Blizzard’s eagerly awaited Warcraft 3 remake Reforged arrived in January 2020. But the celebrations quickly turned sour when fans realized the game didn’t deliver what it promised. Bloomberg now has a new report that reveals the details of how Blizzard’s beloved game, Warcraft 3, failed to deliver.
Blizzard originally presented Reforged at BlizzCon 2018 as an overhaul to its real-time strategy title. The final release was riddled with bugs and had broken online play. It also lacked the promised features such as improved cutscenes or rerecorded voices. The original Warcraft 3 elements, such as clans and leaderboards, were even removed.
Blizzard was so upset by Reforged’s negative reaction that they implemented an on-request policy for a refund. But, the real question is why Blizzard thought it acceptable to ship products in such a poor state.
Bloomberg says the answer is mismanagement and financial pressures. Activision has reportedly pushed Blizzard towards cutting costs and prioritising bigger titles during Reforged’s development. This move was interpreted as a sign of culture changes in the company.
Bloomberg reports that the Classic Games team at Blizzard began the ambitious project with the development team rewriting the script and recording all dialog between 2017-2018. It took several months to overhaul a Warcraft 3 level due to the disorganised team size and production.
According to Bloomberg’s post-mortem on Reforged by Blizzard, “Leadership appeared totally out of touch regarding the speed and scope of this project until very late in development.” Over the past year, senior voices within the department had warned the leadership of the imminent disaster in Warcraft. However, they were ignored.
Reforged lost features as Activision cut budgets. The project was rescoped by management. They removed the scripts revisions and recorded new tracks that the Reforged team had been creating. It became imperative to get help from everyone at Blizzard in order to make the game shippable in time for launch.
Many players could argue that the final version of Reforged was not suitable for release. Bloomberg reports that Blizzard did not appear to be concerned about this. Bloomberg says the reason is the developer was afraid it would have have to issue refunds if Reforged was delayed too long and fans wouldn’t purchase the game again. This irony comes as a result of the firm’s no-questions-asked return policy, which was forced by the increasing criticisms of the final product.
Bloomberg’s complete report contains more information, and is worth reading. However, the poor picture of Blizzard is coming at a moment when it is already under fire from California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Activision is being accused of repeatedly turning a blind eye towards a culture that is “a breeding ground of harassment and discrimination toward women”.
Publited Fri, 23 July 2021 at 00:09.33 +0000