World of Warcraft Could Have Been World of Warhammer

Cognimancer

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World of Warcraft Could Have Been World of Warhammer



A marketing decision by Blizzard almost changed the fate of several genres.

It's no secret that Blizzard's colossal Warcraft franchise was heavily inspired by Warhammer, the tabletop wargame created by Games Workshop. A number of ideas from Warhammer have spread to other fantasy settings (green-skinned orcs, anyone?) but the number of similarities between it and Blizzard's fantasy universe borders on the uncanny. As it turns out, this is no coincidence - Blizzard very nearly made a licensed Warhammer game instead of starting its own IP.

"[Blizzard co-founder] Allen Adham hoped to obtain a license to the Warhammer universe to try to increase sales by brand recognition," said Warcraft producer Patrick Wyatt. "Warhammer was a huge inspiration for the art-style of Warcraft, but a combination of factors, including a lack of traction on business terms and a fervent desire on the part of virtually everyone else on the development team (myself included) to control our own universe nixed any potential for a deal. We had already had terrible experiences working with DC Comics on Death and Return of Superman and Justice League Task Force, and wanted no similar issues for our new game."

The developers' concerns may have been valid. While Warcraft's original plot was pretty simplistic, part of the series' continued success comes from its rapidly evolving lore. That probably wouldn't have been possible without the developers having full creative license with the setting they created. "It's surprising now to think what might have happened had Blizzard not controlled the intellectual property rights for the Warcraft universe," Wyatt said. "It's highly unlikely Blizzard would be such a dominant player in the game industry today."

Could a simple change of setting really have crippled a company that would later become a titan of the industry? Well, yes. Without total control of its flagship series, Blizzard might not have found the success it did with its line of real-time strategy games. Ignoring the impact that those games had on the RTS genre, even Warcraft spinoffs went on to change the gaming landscape. Forget World of Warcraft; turning a strategy game into a rich RPG wouldn't have been possible without Blizzard's substantial resources from their earlier successes. Lacking WoW's popularity and the rush of MMOs that followed, online gaming would certainly look a lot different. And without Warcraft III, the MOBA genre may never have gotten off the ground (meaning no DotA and no League of Legends).

So maybe the failure to work things out with Games Workshop wasn't such a bad thing. Still, the similarities remain as a reminder of what could have been - leading to more than a few mix-ups later on. "Years after the launch of Warcraft," said Wyatt, "my dad, upon returning from a trip to Asia, gave me a present of a set of Warhammer miniatures in the form of a skeleton charioteer and horses with the comment: 'I found these cool toys on my trip and they reminded me a lot of your game; you might want to have your legal department contact them because I think they're ripping you off.'"

Source: Kotaku [http://kotaku.com/5929157/the-making-of-warcraft-part-1]

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Fappy

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Warhammer started the "Orcs are green" trend? Huh, the more you know I suppose.
 

Aeshi

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Somewhere out there the head of GW is probably facepalming and going "What was I thinking?!" to himself...

But yeah there's always been little references to this fact in the Warcraft games (The Gryphon Rider cracks a joke about his Warhammer costing 40k if you click him enough)
 

Clearing the Eye

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The Warhammer universe is an order of magnitude more interesting and well developed than the rip-off. Not to mention 40,000K. A shame how it all turned out.
 

Ranorak

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I thought this was pretty much common knowledge.
I mean the 2008 Warcraft Retrospective video already mentioned this.

Don't get me wrong, nice read, but what's next, Super Mario Bros. 2 started out as a different game?
 

Worgen

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How is this a news story? Its pretty much old news that originally warcraft wanted to be a warhammer game and that starcraft started out a 40k game.
 

Lenny Magic

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I'm pretty sure that a similar thing happened with Starcraft as well. It was originally going to be Warcraft in space. But then went in a different direction becuase of worries that the game would be mistaken for a Warhammer 40k RTS.

Anyway I think this was a pretty big missed opportunity.
 

Setch Dreskar

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Sadly, though this should be common knowledge, you have the WoW Kiddies and even many adults, I mean heck the story even brings up how people don't think past face value with the buying a Warhammer model and saying its a rip-off. Sadly though this is a Blizzard co-founder, people will still say Warhammer ripped off WoW, and Warhammer Space Marine was a Gears of War rip-off and blah blah blarg...

Though Starcraft was a rather shameless rip-off of 40k after they couldn't work the deal for Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Hell even Diablo could be considered a rip-off of Warhammer Fantasy RP, or the exploits of the Templar Knights of Sigmar.
 

Absolutionis

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It's fine, they eventually converged.

Blizzard-Activision went on to make (mostly) quality games and screw its customers in favor of money.
Games Workshop went on to make (mostly) quality models and screw its customers in favor of money.

Going public does that to a company...
 

draythefingerless

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Lenny Magic said:
I'm pretty sure that a similar thing happened with Starcraft as well. It was originally going to be Warcraft in space. But then went in a different direction becuase of worries that the game would be mistaken for a Warhammer 40k RTS.

Anyway I think this was a pretty big missed opportunity.
starcraft was gonna be the warhammer 40k rts, but blizz didnt cut a decent deal with GW, so they just....inspired themselves on 40k. it is common knowledge, despite what idiots these days will tell you.
 

tkioz

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This is news?

I was pretty sure this was common knowledge going back to the early days of Warcraft II...

Oh and Warhammer is much much deeper then Warcraft... and a hell of a lot funnier (it and 40k are parodies of their genres, no matter how seriously some fans take it)
 

WhiteTigerShiro

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Cognimancer said:
"It's highly unlikely Blizzard would be such a dominant player in the game industry today."

Could a simple change of setting really have crippled a company that would later become a titan of the industry?
There's a lot more degrees of success than "dominant player" and "crippled". I think he was more saying that if they had gone with Warhammer, that Blizzard would be one of those off-shoot developers that does well for itself, but that no one really pays attention to.

tkioz said:
This is news?

I was pretty sure this was common knowledge going back to the early days of Warcraft II...

Oh and Warhammer is much much deeper then Warcraft... and a hell of a lot funnier (it and 40k are parodies of their genres, no matter how seriously some fans take it)
Worgen said:
How is this a news story? Its pretty much old news that originally warcraft wanted to be a warhammer game and that starcraft started out a 40k game.
I don't know about your guys' web browsers, but mine has this handy little "Back" button for news stories I don't really give a fuck about. If you don't care, just move the fuck on. We don't need to hear from the "Is this news" brigade on EVERY FUCKING NEWS POST because every news post isn't news-worthy to someone.

Shut up. Move on. No one is obligating you to read about and post on every article.
 

Karadalis

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tkioz said:
This is news?

I was pretty sure this was common knowledge going back to the early days of Warcraft II...

Oh and Warhammer is much much deeper then Warcraft... and a hell of a lot funnier (it and 40k are parodies of their genres, no matter how seriously some fans take it)
I wouldnt necesary say Parodies.... theres to much grim and "serious" stuff in it. Sure theres alot of humor also, (skaven or orcs) but then you have races like dark elfs or high elfs or the undead where there is little to no humor involved. (Actually all the elfs are pretty humor resistant.. go figure)

Warhammer and 40k also have alot of tragic stories in it... something that doesnt go well with a parody... atleast i have never heard about a tragic parody....

Also for a complete parody the warhammer lore makes to much sense... unlike the WoW universe where aparantly you have high magic concepts thrown together with steampunk and space traveling blue goat hoofed aliens and aparantly walking talking kung fu pandas... I mean they can have space ships and aparantly guns but are still fighting with melee weapons? Huh?

I would rather say that WoW is the one being the parody here and not Warhammer and 40k.

Warhammer is fantasy with humor...

And WoW seems to be headed Humor with fantasy... i mean.. kung fu pandas? Really?
 

Worgen

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WhiteTigerShiro said:
Cognimancer said:
"It's highly unlikely Blizzard would be such a dominant player in the game industry today."

Could a simple change of setting really have crippled a company that would later become a titan of the industry?
There's a lot more degrees of success than "dominant player" and "crippled". I think he was more saying that if they had gone with Warhammer, that Blizzard would be one of those off-shoot developers that does well for itself, but that no one really pays attention to.

tkioz said:
This is news?

I was pretty sure this was common knowledge going back to the early days of Warcraft II...

Oh and Warhammer is much much deeper then Warcraft... and a hell of a lot funnier (it and 40k are parodies of their genres, no matter how seriously some fans take it)
Worgen said:
How is this a news story? Its pretty much old news that originally warcraft wanted to be a warhammer game and that starcraft started out a 40k game.
I don't know about your guys' web browsers, but mine has this handy little "Back" button for news stories I don't really give a fuck about. If you don't care, just move the fuck on. We don't need to hear from the "Is this news" brigade on EVERY FUCKING NEWS POST because every news post isn't news-worthy to someone.

Shut up. Move on. No one is obligating you to read about and post on every article.
Because I would like to see more game news on this site, compared to a site like destructoid or even gamespot the amount of game news on here tents to be rather lacking.
 

Quiotu

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WhiteTigerShiro said:
I don't know about your guys' web browsers, but mine has this handy little "Back" button for news stories I don't really give a fuck about. If you don't care, just move the fuck on. We don't need to hear from the "Is this news" brigade on EVERY FUCKING NEWS POST because every news post isn't news-worthy to someone.

Shut up. Move on. No one is obligating you to read about and post on every article.
So we shouldn't call out someone posting up a news story about something that's not only incredibly old, but been discussed countless times in other media, as well as being blatantly obvious to anyone who knows the two franchises.

No, sorry. I will call bullshit for any news article I find worthless or factually incorrect. A quick Google search can give you the exact information in the article. You don't need this clogging up the 'breaking news' column.

I mean really... shouldn't this site already know better than to throw up information that Kotaku thinks is breaking news? Shame on you.
 

irishda

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A World of Warhammer title definitely wouldn't have seen the number of content expansions WoW has because no one would be able to get past the greatest raid boss of all: GW's reluctance to move the plot forward
 

Amnestic

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Slow news day Escapist?

Worgen said:
How is this a news story? Its pretty much old news that originally warcraft wanted to be a warhammer game and that starcraft started out a 40k game.
^ Pretty much. Didn't Blizzard even give a shout out of thanks to Games Workshop in the end credits of StarCraft 1? I vaguely recall that.

Article said:
And without Warcraft III, the MOBA genre may never have gotten off the ground (meaning no DotA and no League of Legends).
For the record, the original WC3 DotA map was based off of a StarCraft map. It is quite possible that we would've seen MOBA develop without Warcraft 3, though that's supposition on my part.

/Love Warcraft 3. Still an amazing RTS.
 

Evil Alpaca

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I thought GW's main contribution was the creation of armor with shoulder pads big enough to cover a small car rather than any substantial contribution to the lore of fantasy. That, and tanks covered with more guns than an NRA convention.


irishda said:
A World of Warhammer title definitely wouldn't have seen the number of content expansions WoW has because no one would be able to get past the greatest raid boss of all: GW's reluctance to move the plot forward
What version of WoW have you been playing?

Blizzard refuses to let their world be changed in any substantial way, recycling characters and bosses in lieu of creating new content.