This week’s episode Coin Concede Podcast features Hearthstone game director Ben Lee announcing that he will be leaving the team to focus on an unannounced project in Blizzard. Lee also described a number of changes that Hearthstone will see in 2022.
Since 2018, Lee has been Hearthstone’s game director. During this time, he has overseen major changes to the CCG’s long-running CCG. This includes the introduction of Hearthstone’s “Rewards Track” season pass system. Although initially met with anger over perceived reductions of player rewards, the Rewards Track has since been accepted by most Hearthstone players.
Lee’s tenure was also marked by the introduction of Demon Hunter classes. His time as team director was also marked by a faster pace of balance updates, and a greater responsiveness to player feedback. The Mercenaries mode was not as successful after its troubled launch. New forms of monetization are also being developed, including cosmetics being added to Standard and Battlegrounds at a staggering rate.
Although it is not clear, Hearthstone veterans Mike Donais (Hearthstone veteran) and Peter Whalen (Hearthstone veteran) believe Lee has joined an unannounced project. These developers have the expertise to make it reasonable to expect that the upcoming game will feature hybrid CCG-RPG gameplay similar to Hearthstone. RegisChillbin is the Hearthstone content writer. He speculates that this game could even be a CCG roguelike, a Blizzard version of Slay the Spire.
Blizzard is currently working on a survival video game that has not been officially announced. Lee would have said it if he were taking a leap into a new genre. However, the people involved in the survival project have identified themselves.
There were also a lot of interesting tidbits about Hearthstone’s past and future. Lee even revealed that this year’s expansion was almost a cooking show theme. Although that didn’t happen Lee did mention that Hearthstone would receive several new card types in the next year. He stated: “One the most exciting aspects about the coming, unnamed, year is that we have a bunch new card types that were really interesting and fun.”
He didn’t go into detail, which was surprising, but Lee did give some insight on the team’s thinking. “We wanted some really interesting stuff for Standard to push Standard in some other direction with some new interesting take on card types. We hope players enjoy them and we look forward hearing their thoughts.”
Hearthstone had only four types of card up to now. The newest, heroes, was introduced in 2017. Multiple new types being introduced in the same year could have significant effects on how the game is played.
Lee noted that Hearthstone is still thriving despite its age. This was despite the backdrop of shocking and serious allegations regarding widespread workplace harassment at Blizzard.