Warcraft 3 remake blamed on poor leadership and Activision

Details have emerged concerning the development of last year’s Warcraft 3 remake and how it turned out the way it did.

To call the past week bad for Activision Blizzard would be an understatement. The company is facing a serious lawsuit regarding its toxic working conditions, and now details have come about regarding the development of Warcraft 3 Reforged, Blizzard’s remake of the 2003 strategy game.

As a reminder, Warcraft 3 Reforged released in early 2020 and was met with widespread ridicule and criticism for its poor quality. Thanks to Bloomberg, we now have greater insight into what exactly was going on behind the scenes and what led to the game being released in such a state.

According to documents and people who spoke with Bloomberg, it was ultimately down to mismanagement as well as pressure from Activision. While Blizzard’s own president J. Allen Brack called the original Warcraft 3 ‘monumentally important,’ unnamed individuals said the project was never a priority since it wasn’t likely to become a billion-dollar product.

Blizzard initially had ambitious plans for the remake but Activision wanted to to focus more on its big franchises, so Blizzard was unable to secure the budget it wanted. This led to many promised features being cut from the final product, like the revised script and re-recordings for dialogue, and even features from the original game like leaderboards.

David Fried, a designer on the original game, was brought back to work on the remake, but he wound up leaving it part way through and has directly blamed Activision.

‘I am deeply disappointed that Activision would actively work against the interests of all players in the manner that they did,’ he said, adding that it was ‘quite telling’ that Blizzard’s former CEO Mike Morhaime had resigned weeks before Warcraft 3 Reforged was presented at BlizzCon in 2018.

Other unnamed developers have pointed fingers at executives, including Rob Bridenbecker, the former head of the Classic Games team who quit in April. It’s claimed that aside from possessing an aggressive managerial style, he would take frequent trips out of the country and set unrealistic deadlines.

Perhaps the most ironic aspect of the whole thing is that Blizzard decided to prematurely release the game because it had already accepted pre-orders and wanted to avoid being forced to issue refunds if it delayed the game.

By the time of Warcraft 3 Reforged’s release Blizzard wound up offering refunds anyway, alongside an apology for the game’s quality and a promise of fixes. At the time of writing, however, the game remains incomplete and missing many of the promised updates.

In related news, World Of Warcraft players have taken to the game to protest against Activision and Blizzard regarding the aforementioned lawsuit. Organised by the Fence Macabre guild, the virtual sit-in saw players gather at the Idyllia Steps in Oribos and lasted for 11 hours.

A fundraising campaign for Black Girls CODE, which helps introduce and teach computer programming and technology to young girls of colour, was also set up, smashing its target, and raising over $8,500 (over £5,800) at the time of writing. The fundraiser will remain open until July 26th and you can donate here.

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