Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans
|Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac OS|
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans is the defunct, dark, comical, adventure game that Blizzard began production on soon after Warcraft II was complete, though they kept news of its existence from the public for quite a while.
It was an adventure game in the same style as Monkey Island and other classic LucasArts and Sierra adventure games. The graphics were all hand-drawn and cel-animated, and then scanned into the game. It was not produced in-house by Blizzard, though Blizzard artists were consulted.
The game had the tagline "An Adventure Game in the World of WarCraft", but it was cancelled before completion.
Development and cancellation
American company Animation Magic located in Cambridge, Massachusetts was out-sourced due to their experience in classical two-dimensional animation to produce the twenty-two minutes of fully-animated sequences, the game's artwork, the coding of the engine and the implementation of the sound effects. Blizzard then provided all the designs, the world backgrounds, sound recording and ensured storyline continuity.
The game was ultimately canceled when Blizzard decided that, while the story and graphics were great, they felt the gameplay was severely lacking. Rather than publish a mediocre game, they chose to cancel it.
When Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans was canceled, it had been in development for over a year and was almost complete. Nearly all features, puzzles, and areas were in place, and the voice acting had been recorded. Another round of development, involving the implementation of new puzzles, tweaked areas, and more recording, was about to start before E3, in May 1998, but before that could happen the game was canceled.
The storyline was far too important to disregard, however, as it set the stage for the entire Horde campaign in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Star Trek novelist Christie Golden was then hired to write the novelization based on scripts and outlines provided by Warcraft universe co-creator, Chris Metzen, and had to be completed within six weeks. The book was released under the title Lord of the Clans about a year prior to Warcraft III.
- "Three great wars between the human Alliance and the orcish invaders have laid waste to the once proud realms of Azeroth. Twenty-two years have passed since Blackmoore found the young orcling, secretly raising it within the confines of his prison fortress Durnholde. Blackmoore planned to mold the orcling into the perfect warrior. A warrior conditioned to human thinking, but with all the savagery of an orcish heart." -Drek'Thar, Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans trailer.
- Basically, after the Dark Portal was destroyed and the rift between the worlds was destroyed, you had a large group of orcs that were trapped on Azeroth. And over the course of the next few years, the humans, being merciful in their ways, instead of hunting down and eradicating these orcs, granted them land areas where they could live as long as they lived within the confines of societal expectations. Basically, they were put on these reservations or camps. And because they were made to live in a way that was very contrary to their basic nature, a lot of the spirit and fire that defines them as a culture was drained out of them. And so what you found yourself with was an orc society in Azeroth of forced passivity, not forced through violence but forced through situation.
- Although down on their luck, the orcs in Warcraft Adventures were supposed to experience a rebirth, thanks to the leadership of Thrall.
- Our storyline followed an orc baby that was taken from a battle scene where his parents were slain and raised by a human lieutenant, Blackmoore, with the intention of raising him with human ideals but being able to use him to control the orcs. Definitely someone who does not fit into the general stereotype of noble humans. He was a self-serving, dark human character who wanted to raise this orc, Thrall, our central character in the game, and use him to control and command the orcs and then raise them as his own private army. Thrall, though he's raised in captivity by humans to serve their will, still has some fire within him that he can't deny, so he rebels against his human owners. He escapes the compound where he's being held, and then over the course of the game, what we do is follow his adventures. As he discovers more about himself and the orcs and what it means to be an orc, so does the player. As you go through the game, you meet some familiar faces from the games, some in retirement, some trying to lead an underground resistance, and you learn of what happened to the Frost Wolf Clan, which was the clan that Thrall's father Durotan was a part of. You learn that Durotan, Blackhand and Doomhammer were three blood brothers, and that his clan Frost Wolf was sent into the Dwarf Highlands in the mountains. They were exiled there by a plotting Ner'zhul, when he was pulling the strings in the background behind Doom Hammer and Black Hand, because he knew that Durotan was a threat.
- So you find your heritage and then take up the banner of the Frost Wolves to regroup the orcs and lead them in a rebellion against Blackmoore and these humans that are, at least in your mind, enslaving your people. The payoff in the end is that you're able to storm the castle, lead your horde to victory, and reclaim that birthright of the orcs. That was our overarching storyline in a nutshell. And of course, there were tons of other weird characters you meet along the way and interact with. - Bill Roper
Thrall is the central character in the story. He was raised by humans in servitude. He escapes his shackles and begins his journey to discover his heritage and reunite the clans.
- Played by Clancy Brown (of Highlander fame).
Durotan is Thrall's father. He is murdered by the unscrupulous orc brothers Rend and Maim, sons of Blackhand.
Orgrim is the quintessential "grandfather" orc. Orgrim has seen it all and most of his speech recounts certain parts of the Horde's history. Orgrim died with a spear through his head, leaning against a stone wall. Thrall would have knelt next to him and touched his tooth/claw necklace.
- Played by Peter Cullen (of Optimus Prime, Transformers fame).
If rock and roll had ever erupted on Azeroth, Grom would have been its driving force. He is a leather-clad, loudly abrasive orc who kicks serious ass. Grom is usually boisterous, but also gets down to business in a very no-nonsense manner.
Gazlowe the Goblin
If Azeroth was New York City, Gazlowe would be a cabby. He's a wise cracking smart-guy, whose only real concerns are besting the Gnomes in an invention and design war. Gazlowe is cranky and abrasive, but means well deep down. What little is known from screenshots and videos from the game, Thrall would have assisted Gazlowe in repair of a Goblin Zeppelin and helped steal gnomish plans. Allowing Thrall to use the Zeppelin as a way to move around the world easier.
Drek'Thar, like Doomhammer, is an old orc who serves a very paternal role for Thrall. As opposed to Orgrim, Drek'Thar is a very impatient old fogy.
- Played by Tony Jay.
Alexstrasza the Dragon Queen
Alexstrasza is easily the most powerful individual on Azeroth. She is a huge red dragon who could just as easily crush an army as cunningly manipulate its leaders to her own ends. She has a brilliant intellect and delights in toying with the lesser creatures who cross her path. Thrall has an encounter with her for some unknown reason. He heads to Alexstrasza's Cave (a location hidden somewhere out in the great sea between Kul Tiras and Khaz Modan). During the encounter, she lets loose on Thrall with fiery blasts. He blocks them with a shield. The outcome of this encounter is unclear, but it can be assumed he ultimately earns her trust, or received whatever he was after. This version of Alexstrasza seems to be the polar opposite of the version in current lore.
Zul'jin is a real character. He was once a notorious bandit, but now sells junk goods in a run-down trading post.
Blackmoore is the crafty Human who has no problem with taking advantage of others when they're down. He's a slave-owning, back-stabbing, double-crossing, no-good swindler. Blackmoore secretly raised the orcling Thrall within the confines of his prison fortress Durnholde. He planned to mold the orcling into the perfect warrior. A warrior conditioned to human thinking, but with all the savagery of an orcish heart. This bad guy had also hired the murders of Thrall's father, Rend and Maim. He sends them after Thrall after he escaped. Later Thrall would return to his castle to fight him. They fight on the walls of the castle, and during the struggle Thrall apparently knocks him over the edge. Thrall held him by his clothing, while Blackmoore looked at him with a look of fear and hatred.
Rend and Maim were the murderers of Thrall's father, Durotan. Lieutenant Blackmoore also hired them for his own use. They never seem to be too far apart from each other. They appear to be chasing after Thrall to bring him back to Blackhand. They apparently would have been killed by an intense bright light, causing their flesh to melt.
Kilrogg Deadeye was the powerful leader of the Bleeding Hollow Clan. Apparently, Orgrim would have helped free the clan during the course of the game. During a convocation on an Altar of Storms, Thrall would have convinced Kilrogg and the leaders of the Frostwolf clan and the Shattered Hand clan to work together to free the rest of the orcs and reunite the Horde.
During one dramatic scene Thrall was to match wits with the dragon Deathwing. Miscommunication led to this scene of the dragon Deathwing smoking a hookah. Blizzard decided to leave it in.
Singe was a black drake that served as a pet or adviser to Grom Hellscream. Its unknown if he was meant to be an enemy (perhaps manipulating Grom) and perhaps having connections to Deathwing who was also in the game.
Mugg'roth was a two-headed ogre mage. The game's interface simply refers to Muggroth as Ogre and the concept art calls him Orge.
The Two heads do not get along as the dumber head traded their spell book to Zul'jin in exchange for a leg of meat. Thrall would end up returning their spell book and tricking them into walking on their own Runes spell due to their lack of gratitude.
Uglaz was an orc character.
Kargath Bladefist is the chieftain of the Shattered Hand Clan. His clan was apparently one of the last free orc clans left on Azeroth, during the internment camp period (although its possible Orgrim would have helped free the clan during the course of the game). He is one of the three clan leaders, along with Doomhammer, and Kilrogg Deadeye that met at a convocation or council on an Altar of Storms. Thrall apparently convinces them to form the Horde again. Each of their respective clans could be seen behind the altar.
Nazgrel is a hotheaded orc of the Frostwolf clan.
A blue dragon was to have appeared in the game. Little is known about this dragon, not even its name.
A sleeping Death Knight residing in a Temple of The Damned.
The makers of the number-one selling Warcraft series and the runaway hit Diablo bring Warcraft's personality and depth to the adventure genre
Irvine, CA, March 17, 1997 — Blizzard Entertainment announced today Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, the pivotal next chapter in the epic Warcraft saga. The fantasy adventure game, which is expected to release this holiday season, is the continuation of the Warcraft story and sets the stage for future Warcraft titles.
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans picks up where Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal ended and develops many of the popular characters and locations first introduced in the Warcraft real-time strategy series. Players return to the land of Azeroth as Thrall, a young virile orc robbed of his heritage after being raised in servitude by humans. Destined to reunite and lead the disbanded orcish clans, Thrall must escape the humans' shackles and return the Horde to dominance.
Said Allen Adham, president and founder of Blizzard Entertainment, "With Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, our goal is to recapture the elements that make adventure games great. Players will be immersed in the world of Warcraft with a rich storyline, character interaction and extensive exploration."
"The adventure game tells an important chapter in our overall vision for the Warcraft story. For the first time, players will interact with the Orcish Horde, and learn about their history and motivations. The game adds to the depth of the Warcraft universe and provides the back story for future titles."
Key features in the game include:
- More than 60 stunning locations within seven Azeroth regions.
- Intense gameplay filled with puzzles and extensive character interaction.
- Over 70 animated characters, including many of the familiar faces from the Warcraft series.
- More than 40,000 frames of feature-film caliber animation created by a team of over 50 artists.
- Hollywood voice talents of Clancy Brown (Highlander, Starship Troopers, and The Shawshank Redemption), Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime from the animated TV series Transformers) and Tony Jay (Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame).
- A classical soundtrack of Warcraft music.
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans is expected to be available this holiday season in Windows 95 and Macintosh CD-ROM format at most computer and software retail chains nationwide for approximately $50. The game will also be available directly through Blizzard at 1-800-953-SNOW. This game, as well as other Blizzard titles, is distributed by CUC Software.
Best known for the number-one selling Warcraft series and the blockbuster hit Diablo, Blizzard Entertainment is an operating unit of CUC International Inc. (NYSE: CU).
Response to cancellation petition
Within hours of the announcement of the cancellation, fans of the series formed an online petition, demanding the project be resurrected. On the 22nd of May 1998, Blizzard responded via their website;
Blizzard Announcement — 22 May 1998
Press Desk: Blizzard Cancels Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans
Blizzard wants to take a minute to respond to the Warcraft Adventures petition that is circulating on the Internet. First, we want to express our gratitude to the Warcraft fans that took the time to organize such an effort. We recognize that the cancellation of Warcraft Adventures has disappointed some of our customers, and we appreciate that they have shared their opinions with us.
Secondly, we want let you know that stopping development was not a decision that was taken lightly. It was a hard call to make, but each of us knows that it was the right choice. The cancellation was not a business or marketing decision or even a statement about the adventure genre. The decision centered around the level of value that we want to give our customers. In essence, it was a case of stepping up and really proving to ourselves and gamers that we will not sell out on the quality of our games.
And finally, we hope that Warcraft fans will consider our track record and trust our judgment on ending the project. The cancellation of Warcraft Adventures does not signal the demise of Azeroth. We have every intention of returning to the Warcraft world because there are still chapters to be told. We will keep you informed as we announce future Warcraft plans.
Clawhand from Warcraft Adventures.