With Mists of Pandaria fresh out of launch and BlizzCon notably absent this year, VentureBeat sat down with Blizzard to talk business.
President and CEO Mike Morhaime and chief creative officer Rob Pardo shared their thoughts on the mixed reactions to the latest World of Warcraft expansion. According to Morhaime, the Pandaren are no Kung Fu Panda rip-off.
"We've been talking about adding Pandaren as a playable race for World of Warcraft since long before Kung Fu Panda," said Morhaime. "The Pandaren reace has been part of the Warcraft mythology for a really long time."
The Pandaren made their first appearance as brewmasters in Warcraft 3. Although the race was initially introduced as an April Fools' joke, it quickly became canon.
"We were originally maybe going to do it as part of the Burning Crusade expansion, but we felt like it was better to hold off until we could do something with their landmass, too," said Pardo.
Mists of Pandaria isn't the only thing on Blizzard's plate. The company's yearly convention, BlizzCon, is absent from this year's schedule. But according to Morhaime, it's for good reason.
"We looked at the release schedule for our games, and we have just way too much stuff going on this year," said Morhaime. "With multiple products coming out, we decided we need to focus on the games."
"We love BlizzCon. ... But first and foremost, we're a game company, and we have to make sure we deliver good quality games for our players. So that's what we did," said Morhaime.
Blizzard might be minus one convention, but they're up another event. With BlizzCon off the schedule, the company will hold a Battle.net world championship event in Shanghai.
Correction: A previous version of this article included an incorrect release date for Mists of Pandaria.