According to Blizzard, World of Warcraft was originally going to be a much darker game than it turned out to be.
One of the most striking things about Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is its exaggerated, cartoony graphics, which stand in contrast to its competitors’ more photo-realistic take on MMORPGs. It might surprise you to learn then, that the original concept for the game called for a much darker take on the world of Azeroth.
“We were pushing it a few years ahead, into the future of the world, or rearranging the way that some of the characters would look,” said art director Sam Didier, comparing it to how radically different Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movies was to Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace.
“At the end of the day, there was a lot of cool art churned out … but as we stood back and looked at it, we just felt that there was a disconnect. It didn’t feel like Azeroth,” said story guru Chris Metzen. In the end, this disconnect was solved by a return to the art style of Warcraft III.
“It was like, why are we trying to reinvent this thing?” said Didier. “Everyone loves Warcraft … make it Warcraft III – that’s what the fans are going to love.” Obviously, it’s a decision that paid dividends as World of Warcraft makes millions of dollars every year, but I must admit that I’m a just a little bit curious about how it might have turned out.