My initial gut reaction when the first shot of the flag from the original trailer for WarCraft III Reign of Chaos appeared on screen was sheer bloody disappointment. It wasn’t just that I wanted Diablo 2 Reborn/Revived/Returns or whatever they name it, though I really really really wanted it, but I believed that the game was perfect as is. It looked great, it ran well, and there were no major compatibility issues that needed addressing, while other titles could use some work in all three areas. Then I saw a gameplay video complete with unit comparison shots.
I just replayed this game over the summer in preparation for Battle for Azeroth and I don’t remember it looking like this. It looked great; one of the best games ever made. With a timeless art and graphic style………or so we thought and said for the last 16 years.
It didn’t take me long to get fully on board. I was a huge fan of this team’s work on StarCraft: Remastered which looked how we all remember the game playing. This seems like it’s going to be that to an even greater degree. What’s even more insane while looking at the new models and animation work, is knowing that like SC:R before it, WCIII:R is meant to be fully compatible with today’s game. It’s the exact same engine, the same wireframes, and same animation cycles. With all of the limitations that entails, the amount of detail and high fidelity model work they’ve managed to cram in is beyond impressive and speaks highly of the team’s passion to doing this the best they can.
It’s not just models, but buildings, the terrain, lighting and shadows; everything is getting seriously overhauled. The only issue for now, according to a panel they had earlier today, is with grass and similar terrain cover due to issues with performance and the original implementations. Regardless of that minor issue, it’s magnificent looking even in its early alpha state and captures the hyper stylized WarCraft look. Everything looks recognizable yet far, far better then how it used to be. Just like what any good remaster/remake should do.
The cinematics are being completely remade as well. The trailer showed off the kind of thing we can expect and it was magnificent to behold. Blizzard’s CG work has improved by leaps and bounds since 2003 and to see some of their most famous moments being recreated using their modern methods will be worth the ticket price alone. This was something I wish StarCraft: Remastered had done.
WarCraft III was a landmark game for Blizzard. The direct influence for World of WarCraft, which even runs on a heavily modified version of the WC3 engine, is widely considered by some people (not me) to be their best game, so it’s not hard to see why this reforging it is at the top of Blizzard Classic’s to do list. So even though I really wanted it to be Diablo 2, I can’t deny how much better it looks and how excited I am to play it when it releases next year.