coloring book are already available. The creation of this publishing label has far-reaching implications, and I think it shines a spotlight on an integral, fundamental part of the video games industry.
Video games have always been the nexus at which various art forms have fused to create the memorable and interactive experiences that we love. Writing, illustration, modeling, environment design, programming (yes, it’s an art), acting, music, animation, all of these and more play key roles in taking us on fantastic journeys, building drama or excitement, making us laugh, or simply taking our breath away. Like any other type of art, games can convey messages, they can inspire you, and they can change your life. I believe that creating something brings us closer to understanding ourselves and our existence, and that when we pour our deepest passions into something, it allows others to understand us in a way that transcends traditional language. Games allow us to experience things that have never existed, or never could exist. They get us to think, they frustrate us, they bring us together, and they consistently challenge our understanding of reality.
By launching Blizzard Publishing, Blizzard is taking the core ideology of what games are and applying it in reverse to enhance how we interact with the universes that they’ve created. They’re taking individual components that go into making a game and separating them back out to create a deeper connection with fans. This is not unlike many styles of traditional visual art, like impressionism, or cubism, that emphasize certain visual aspects to allow people to form a more personal connection to a piece. Blizzard Publishing is a genuflection, a sign of reverence for the foundational elements that their legacy has been built upon. I hope that other developers and publishers will take this opportunity to consider doing something similar. I hope that we see animated shorts, behind-the-scenes programming spotlights, music labels, or even more book publishing labels.
To some, it may seem like just another way for a big company to get their hands into your wallet. And there will always be companies that are motivated solely by this. I think in the gaming community, we are particularly aware of situations where companies try to take advantage of us. Companies that sell us incomplete products and tack on paid DLC, or sell season passes with dubious promises of cool content that hasn’t been created, or they push freemium models that ruin what would otherwise be great games. If you’ve been around the gaming world for a while, you’ve probably been burned at least once or twice. But somewhere, right now, there is a man or woman that is sitting in front of a computer, programming, sketching, writing, putting everything that they have into it. Desperate, passionate, joyful, angry, they’re searching for a way to transfer what they have inside their heart and mind to the world. They’re holding on to the hope that someone might look upon it and smile, or that someone might understand them a little bit more, or that someone might find something powerful in it that helps them understand themselves or the world they live in. Whether you agree with this new label from Blizzard is irrelevant; what it represents for the gaming community, for our human culture, is something that should be encouraged. We need to embrace what we are passionate about, and never let it go, and never stop being thankful for living in an age where we can share it so abundantly with others.