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Blizzard eSports chief co-founds new online studio

High-profile leads from SOE, Relic and Blizzard, including Blizzard's former eSports chief, are coming together to form a new U.S.-based studio aimed at tackling the online triple-A space.
High-profile leads from Blizzard, Sony Online Entertainment and Relic are coming together to form Molten Games, a new U.S. studio backed by South Korea-based NCSoft. In addition to the morning's press release, Gamasutra has received the names of the three co-founders: Paul Della Bitta, former head of eSports and community at Blizzard, will serve as chief product officer; Blaine Smith, former senior producer at SOE and previously of Relic, is coming on board as vice president of creative development and the studio's lead designer; and lastly, Jungwon Hahn, former head of Blizzard's Korean office, will serve as as Molten's chief executive officer. "We created Molten Games in order to truly have control over our game development and IP," Hahn says in this morning's press release. "As we continue to build our team and work on our initial product, gameplay and player experience is going to come first with every decision." The studio's first title in development is described as a triple-A online game, propped up by a multi-million dollar investment from NCSoft. "We absolutely believe [Molten Games] will create and run an amazing new game experience," says NCSoft CEO Taek Jin Kim in the release. "They're setting the bar high for themselves, with a strong desire to shake up the online gaming space." While specifics about the new studio's first project are scarce, as a joint U.S.-South Korean venture built on the resume of Blizzard's eSports head Della Bitta, among others, it's not so hard to guess just what sector of the "online gaming space" Molten Games seems poised to take on.

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