Many Blizzard fans still would like to forget about Warcraft III: Reforged. However, the game’s problems began way before the launch. Misunderstanding, low budgets, and Activision taking over Blizzard’s operations were just a few issues that plagued the project.

On July 22, Bloomberg published a new investigation about the development of Warcraft III: Reforged. Jason Schreier obtained Blizzard’s documentation and interviewed 11 people who worked on the game.

Key points from the report

  • Although Blizzard president J. Allen Brack called the original Warcraft III a “monumentally important” game, the remake was never a priority for the company. It is due to the fact that it had a few chances to become a billion-dollar hit Activision needed.
  • Updated in-game cutscenes, which were promised in the announcement, never made it to the release version of Warcraft III: Reforged. Although the company said it just didn’t want them to “steer too far from the original game,” Schreier’s report claims that the game suffered due to budget cuts and internal arguments.
  • “The central issue with Warcraft III: Reforged was an early, unclear vision and misalignment about whether the game was a remaster or a remake,” Activision Blizzard spokesman said. This issue led to other problems, which “all snowballed closer to launch.”
  • There might be another problem with today’s Blizzard. Activision, which acquired it in 2007, has been taking over the company’s operations and putting financial pressure on it over the recent years.
  • As a result, Activision Blizzard ignores smaller teams for the sake of potential hits like Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV. That’s what happened to Classic Games, which worked on Reforged and was dismissed eight months after the game’s release.
  • During the development, Classic Games worried that it won’t be able to finish all the things that had been promised. “It had taken months to revamp one of Warcraft III’s levels; now they would have to do the same for dozens more,” the report reads.
  • Blizzard rushed the release of Reforged due to a large number of pre-orders. The company didn’t want to lose money in the case of further delays.
  • “We have developers who have dealt with exhaustion, anxiety, depression and more for a year now. Many have lost trust in the team and this company. Many players have also lost trust, and the launch certainly didn’t help an already rough year for Blizzard’s image,” developers said in the project’s postmortem obtained by Bloomberg.
  • The team also wasn’t allowed to hire new people due to a limited budget, which led to some employees doing multiple jobs at once. Classic Games were missing people with expertise, while some staff members didn’t fit into their roles.
  • It all made developers cut features, including re-recorded dialogues and the revised script. The original game’s designer David Fried said that it was “quite telling” that Michael Morhaime departed weeks before Reforged was announced.
  • According to developers, “leadership seemed totally out of touch with the velocity and scope of the project until extremely late in development.” Classic Games had to seek help across other Blizzard divisions, but it seems like Reforged couldn’t have been saved at that moment.

A year and a half after the launch, Warcraft III: Reforged is still full of issues that haven’t been fixed. Although Blizzard has promised to update the game, fans still have to work on improving it themselves.

The full report on the development of Reforged can be read here.

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