Warcraft 3: The release of Warcraft III: Reforged negatively marked Blizzard, as it was their worst-rated game in more than three decades of history. According to an extensive report published by journalist Jason Schreier on Bloomberg, management mistakes and financial pressure from Activision were the main culprits for this.
According to the documents obtained by Jason, the producer’s idea was to cut costs as much as possible and prioritize only the company’s biggest titles, a status that was never occupied internally by the classic RTS. According to sources who preferred to remain anonymous, Activision wanted to bet only on blockbusters capable of generating billions of dollars, and not on “an old strategy game”.
The project’s leaders wanted more money to be able to fulfill everything that had been promised to the fans, while Activision preferred to leave the project aside. It wasn’t even possible to deliver reworked CG sequences and re-recorded speeches, and the game even hit the market with fewer features than the original title, such as removing systems in ranked mode.
As Warcraft III: Reforged replaced the old game on Battle.net, the community was even more disappointed by these decisions. Eleven people who worked on the development ensured that the project’s focus changed along the way, and that the budget cut forced the team to re-evaluate its vision several times.
More Activision and less Blizzard
When Mike Morhaime was still the company’s CEO, Blizzard was known for postponing its games until it could release them to the highest possible standard, but its acquisition by Activision in 2007 started to generate greater financial pressure for short results term.
Initially, the developers wanted to modernize the entire game script and re-record the dialogs to align the characters with what we see in World of Warcraft, but the team was small and reworking all the material in 3D was being more complicated than remaking StarCraft, which had a simpler look.