WoW Lead Designer Rob Pardo Opens Bonfire Studios

Former Blizzard designer Rob Pardo, who worked on games from StarCraft: Brood War through World of Warcraft and beyond, has announced his new gig. Together with some pals, most of whom also used to work at Blizzard, he’s started Bonfire Studios. They’re partially funded by League of Legends devs Riot Games, among others.

“Our purpose is to build friendships by creating legendary game experiences that bring players closer together, united in a sense of adventure, exploration and fellowship,” they say. They aren’t working on a specific game yet, which is handy as I don’t know if I have time for more friends right now and will need to ditch some first.

The starting lineup for Bonfire Studios is the aforementioned Rob Pardo, former Nexon and MapleStory man Min Kim, long-time Blizzard art and cinematic chap Nick Carpenter, Company of Heroes lead designer and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls game director Josh Mosqueira, and former wizard and long-time Blizzard technical director Matthew Versluys. Here, they have a dramatic page introducing themselves like an eSports promo. Those headshots don’t seem right without video of them turning to face the camera as power metal blares.

The New York Times, who had a chat with Pardo, report that he “says it is safe to assume the company will make online multiplayer games, though he has not yet decided whether it will create them for mobile devices, PCs or both.”

Pardo explains in a blog post that Bonfire will split its employees into “small but powerful and diverse superhero teams, like the Avengers.” Like the Avengers. Kids these days! But do let me know which games are made by your Great Lakes Avengers, won’t you? He continues, “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.”

Why ‘Bonfire’? It’s a metaphor, yeah, Pardo says. “We want friends to connect through our games and share amazing experiences, tell the stories, and come closer together.”

I notice Bonfire don’t offer any assurances on the quality of friends. It any of my newfound pals end up being flakes or blabbermouths, I’ll be mighty disappointed.


  1. TillEulenspiegel says:

    create a studio

    we named our studio BONFIRE

    Bonfire Studios


    Game company naming has become genuinely weird these past few years.

    • BooleanBob says:

      A haiku a day
      Keeps the doctor far away
      Don’t let him find us

  2. Spacewalk says:

    Looks more like Burning Man than Bonfire.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Ben Barrett says:

    Those headshots don’t seem right without video of them turning to face the camera as power metal blares.

    Oh good lord this is so true.

  4. manio22 says:

    So, another MoBA or Overwatch clone?

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      All the mentions of D&D certainly don’t suggest musings on life, the universe and everything.

  5. Ericusson says:

    Good luck to them.
    Please do something original and try to forget some of Blizzard games tropes while capitalizing on whatever might be good, thank you.

    Also, MOBAS schmobas, do a proper game please !