In this week’s edition Coin Podcast, Hearthstone game director Ben Lee has announced that he is leaving the team to work on another unannounced project within Blizzard. Lee also talked about the many changes players can expect from Hearthstone in 2022.
Lee has been Hearthstone’s Game Director since late 2018. During which time he oversaw a number of major changes to the multi-year CCG. Including the introduction of Hearthstone’s “Rewards Track” season pass system. While it was initially greeted with fury due to the perceived reduction in rewards for players, after some tweaking, the reward bar is now a universally recognized part of Hearthstone.
Lee’s tenure as director also included the introduction of the Demon Hunter class, and his time in charge of the team was characterized by more regular balance updates and increased response to player feedback. Less successfully, after its problematic announcement, the mercenary regime was widely considered a whiff. On the business side, new forms of monetization have also expanded significantly, with cosmetic items being added to the main modes – Standard and Battlegrounds – at a staggering rate.
Although not certain, many in the Hearthstone community believe that Lee joined the same unannounced project as fellow Hearthstone veterans Mike Donais and Peter Whalen. Given the experience of these developers, it would be reasonable to assume that the upcoming game will offer a hybrid CCG-RPG gameplay similar to Hearthstone. Hearthstone content creator, RegisKillbinsuggests it could even be a CCG roguelike, Blizzard’s take on Slay the Spire.
Incidentally, Blizzard has another “unannounced” game in development, except for what was announced. The studio is working on a survival game that is currently only known as “The Unannounced Survival Game”. However, those who worked on the survival project identified themselves, so if Lee were to make the jump into a new genre, he would probably just say so.
The interview also contained quite a few interesting facts about Hearthstone’s past and future. Including the fact that this year’s expansion was almost all about a cooking show. It didn’t happen, but Lee did mention that Hearthstone will be getting some new card types in the coming year, stating. One of the most exciting things about the upcoming. The unnamed year is that there are actually a bunch of new card types that we’ve been experimenting with. This, it’s really interesting and fun.”
Unsurprisingly, he didn’t give any details beyond that. But Lee expanded the team’s thinking a bit. We wanted to try something really interesting to push the Standard in a slightly different direction. With some interesting new approaches to the map. Types, so hopefully players will like them and we look forward to hearing from them.”
So far, Hearthstone has only had four types of cards, with the newest heroes introduced back in 2017. The introduction of several new types. In the same year will likely have a significant impact on how the game is played. .
Despite his age, Lee also noted that Hearthstone continues to maintain a huge player base. And makes more money than many AAA games. Despite serious and shocking allegations of widespread workplace harassment at Blizzard that surfaced last year.