At first glance, Remastering 2002's Warcraft III looks like a fairly simple task. Take the ugly pieces and make them pretty. Overhaul the cutscenes. Give all that muddy terrain and build textures a 2018 makeover. Repeat Artha's Weird Kingdom. For Blizzard's classic team, though, that's just the beginning.
Warcraft III opened the door to World of Warcraft. Back in 2002, Blizzard had no idea what kind of beemoth the then-handed MMO would be. 2002 RTS put countless World of Warcraft stories into motion, from Arthas' defeat to the dark side, to Thrall's ever more complicated hero's journey, to Illidan's final coronation as King of Edgard's. As a result, Blizzard's classic will not only give Warcraft III a visual overhaul. They will bring a classic in line with what came after.
This starts with locations. During an interview at BlizzCon, the executive producer Chris Sigaty and QA leader Nicholas Louie showed me the map of the sweet level "The Culling", where the daughters Arthas kicked off a heel turn that would eventually turn him into a world by Warcraft mega-villain. Just like in 2002, the level performs the player – like Arthas – with the cleansing of a human city full of undead-pest-hit citizens. However, this city, Stratholme, continued to serve as the backdrop of two dungeons in World of Warcraft so its design in Reforged has been modified to reflect its later WoW
"Even down to the Corvette's square above," Louie told Kotaku pointing to an iconic location where ] WoW Players since have discovered Scarlet Bastion and fought a boss named Timmy The Cruel. "There are also other goodies, there are also WoW callbacks. Or I suppose to call ahead."
Surely, just playing the BlizzCon demo, people discovered performances by bosses from World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King "Culling of Stratholme" dungeons, in which players travel back in time and help Arthas do his dirty deed. The development team is still finding out exactly which places will get WoW -specified, but Stratholme will definitely not be the only one.
Warcraft III also introduced characters which eventually became movers and shakers in Warcraft lore after players killed everyone else, but at that time these heroes and villains personalities and motivations were only given thin sketches. It will also change in Reforged .
"We also look like separating characters like … we did not realize they were going to blow up," Louie said. "Signs like Sylvanas [Windrunner] and Jaina [Proudmoore]. In the events of Warcraft III they are not these major key characters. It is important for us to take them like their presence in WoW in terms of significance. Their characterization time, their great character moments. "
Again, the team still raises details about how to do this, but Louie said that dialogue and cutscene changes are definitely on the table.
Of course, the potential problem with all this is that these signs and places were not important in design. Warcraft III was not just a vehicle for capturing players into World of Warcraft and pepper it with wings, Easter eggs and direct rewrites – especially with material that was not perceived before years later – could make it something that was never meant to be. Blizzard's classic team, however, contains several members of the original Warcraft III development team, and Louie said that they do their best to avoid knocking this sacred degree of shelf players raised for it in their memories.
"We will always honor the original source material," he said. "It's critical. So the big things we're looking for are important storytimes. Is it in an important place in WoW ? Is this a place or event that players who played through WoW is going to recognize? Have characters that are essential to history? "
Makes no mistake, though: the bulk of Reforged s DNA is still Warcraft III . Sigaty described the class society as "lucky" to access all Warcraft III s original codes and assets, such as Warcraft III marked the first time Blizzard really made a concerted effort to keep a game while you create it. That was not always the case.
"We have done some things with Warcraft II and the original StarCraft earlier. It was moments when we could not find the machine [with the information on it]. We have modernized now, says Sigaty, describing the company's current non-ubiquitous (but coming) automated system where the source code, buildings and assets are all stored and instantly preserved. "Blizzard is much better with this now, but in the early days, nobody thought we would talk about something 20 years later – or in this case 16 years later. "
So Blizzard is looking forward as he glides back, but where is all this going? Longtime Warcraft fans hope of course, hoping for the same thing they always do: a new real-time strategy game, Warcraft IV And while Blizzard says there is nothing today, Sigaty gave me the most encouraging answer I've heard in all my years of attending BlizzCon and asking this same question literally every time.
 " Warcraft III: Reforged gives us the opportunity to see if the appetite is out there, he said when I asked him about a potential Warcraft IV . "And personally, I love the idea that we will revise the world in RTS form in a later future, but there are no specific plans."