Rob Pardo was the lead designer of World of Warcraft, and he had a stellar career in his 17 years at Blizzard Entertainment. But he left the big video game publisher in 2014, and today, he announced his new company, Bonfire Studios.

Pardo helped turn Blizzard into a huge company with how he helped design World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online game which came out 12 years ago and still has paying subscribers (and which the studio says is at its highest point in years after the Legion expansion’s launch August 30). As the CEO of Bonfire, Pardo is being equally ambitious, as he has raised $25 million in funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and from Riot Games, League of Legends maker and a division of Chinese internet giant Tencent, the New York Times reported.

World of Warcraft: a Legion journal

The Irvine, California-based company isn’t working on a specific game yet, but Pardo told the New York Times that he is likely to work on online multiplayer games, which could be for the PC or mobile devices or both. Among the cofounders is Min Kim, former head of Nexon America. Other former Blizzard colleagues are also working with Pardo.

After he left Blizzard in 2015, Pardo joined Unity as an adviser for game developers. In a blog post, Pardo said, “We can’t say we are going to Mount Doom to save the world, but we do think deeply about what we love about games. One of the most rewarding parts of creating any game, be it a D&D campaign or a massive persistent world, is the connection you have to the players themselves. You get to see the player’s reactions, you get to respond to them and make their experience better over time. It’s like the warmth of friends around a bonfire, sharing stories.”


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He added, “To ensure our developers have a big impact we are organizing them into small but powerful and diverse superhero teams, like the Avengers. We believe you can create epic games with small teams of talented, self-driven game developers, where each team is deeply connected to their players and empowered to make the best decisions to evolve their game without bureaucracies, committees or middle management in their way.”

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