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Blizzard: Shipping unfinished product is "devastating" for developers

Warcraft talent allowed creative freedom without the pressure of meeting financial targets, says COO Sams

Blizzard COO Paul Sams has said that shipping products before they are finished will devastate a passionate development team, undermining the creativity and hard work that has gone into creating a game.

Speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz, Sams said talent at the Warcraft developer knows that nothing will be rushed for the sake of hitting financial targets, and the top brass will never "pull the rug out" from underneath its creatives.

"If you've been in the games industry for any length of time and you've worked for a variety of companies, what you will hear from developers is that they were working on a game that they were so excited and enthusiastic about... and yet, when it got to the point where the company wanted to ship it and the game wasn't done, that company would oftentimes make the decision to ship it anyway – because they needed to make their quarterly numbers, or whatever," offered Sams.

"So the people who have put in the blood, sweat and tears on making this game that has all the promise – which instead has to be pushed out the door – those types of experiences are pretty devastating to people."

Developers get a say in what games they want to make for Blizzard, added Sams, allowing them creative freedom without unnecessary pressure from management.

"Developers know that when they come to Blizzard know that they will get to make the game they want to make, because we let the developers decide what they're going to make.

"They also know that we will not pull the rug out from under them – they will have ample time, budget and support to be able to deliver the game that they envisioned.

He continued: "We will not pull the rug out from under them and ship it before it's done, so people feel that when they out their heart and soul into a game, they'll be able to deliver the game they envisioned and there's not going to be a situation where there are tonnes of compromises, we're shipping too early and everybody does that thing where they say 'Woulda, shoulda, coulda if we'd had the time.'"

The full interview with Sams and executive producer Rob Pardo can be read here.

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.