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Blizzard Hopes to Modernize Classic With ‘Warcraft III: Reforged’

Warcraft IlI” is one of the most influential games in history. It led to “World of Warcraft,” the Blizzard MMO that dominated the market for years, and it’s custom maps and modes popularize the MOBA and tower defense genres that gave birth to “League of Legends.” No other real-time strategy game is quite as memorable.

So it’s clear why fans went wild, both in person at Blizzcon and all over the internet and social media, when Blizzard announced that a remastered version of the 16-year-old game, “Warcraft III: Reforged,” would be coming in 2019.

“We’re doing everything we can to honor the original design while we revamp the story, art, sound design, and so much more,” Blizzard senior producer Pete Stilwell tells Variety. “Obviously the gameplay will still be identical the originals.”

“Reforged” is more than just a remaster though. Blizzard calls it a reimagining of the original as they are re-creating cinematic cutscenes, re-balancing mechanics for both “Reforged” and the original, allowing owners of the original Warcraft III to play with owners of the new game under the same servers, and adding new storylines to the Warcraft universe.

Christie Golden, the writer on several Warcraft novels, is working on the project to retcon some of Warcraft’s original story so it falls in line with “World of Warcraft.” Those changes include featuring some characters who didn’t get much focus in the original game more of a spotlight.

The world editor and custom game modes that made the original so iconic are also returning. Blizzard has also confirmed that Reign of Chaos, as well as the expansion, The Frozen Throne will be included — making the game a complete package.

“Reforged will have the same world editor as the original, with new improvements,” lead artist Brian Sousa said. “There will be exceptions on which custom game we can bring back, but a lot will be coming.”

The only complaints that fans had were directed at the mishmashed art style that came from a mix of newly redesigned HD character models and the lack of lighting and details in the old environments. “We can’t give a percentage, but this is still a work in progress,’ Sousa said. “A big part of the reveal at Blizzcon was to get some feedback and see what might need to be adjusted.”

Sousa added that they’re looking at a fan response to determine changes to their newly redesigned UI and environmental effects so the elements that worried fans could be fixed before release. Stilwell added that they had hired some of the original Warcraft III modders to get a perspective from the community and improve the custom tools for a modern modding scene.

“’Warcraft III’ players built new genres with the tools in the original games– tower defense, MOBA, it came from them,” Stilwell said. “So we’re looking for the next generation of modders and creations that should come from this.”

While there was no announcement of “Warcraft IV” or mention of any other major Warcraft releases in the future, Stilwell said that the reaction they got from “Reforged” at Blizzcon is a clear sign of what players want.

“You know, we’ve never announced or confirmed that anything was in development,” he laughed. “I think it’s a really good indicator, the reaction here, to us about whether we should be thinking about that. Who knows what’ll happen after this comes out.”

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