Not only did I get to chat with the voice of Jim Raynor earlier this week at the Heart of the Swarm launch event in Irvine, CA, I also stopped by Blizzard HQ to interview Chris Metzen, Blizzard's VP of Story and Franchise Development, about the story of Heart of the Swarm... and beyond. Among the topics discussed are games as storytelling tools, where Kerrigan fits into Blizzard's roster of iconic characters, and what Thrall would order at Outback Steakhouse.
Yesterday, we brought you the first meaty chunk of a rather sizable conversation I had with Blizzard lore lord Chris Metzen during GDC Online. And today, we're bringing you part two, because that's how counting works.
In this installment, Metzen and I discuss the incredibly prevalent theme of fatherhood in recent videogames, the role of professional writers in the modern world, so-called "rockstar" game developers, and Metzen's mythical glasses.
Image credit: Lorehound
Whether you know him for his signature sunglasses and booming BlizzCon presence or a trio of obscure series by the names of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo, you've almost certainly crossed paths with Chris Metzen. While he's definitely not a one-man show, Metzen's gained a reputation as the story guy at Blizzard. Let's put it this way: Without him, there'd be no “World.” The absurdly popular MMO would just be “Of Warcraft.” And it probably wouldn't be anywhere near as popular.
Without a doubt, Metzen's left an incredibly iconic mark over the course of his 17-year career. That said, a lot can change in nearly two decades, and you don't have to tell Metzen twice. And so, after Blizzard's GDC Online summit, I sat down with Metzen for an interview so mighty that one post cannot even hope to contain it. So, in the first of two installments, we discuss Metzen's evolution as a writer, Blizzard's approach to storytelling, inspiration, Star Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender (seriously!), and more.
Much as I've always wanted to design a questline in which Grom Hellscream comes back to life and makes my world whole again, World of Warcraft's a straight shooter when it comes to story. Sure, users can mod the UI, but – compared to, say, City of Heroes' Mission Architect – the possibilities are far from limitless. Don't think, however, that Blizzard hasn't considered putting the “craft” back in Warcraft.