GDC Austin organizers have confirmed the first of the Sept. 15-18 event's keynotes, with Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce and World Of Warcraft production director J. Allen Brack discussing operating challenges and lessons in "The Universe Of World Of Warcraft".
In the joint keynote, Pearce, executive vice president of product development and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, and J. Allen Brack, the production director on Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft, will talk about the ongoing challenges involved with operating one of the world's most popular subscription-based MMORPGs.
After more than four years in development, World of Warcraft was released in 2004 and since that time has grown into a global phenomenon, in addition to garnering critical praise from reviewers and gamers worldwide.
Pearce is well-placed to discuss the game, being one of the original co-founders of Blizzard in 1991, and having worked on classic Blizzard Entertainment titles including Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Diablo, StarCraft, Diablo II and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. He's also overseeing Starcraft II's production.
Brack is responsible "for coordinating the efforts of the game's development team as it creates new content to keep the experience fresh and exciting for the global audience of World of Warcraft players, and previously worked at Sony Online on Star Wars Galaxies and at Origin on the Wing Commander franchise. At Blizzard, he helped created WoW expansion pack The Burning Crusade, and currently manages the production of patches and expansions from their initial conception through their release.
Pearce and Brack's joint keynote address will "specifically discuss the steps taken to create this online world, and the hard work and team coordination necessary to keep that world engaging and rewarding over its lifetime."
"World of Warcraft continues to attract more and more subscribers year after year and has changed perceptions of what online gaming can achieve," says Izora De Lillard, event director at Think Services Game Group. "An exploration of Blizzard Entertainment's enduring success in the online gaming space offers important lessons for all connected game developers interested in developing the next great MMO, casual game, or virtual world."
Presented by Think Services (also owner of Gamasutra), GDC Austin returns with three days of main conference content focused on connected games, including online games, virtual worlds, and social networking game play; and four two-day summits, including the Game Writers, Game Audio, iPhone Games and Independent Games Summits.
The event takes place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas September 15-18, 2009, and early registration deadlines end soon - more information is available on the official GDC Austin website.
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