There’s a small group of Blizzard fans still hopefully waiting for a sequel announcement that may never come. I’m speaking, of course, about The Death and Return of Superman, the company’s first title published under the “Blizzard Entertainment” brand.
Just kidding. I’m actually talking about Warcraft III. Fans of Blizzard’s fantasy RTS have waited over 15 years for a sequel and… well, they still aren’t getting one. But they are getting a remastered Warcraft III and presumably Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Here’s the remastered opening scene:
Remaster or Remake?
It’s not clear if this is a remaster or a remake. Starcraft: Remastered was, well, a remaster, with unit capabilities and gameplay precisely duplicated in a more modern edition of the game. The text of the Starcraft: Remastered page states: “StarCraft®: Remastered upgrades the essential sci-fi strategy experience from beginning to end. Welcome back to the original game and its award-winning expansion, StarCraft: Brood War.”
Now, compare that to the WC3R text: “Warcraft III: Reforged is a stunning reimagining of the revolutionary real-time strategy game that laid the foundation for Azeroth’s most epic stories. It is a remake in the truest sense, featuring a thorough visual overhaul, a suite of contemporary social and matchmaking features, and more.”
That’s not precisely the same, but it’s not clear where the differences are, either. The game’s website makes reference to updated units, voice-overs, and animations — but Starcraft: Remastered included these as well. In fact, one of the major challenges for the developers was that they lacked many of the original art assets. Some creatures, like the Zergling, had to be re-animated from scratch. It was impossible to see the intended detail on a model that was just 30 pixels high, so the Starcraft: Remastered Team had to go back to early Zergling concept art. Polygon wrote about it here.
The improvements actually called out on the WC3R website seem to be in-line with the changes Blizzard made to Starcraft: Remastered, yet one is a remake and one wasn’t. So what’s the difference? We don’t know yet — but there’s at least one thing Blizzard might be planning to fix.
The Batman v. Superman of Endgame Fights
The Frozen Throne expansion to Warcraft III ended with two beings of enormous power slugging it out at the top of the world. The demon hunter Illidan Stormrage traveled to Northrend to destroy the Lich King and found the Lich King’s greatest champion, the Death Knight Arthas Menethil, waiting for him. Blizzard’s skill with cinematics was already legendary, and fans eagerly waited for the cut-scene depicting the epic beatdown to start. What we got… was this.
The rumor online for years has been that Blizzard was crunched for time and didn’t have the option to build an awesome cinematic for the battle that it actually deserved. The video above was poor enough that it left players unaware that Illidan had even survived the fight. Now that the company has time to remaster the game, a new, better version of the fight could well be in order. Given the company’s language and talk of a remaster, we’re hoping for some significant quality of life improvements. Regardless, if the game is as strong as Starcraft: Remastered, players will be pleased.
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