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Posts with tag chris-metzen

The best mistake ever

Mistakes happen, of course. One of the biggest to ever happen in the history of World of Warcraft led to the creation of the draenei as we know them today, and I think it's safe to say that the game and the lore of the Warcraft setting is the better for it. Going into Warlords of Draenor it's worth looking back at that moment. What mistake am I talking about? I'm talking about the time Chris Metzen forgot the work of a major lore writer on Warcraft III and changed things. What writer did Chris forget about? None other than the Senior Vice President of creative development himself, Chris Metzen.

The obvious lore contradiction with Sargeras and his encounter with the eredar was clearly documented in the Warcraft III manual. I wrote those bits about four years ago, and to be totally honest, I simply forgot.
-- Chris Metzen, Metzen on Lore

What happened is fairly simple. In Warcraft III, we're told that the eredar were a race of sorcerers and warlocks whose corrupt magics date back to the dawn of time, devourers and corrupters who ran afoul of Sargeras before the titan went mad. In fact, in the original story, it was his encounter with the eredar that started Sargeras down the road that would lead him to go mad. At this time, no mention was made of the eredar being in any way related to the draenei, nor were the draenei depicted as anything beyond the deformed model used by Akama. Even when World of Warcraft debuted, the few draenei in game were known as lost ones, such as Magtoor or Kum'isha the Collector, and they were nothing like the draenei we have today.

And then the mistake happened. Mr. Metzen, in preparation for The Burning Crusade, came up with a way to link the draenei of Outland to the eredar and in so doing, completely contradicted what he himself had written in the Warcraft III manual. And in so doing, he made the game as a whole much stronger.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore

AusGamer interviews Chris Metzen

Chris Metzen
Interviews provide an often-fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of some of our favorite hobbies--like World of Warcraft. Recently the Australian gaming site AusGamer posted a transcript of their interview with Blizzard's Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development, Chris Metzen. They chat about everything from Metzen's long history at Blizzard Entertainment, to the evolution of his current position in the company, to the realities of trying to juggle multiple franchises, story formats, and ideas among Blizzard's many intellectual properties. There's also a discussion about the role of fans in Blizzard's story development and how the push-and-pull of ideas and fan reaction shapes the direction that development may take.

If you're interested in how the creative process at Blizzard works, and to hear about the differences between large-scale and small-scale story development at Blizzard, this is an interview you don't want to miss. They even discuss how Blizzard's new developments -- like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm -- can potentially help feed into the franchise of World of Warcraft, with their use of iconic WoW characters and personalities. Check it out at AusGamers, it's a great view into the thought process of one of Blizzard's most iconic developers.

Filed under: News items, Interviews

BlizzCon 2013: World of Warcraft Adventure Continues Q&A

The World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues panel during Friday's action-packed BlizzCon featured Lead Narrative Designer Dave Kosak giving a short presentation on the story behind the new expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Along with the history lesson, which was summed up by Matthew Rossi, the panel also featured a brief Q&A session that wasn't advertised in the program, but proved to be a pretty good list of questions and answers about the new expansion and what we can expect to see.

Along with some clarifications on whether or not this is a time travel expansion (it isn't), there are also a few new lore reveals regarding the next expansion, and some tasty tidbits of odds and ends that have yet to be addressed. Read on for the full list of questions -- some of the answers may surprise you.

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Filed under: Lore, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013 Impressions: CCed in the BlizzCon experience

The woman who approached our lunch table seemed friendly but slightly uncomfortable. "Excuse me, but do you work for Blizzard?" she asked with a tentative smile. Her brother, she went on to explain, had once known somebody who supposedly went on to the work there, but she didn't know the first thing about the game and had no idea if that was true or what he did there. We exchanged a quick glance -– incoming story about someone who once tested a Blizzard game, am I right? -– and continued to munch on our salads while nodding and making polite noises.

"So what's your friend's name?" inquired the ever-personable Michael Gray. "Chris Metzen," she replied almost apologetically. "Is he ... somebody?"

Our friendly local storyteller (who preferred to remain anonymous –- but my report here on the BlizzCon experience wouldn't be complete if I didn't share her story with you) went on to share a tale of growing up across the street from the Metzen family here in Southern California, where her brother played T-ball with the pint-sized future rock star of Blizzard. The thing she remembered most about "little Chris," as she called him, was the game in which he executed his task as catcher so enthusiastically that he found himself caught in the netting behind the plate -– CCed so completely, in fact, that the team's parents had to come cut him out with scissors.

Everybody all together now: Awwww ... (/grin)

All these years later, we find ourselves happily CCed in the net cast by Little Chris himself, the World of Warcraft of his imagination. And back at BlizzCon, our lunchtime encounter with a friendly SoCal native encapsulates the spirit of the BlizzCon weekend -- people brought together by Blizzard's games. You won't find any reveals about the expansion in this BlizzCon roundup, but if you're interested in some of the faces and places seen around the convention all weekend, read on!

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Filed under: BlizzCon

Furor returns to World of Warcraft

Alex Furor Afrasiabi
Alex Afrasiabi, AKA Furor, has returned to work on World of Warcraft. Alex began his career as the guild leader of a famous Everquest guild (Fires of Heaven) and then came to work at Blizzard, eventually becoming Lead World Designer for WoW. He left WoW and was rumored to be working on the Titan project. But now, according to the BlizzCon schedule, he is the Creative Director for what we assume is the next expansion. He will be on World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues panel.

Also appearing on the panel is Game Director Tom Chilton and Dave Kosak, who was formerly the Lead Quest Designer and is now listed as the Lead Narrative Designer. As this panel will be discussing the direction of the story, Chris Metzen will of course be there as Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development.

The panel will be at 2:30 p.m. PST on the A Panel Stage. So if you are interested in the story and/or the return of Furor, the Adventure Continues panel is for you. If you're not attending BlizzCon and don't have the Virtual Ticket, WoW Insider will definitely be covering this panel.

Filed under: News items, BlizzCon

Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao

Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao
The Burdens of Shaohao, a six-part series released earlier this month, was met with resounding praise across the board from players and devoted lore fans alike. The sweeping tale of the last Emperor of Pandaria was unlike anything we'd ever seen before from Blizzard -- a stunning, gorgeous piece of animated, narrative storytelling featuring artwork by Laurel Austin. While we've seen narrative tales in the form of cinematic-style storytelling, this is the first time we've seen anything of this nature.

We sat down with Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson and the director of Shaohao, Doug Gregory to discuss the piece and how exactly it all came to be. While we were originally supposed to have lead editor Lucas Merino on board as well, he was unable to attend the interview as he and his wife received a special gift shortly after the release of Shaohao -- a healthy baby boy! Despite Lucas' absence, we had a delightful time discussing the film, its development, and the possibility of future projects in the unique style of Shaohao.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

San Diego Comic Con 2013 Blizzard Licensing Panel now online

Wondering what was talked about at the SDCC 2013 Blizzard Licensing panel? The fine folks over at Blizzplanet have released a video recording of the entire panel from start to finish. Included in the discussion are new toys, statues, and upcoming books -- including the children's book Snowfight, written by Chris Metzen with illustrations by Wei Wang, that we mentioned last week.

The panel also included a fairly lengthy Q&A session that covered both licensed products and game questions as well. Q&A topics ranged from the future of beloved raid instances like Karazhan to the balance between including major events both in novels and in the game itself, as well as balance between PvP and PvE, among many other topics. There are also some funny moments like the video above, in which Chris Metzen deftly avoids spoiling the debut of the Warcraft movie teaser that was shown later on in another panel at the convention. Be sure to check out Blizzplanet's post for the full set of panel videos.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

World of Warcraft children's book announced at SDCC

New World of Warcraft children's book announced at SDCC
Polygon is reporting an interesting bit of news from the San Diego Comic Con publishing panel -- apparently Blizzard has decided to try its hand at children's books. The first book, Snowfight, was written by Chris Metzen himself, and the book also includes some incredibly charming illustrations by Blizzard artist Wei Wang. From the image above, it looks like a story involving both Thrall and Varian Wrynn -- an unlikely tale, but hey, children's literature should be lighthearted and fun, right?

This is, of course, a huge step for the publishing team -- most Warcraft novels and manga have been placed firmly in the young adult to adult category, with nothing for the little kids. But considering how many Warcraft fans are now moms and dads themselves, this is actually a really sweet way to introduce your little ones to the games you love. And it might just be interesting enough to keep their fingers off your action figures, too! Look for pre-sales for Snowfight later this year -- the book should be making its debut at BlizzCon. For more information, check out the full article on Polygon.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Chris Metzen talks about The Art of Blizzard Entertainment

Over the last few years the question of art and video games has gone in and out of hot-button topic territory. Whatever someone's opinion of the status of games as art, though, it's impossible to ignore the vast amount of art that goes into them, and the cultural consciousness surrounding art and gaming is growing all the time. Earlier this year Blizzard published The Art of Blizzard Entertainment, a volume spanning over 20 years of concept art and development, complete with commentary by Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Chris Metzen. Along with the book was an exhibit of the same name at the Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, which ran from January 12th to February 3rd, 2013.

This is an old video by GamerHub.tv from the opening night of the exhibit back in January, but it's the first it has come to our attention at WoW Insider, and it's worth watching if you haven't already. Metzen talks about the origins and inspiration for Blizzard's art, Blizzard's feelings toward fan art, and some of his thoughts on the perception of art and games in general. Check out parts one and two on GamerHub's youtube channel.

Filed under: News items

Diablo 3 coming to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4

Diablo 3 coming to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4
"One couch to rule them all!" -Chris Metzen at the PlayStation 4 announcement

Chris Metzen, Senior VP of Story and Franchise Development at Blizzard, went on the stage at the Sony presser and announced Diablo III is coming to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. It will have not only the single player campaign, but also 4-player coop mode.

Blizzard originally started out very strong in the console market, but in modern times hasn't been active. They have, however, constantly been hiring console developers, so it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that they finally have something to reveal. But the fact that Diablo 3 is coming to the PlayStation 4 in the grand fashion that it was revealed today says a lot about their commitment to the game.

Metzen makes it known what their intention is: "Blizzard and Sony have entered into a strategic partnership, through which we will take over the world." Metzen went on to say that more information will be forthcoming, and to look specifically at PAX East.

The PlayStation 4 will be coming out during 2013's holiday season. For more information on the PlayStation 4 reveal, checkout Joystiq's liveblog.

Filed under: Diablo 3

Art of Blizzard Entertainment gallery opening snapshot tour

Art of Blizzard Entertainment gallery opening snapshot tour DNP
On Saturday, Jan. 12, I was fortunate enough to attend a party Blizzard threw for its book, The Art of Blizzard Entertainment, and the gallery showcasing it. While the book will not be released until Feb. 12, attendees were able to purchase it and have it signed by many Blizzard artists, including Chris Metzen (senior vice president of story and franchise development) and Nick Carpenter (vice president of art and cinematic development).

Gallery Nucleus, located in Alhambra, CA, hosted the party and will be showing the gallery of prints -- all from the book -- until Feb 3. The party included live demonstrations of artists, a raffle, a scavenger hunt, as well as the signings of the books and a selection of prints that could also be purchased. Libations were provided in the forms of a health potion (nonalcoholic fruit punch), a mana potion (vodka and some tasty blue stuff), as well as some beer and other drinks. Darkmoon Donuts -- small and chocolate covered -- were the food items available.

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Filed under: Events, Blizzard

The Art of Blizzard Entertainment exhibition to open on January 12

The Art of Blizzard Entertainment exhibition hits LA Jan 12
The Art of Blizzard Entertainment, a massive 376 page collection of artwork from Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo, will be available for purchase later this month. But if you're in the Los Angeles area and you're wanting a sneak peek at what the book has to offer, you may want to clear your calendar at some point in the coming weeks. Gallery Nucleus, located in Alhambra California, will be hosting a special collection of over 50 pieces of artwork from your favorite Blizzard games, including an extensive collection of concept art.

The exhibition will be at Gallery Nucleus from January 12 through February 3, 2012. However, there will be an opening reception from 7-11pm on January 12. Guests attending will have plenty of games and activities to keep them occupied, as well as an opportunity to get exclusive posters and other commemorative items. There is a $5 entrance fee at the door for the reception, however those that show up in costume will get in for free.

In addition to the artwork and events, several of the Blizzard Entertainment artists featured in the book will be in attendance giving painting demos, signing books, and simply hanging out with attendees. For more information on what sounds like an incredibly fun time, you can check out Gallery Nucleus' official website.


Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

The Instance interviews Chris Metzen, Christie Golden

The Instance interviews Chris Metzen, Christie Golden ANY
Looking forward to Tides of War, the next Warcraft novel slated to release later this month? The Instance, one of the longest-running Warcraft podcasts out there, has just released an interview with author Christie Golden as well as Chris Metzen himself. It's a spoiler-free interview, so those looking for a taste of what's to come in Tides of War can listen without fear of having the book utterly given away before it's even released.

More so than that, however, there is a lot of discussion on the nature of being female -- whether it's being a female writer in the sci-fi and fantasy industry, a female character in WoW, or a female character in the Blizzard universe, period. Given that Jaina sees so much character development in Tides of War, it's only natural that the conversation would turn that direction. And with Metzen in the fray as well as Golden, it's interesting to hear what both have to say about female characters and female character development in the Blizzard universe.

The interview runs about 45 minutes long. As always, The Instance is available to download on iTunes as well as Zune, so those of you looking for some interesting listening material on the drive to work can easily put it on your mobile media devices and listen on the go. All in all, it's a pretty fascinating peek into the minds behinds Tides of War, and while it's not the same as a book in your bag, it should help ease the waiting until Aug. 28 rolls around.

Filed under: Podcasting, News items, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard's schedule for Comic-Con 2012

Blizzard releases schedule for ComicCon 2010
Are you headed to the magic, the wonder, the majesty of Comic-Con 2012? The San Diego Comic-Con has evolved into something far more than just comics -- it's now about all kinds of geek entertainment, including video games. While Blizzard won't have a booth at Comic-Con, they'll still have a presence and even a panel for attendees. If you're lucky enough to be headed to geek mecca this weekend, take some time to check out the following.
  • Blizzard Entertainment product showcase Thursday, July 12 Room 6BCF If you've never been to this panel, it's worth attending. While the panel doesn't discuss game development or release dates, it does talk about the other side of Blizzard's products -- the comics, books, action figures, toys and other material they release in conjunction with their games. There is a Q&A at the end of the panel, which will include Chris Metzen and be moderated by Kat Hunter. Add it to your schedule if you're wondering what's going on in the world of Blizzard merchandise!
  • Blizzard Entertainment autograph signings Insight Editions Booth #1035 Want to get your favorite Blizzard stuff autographed? Here's your chance. Friday morning from 10-11:30 a.m., you'll find Micky Neilson, Flint Dille and Matt Burns happily scrawling their signature for you, and from 4-5 p.m. on Friday, Chris Metzen and Samwise Didier will be signing. The Insight Editions booth will also have a sneak peek at the upcoming The Art of Blizzard book, so stopping by is advised!
  • Christie Golden autograph signings Christie Golden has written a ton for Blizzard, and if you've got one of her books, getting it signed is a great idea. Christie will be at the Cryptozoic Store on Thursday between 7-8 p.m. and at the Mysterious Galaxy booth, #1119, from 4-5 p.m. on Thursday. Please note that the Cryptozoic Store is not at the convention, but it's a just a few blocks away; the address is 411 Market Street, downtown.
Having gone to Comic-Con a few years, I can tell you that the best way to make sure you get into a panel or an autograph section is to get there early. I can't stress this enough. If you have something to sign, make sure it's not buried in a backpack -- and it's helpful to put a bookmark in the page you want signed, too, if you're bringing a book!

Blizzard also has a host of licensing partners showing off all kinds of products from sculptures to books to the WoW TCG. Check out the full post on the official website for more information.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Blizzard panel and Sam Didier at the San Diego Comic-Con 2012

Blizzard panel at the San Diego Comicon!
WoW Insider has received a tip that there will be a Blizzard panel at the San Diego Comic-Con!

From 2:15 to 3:15 on Thursday, July 12, Chris Metzen (Blizzard Entertainment SVP, story and franchise development) and special guests will be hosting a panel in room 6BCF. The panel is listed as a product showcase for WoW, StarCraft and Diablo, and the blurb says that they will "reveal never-before-seen licensed products and plans for 2012/2013. Talk to the designers, writers and artists themselves as we dig into Mega Bloks, novels, comics, statues and more."

This panel will, of course, include a Q&A alongside the reveals mentioned above, so if you're in the San Diego area and already have tickets to Comic-Con, this sounds like a fantastically exciting opportunity to hob-nob with the Blizzard team and quiz them about everything you need to know about their games.

But wait, there's more! Sam "Samwise" Didier, the art director at Blizzard Entertainment responsible for creating much of the artwork for the Warcraft, StarCraft, and the Diablo series and the senior art director on StarCraft II, will be in the Artists' Alley at table DD-09. The Artists' Alley gives Comic-Con attendees the chance to meet and greet some of their favorite artists, and you might even be able to buy original art, sketches, and exclusive, limited edition prints and sketchbooks.

I would have loved to put in a link to buy Comic-Con tickets, but it seems from the website that it is completely sold out. So close to the time, I'm guessing this isn't a great surprise -- but still, a shame. So if you're lucky enough to have tickets, head on over!

[Thanks for the tips, Serrotatauren!]

Filed under: Comics, Mists of Pandaria

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