Although Blizzard officially entered the first-person shooter arena armed with Overwatch in May, that hot multiplayer game isn’t the only first-person title under Blizzard’s roof. The company recently posted two job openings that point to the unannounced project: one for a lead software engineer for a first-person game engine, and another for a lead software engineer to design tools for that engine.
Blizzard specifically mentions a first-person engine “for an unannounced project” in the first job listing. The company indicates that this engine may not even be built as of this publication, as the hired individual will lead a team of engineers to create a “scalable, performant, and technically excellent” engine. The gaming backbone will also include “state of the art” rendering technology.
“You must be an excellent engineer, collaborating closely with the technical director and other engineering leads to build a technically excellent engine across multiple platforms,” the first job listing states. “You must enjoy collaborating with art and technical art leads, understand the artistic vision of the game, and identify the technology needed to achieve and extend that vision.”
Candidates seeking Blizzard’s lead software engineer position on the game engine front must have experience with modern graphics APIs (DirectX 12. OpenGL, Vulkan, and so on), and must have a “deep” understanding of engine performance, scalability, and maintainability. Applicants must also be familiar with exporters, terrain editors, and pipeline tools.
As for the second job listing, Blizzard wants an experienced tools engineer to work on an unannounced project that uses the first-person engine described in the first job listing. The applicant will lead a team of engineers to work on content creation tools for that specific engine. The job requirements include an understanding of tools performance/scalability/maintainability, experience in user interface design, and an advanced understanding of a game content pipeline and the associated tools.
Based on both job listings, Blizzard appears to be starting from scratch with its unannounced first-person game instead of using the engine that currently powers Overwatch. The reason may be that the Overwatch engine is reportedly based on everything Blizzard salvaged from the “Titan” MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) project that was canceled in 2014.
What Blizzard plans to do with a first-person engine in terms of a specific genre is anyone’s guess at this point. The two job listings don’t mention “shooter,” but the engine will support multiple platforms, not just the PC. A first-person Diablo would seem unlikely given that Blizzard already has a first-person, fantasy-based MMORPG on the market — but a first-person StarCraft MMORPG would be awesome, honestly.
News of Blizzard’s unannounced first-person project arrives after Electronic Arts admitted that it develops games for high-end PCs first and then adjusts the console versions accordingly. The games publisher is transitioning to just one engine across all games so that upgrades are made to a single engine instead of more than 50. Activision Blizzard doesn’t appear to be taking the same unified path.