The launch of Warcraft III: Reforged turned into a failure, and the game itself has not yet been brought into an acceptable state. An investigation has been released today, which sheds light on the development problems and the causes of their occurrence. Activision played an important role in this, which changed Blizzard’s internal culture and began allocating money only for potential hits.Jason Schreier published a big investigation on Bloomberg.

The journalist gained access to Blizzard’s internal documentation and spoke with 11 employees who worked on Warcraft III: Reforged.

The main thing from the investigationThe development of Warcraft III: Reforged was entrusted to the Classic Games division.

  • Initially, the team had great ambitions to rework the original game. The developers planned to rewrite the dialogues, update the cutscenes and change the plot details in accordance with the World of Warcraft lore.Blizzard announced its initial plans to players during the announcement of Warcraft III: Reforged, which took place on November 2, 2018.
  • The designer of the original game, David Fried, commented to Bloomberg that Reforged really thought about things that could breathe new life into a classic project.By the time of the release, most of the promises had not been fulfilled.
  • The company, for example, explained the lack of updated cutscenes by unwillingness to “move away from the original game.” However, Schreier’s investigation names a number of other problems that led to the failure of Reforged.The first of them is a reduced budget.
  • Despite Blizzard President Jay Allen Brack’s statements about the “monumental importance” of Warcraft III, its remake has never been a priority for the company. The fact is that the updated version of the classic RTS had little chance of becoming the big hit that Activision needed.That is why the company allocated not enough money to Classic Games.
  • The team was banned from hiring new employees, citing a limited budget. As a result, some had to do the work for several people at once. The studio lacked competent personnel, and some team members simply did not fit the roles assigned to them.Another reason for the problems around Reforged is the Activision manual.
  • In recent years, it has begun to interfere more and more in Blizzard’s operational processes and put financial pressure on developers. In particular, Activision has been ignoring its small internal teams for several years, giving priority only to the developers of Diablo IV, Overwatch 2 and other potential hits.A Blizzard representative highlighted another problem with Warcraft III: Reforged — the lack of an initial vision.
  • The team did not understand whether the management expected a remake or a remaster from them. As a result of misunderstandings, other problems arose that accumulated until the release.Along with the disagreements, the management of Classic Games simply did not understand the scope of the project until the end of development.
  • Rob Bridenbecker, who headed the team at that time, was constantly on business trips, as a result of which there was no one to solve problems.According to the developers, the company’s managers lost touch with reality and did not listen to the advice and complaints of the team.
  • Classic Games had to seek help from other Blizzard divisions. However, at that moment, Reforged was at a late stage of development, and nothing could save the project.As a result, the studio realized that it would not be able to fulfill all the promises.
  • Due to the small size of the team, they did not have time to finish Reforged on time. It took several months to redo only one level of the original Warcraft III.That is why the developers had to cut out the content, including already re-recorded dialogues and reworked parts of the script.
  • Fried noted that Michael Morhaime’s departure just a few weeks before the announcement of Reforged was “pretty telling.”According to Schreier, Blizzard released Reforged prematurely and unfinished due to the large number of pre-orders.
  • The company did not want to lose the money already received from fans in case of subsequent transfers. It was too late to correct numerous errors at the same time.”Some developers have been struggling with burnout, anxiety and depression for a year.
  • Many have lost faith in the team and this company. Many players have also lost confidence in us,” is how the staff described their experience working on the project in the internal Reforged post—mortem.A year and a half after the release of Warcraft III: Reforged is still in a depressing state.

The company has not fulfilled most of the promises to fix the game, and only a small group of enthusiastic fans is currently engaged in its revision.