We had the opportunity to ask questions to Simon Furman, writer of StarCraft # 1—the ongoing Wildstorm comic book, to discuss details of the first arc. He is widely known for his work on The Transformers series. We wanted to find out how his experience benefits the StarCraft series to spice up the conspiracies and tone of the Koprulu sector, specially when the comic book is based in the time-frame of the upcoming StarCraft II single player storyline.
How does your experience with The Transformers translate into your new role in the StarCraft comic book? And what’s your feeling on taking this project?
SF: Just to reassure people, the StarCraft comic is a robot-free zone as far as I
World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon has gone to its fourth printing due to its popularity. This is a sequel to Day of the Dragon and one of the major reasons it continues to be read by fans is because it answers the questions of many raiding players … why are we killing Sartharion in the Obsidian Sanctuary (beneath the Wyrmrest Temple)? Where did this Twilight Dragonflight come from? Why is Sartharion protecting these eggs? The story came to be in the book Night of the Dragon where the Blizzard Creative Team and the book author fleshed out the backstory behind the Obsidian Sanctuary.
Remember Lady Sinestra … the black dragon that flies down into the Netherwing Ledge and seals a pact with the Dragonmaw? This book and the Obsidian Sanctuary dungeon are tied-in with that scene from the Burning Crusade expansion. More important … where is Deathwing? The book will open your eyes to a threat looming the horizon of the world of Azeroth. Whether you have or not read the book, your chance to get all these questions floating around your mind can be answered by no other than the World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon writer—New York Times Bestselling Author Richard A. Knaak.
Attend to the live public chat with Richard A. Knaak this very Thursday, May 14 at 8pm EST to talk about Night of the Dragon.
US East – May 14, 8pm US Central – May 14, 7pm US Mountain – May 14, 6pm US Pacific – May 14, 5pm
Note: Europeans can access the live chat on Friday, May 15:
I found Walter Simonson and his wife Louise Simonson at the 2009 New York Comic Con this past February 7, and took the opportunity to jump them with a few questions about the World of Warcraft comic book. Specially by then, issue # 15 had kicked in into newsstands introducing the return of Garona Halforcen—from the novel Warcraft: The Last Guardian. They were at odds trying to dodge the interrogation, but they were very sweet and kind to provide as much teasing as possible for those fans who haven’t yet subscribed to the official World of Warcraft comic book.
They are a very fun couple, and I loved the experience spending some minutes with them. The future of the comic book and the MMORPG look very interesting with more focus on the Horde, and certain events yet to come that will make the Alliance and Horde clash once more. We already saw what happened at the Wrathgate, and the continuation of that conflict between King Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream in the Secrets of Ulduar cinematic.
I am a subscriber of the comic book and know what’s going on. The comic book # 15-18 reveal why these two adversaries hate their guts … and Garona is in part, whether accidentally or not, responsible or blamed by the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde. Something big happened in Theramore during the second attempt to reestablish the summit between Thrall and Varian. Grab your copy to find out. The inclusion of Garona into the MMO is imminent no doubt. In the meantime, check out my video interview with Walter and Louise Simonson to get the excitement within you rolling.
The StarCraft # 1 comic book by Wildstorm Comics and DC Comics will make its official launch on May 27th at all newsstands nationwide. This is one of the most expected comic book titles based in Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft Universe. The comic book heralds the release of the RTS sequel StarCraft II and will give us a glimpse into its single player storyline.
We approached Ben Abernathy (Wildstorm Starcraft Editor) to find out further details of this comic book beyond the solicitations to increase our expectations and crave for this new ongoing series.
On Saturday, February 7th—Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for a book signing session at the Simon & Schuster booth (1402). Thanks to Jaime Costas from the Pocket Star Books publisher; Shon Damron and Rob Tokar from Blizzard Entertainment’s Public Relations Department an interview was scheduled at the event.
Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson answered lore questions based on the StarCraft and World of WarCraft pocket star books for a length of 24 minutes. I split the video into two parts. This interview is packed with a lot of fun, spoilery and informative answers to various concerns from scenes that happened in Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, Warcraft: The Last Guardian, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal, the Warcraft RPG Books, and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon. And a massive influx of info about the upcoming books—World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King (April 21), Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight (June 30), World of Warcraft: Stormrage (2010) and Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (2010).
After watching this video interview, you are going to faint, and wake up with only one thought in mind: “you CAN’T MISS reading one of these pocket star books !!!” Guaranteed. These books tie-in deeply into the events of the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and could we dare to say … future expansions?
Medievaldragon: This is Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet and WorldOfWar.net. We are here to interview Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Blizzard Entertainment and Micky Neilson, Senior Writer and Voice Director of Blizzard Entertainment. I picked up some questions from the Community about Pocket Books lore. We’ll start with the Starcraft questions first.
Medievaldragon: Ulrezaj is composed of 7 dark templars according to Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, but only composed of 4 in the Enslavers 2 Episode 5B: Dark Vengeance. could you fill us in on how that happened?
Metzen: Essentially we just made a call. Originally, I think in the Enslavers campaign it was 4, but Enslavers has always been kind of quasi-canonical. There was a lot of new fiction developed for Enslavers that we thought was really cool, but as we were developing this trilogy with Christie we knew we wanted to bring Ulrezaj back, which was kind of a cool idea, but we felt that going to 7 was better for the fiction in general. It kind of gave us more options to dig his origin out, who were all these arch-criminals that comprised him, so we felt that going with 7 just felt a little rounder. So… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Medievaldragon: Does the Umojan Protectorate and Kel-morian Combine have their own versions of the Ghost program, or is it exclusive to the Confederates and the Dominion?
Neilson: I like that question.
Metzen: Kill it!
Neilson: My answer would be that they do, and that it’s something a little bit different, something we haven’t seen yet, and something that we should definitely investigate in the future in the fiction, because it sounds like a really cool idea.
Metzen: That sounds like a dare right there.
Neilson: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: Will the Terrazine gas plot be explored in the upcoming Starcraft Ghost: Spectre book?
Metzen: Well the Terrazine and its significance to the “alleged” Ghost spectres is definitely handled in the upcoming novel Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by Decandidio. Decandido, pardon me. Sorry Keith! We definitely get into what Terrazine is, what it’s used for, and I would bet, wink wink, that we might see a bit of that play out in Starcraft 2 as well.
Metzen: Yes indeed.
Medievaldragon: Can we expect a sequel to Starcraft: Queen of Blades? We are missing the period between the Overmind’s invasion of Aiur and Tassadar’s sacrifice.
Neilson: Official announcement? I don’t know what’s official and what isn’t as far as…
Metzen: We’ve been working on an outline, we call it… well I’ll just say it. We call it Heir to Adun is the title of that possible novel. We’ve done a number of outline treatments on it to really dig out Tassadar’s story, and Tassadar’s nature as this kind of Twilight Messiah for the protoss people. What was really going on there at the fall of Aiur, and really digging out all the political things that were happening with the Conclave, and the Judicators, and the Templar. We definitely have a rocking story built for a novel, but we don’t have any plans yet on exactly when we would publish it or I don’t even know if we have a writer lined up yet, but we have an awesome outline for it.
Medievaldragon: Yeah, we have been expecting it for a while. (laughing) I know it takes time.
Metzen: If I had my way it would have been out already.
Neilson: It’s going to be a little while
Medievaldragon: Okay, we’re going to move to the Warcraft questions.
Medievaldragon: A fan asked: The body of Sargeras that Aegwynn killed was said to be an avatar in Warcraft: The Last Guardian, does this mean that Sargeras’ real body is still out there somewhere? Or is Sargeras pulling a Lord Voldemort trick to ensure his return?
Neilson: Sargeras is still kicking around. You can’t put him down.
Metzen: He’s out there somewhere.
Neilson: He’s not going to stay down for long.
Metzen: Yeah totally. And I think the hooks we had for his physical body, wherever it may be are so visually stunning that I think we have to… it’s like low hanging fruit, we’re going to have to bring him back somewhere. I’d be very disappointed in us if we didn’t leverage him fully.
Medievaldragon: He would be like the ultimate encounter.
Neilson: Hmm… yes.
Medievaldragon: In The Last Guardian, Medivh attacks Garona with a spell, saying “let me show you my world Garona. Let me drive my own divisions and doubts into you. You will never know who you serve and why. You’ll never find your peace.” This is most commonly seen by fans as Sargeras cursing Garona into betraying everyone she works for… Is this true? Is that why she has been missing all these years?
Neilson: As to what’s going on with Garona, we’re launching into the second arc of the WoW comic. There are going to be a LOT of questions answered regarding Garona… why she did what she did, her whole backstory. It all ties into Med’an, this new character, who’s going to be really important to the lore. So for the community to learn a lot more about Garona, they should definitely check out the comic book.
Medievaldragon: Will there be a follow-up in the pocket books at some point?
Neilson: For Garona? Maybe.
Metzen: I didn’t hear… a cameo within a book?
Neilson: Not out of the question, I’m sure.
Metzen: Yeah, I think we’re still feeling it out. We just recently started leveraging the character again, so there’s a lot of interest in the character, so I can see us getting [cut off]
[Plays a scene from warcraft 3 of Arthas approaching the Revenants blocking the path to Frostmourne]
Guardian: Turn back mortals. Death and Darkness are all that await you in this forsaken vault.
Arthas: I doubt there’s anything down here more terrifying than what we’ve faced already.
Guardian: Believe what you will, boy. You shall not pass.
Guardian: Turn away… before it’s… too late.
Arthas: Still trying to protect the sword are you?
Guardian: No… trying to protect you… from it.
Medievaldragon: What were the Revenants’ motives to care for Arthas’ fate? Will it be explained in World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King?
Metzen: It’s in the book.
Medievaldragon: In the book? Alright
Neilson: Buy the book.
Metzen: It’s really good. Really good… Christie just rocked this book.
Medievaldragon: In World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, we see a glimpse of Malygos proposing to the Wyrmrest Accord the purge of the mages prior to the Nexus War. Kalecgos departs to Outland at the end of the book. What’s Kalecgos’ stance with the Nexus War?
Metzen: Interesting. I think Kalecgos is loyal, he’s a blue dragon. Their function is to kind of police mortals’ use of magic, so to some degree he wants to do what Malygos wants him to do. He’s loyal, he’s a team player, but I also think that Kalecgos has a huge heart. I think he has a deep conscience, and I think he’s terrified of how these things have just spun out of control, and I think he regrets the loss of life and probably looks at it as a totally heavy handed solution to the problem, so I think he’s probably a little torn.
Neilson: And he’s spent a lot of time with mortals at this point too. He’s grown close to some mortals with the whole Anveena thing and everything else, so he would definitely be torn. His feelings would be torn.
Medievaldragon: He was a bit arrogant at the beginning, but his experience with Anveena kind of softened him.
Metzen: Right, kind of drew him closer to the experience of mortals. Totally.
Medievaldragon: Now that Malygos is dead, will there be a new Aspect of Magic (such as Kalecgos); or is that position gone forever? Could a dragon of another flight become the magic aspect… temporarily… for example: Krasus… who is an Archmage?
Metzen: I would say to question A: (slowly motions with his lips toward the poster of the World of Warcraft: Arthas book).
Metzen: And to question B, I would say no.
Medievaldragon: Okay… I kind of gotcha…
Medievaldragon: What can you tell us about the upcoming Worlf of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak?
Neilson: Stormrage is gonna be fantastic. What’s really cool about Stormrage is that we will be able to actually live the Nightmare, through this book, that’s going on in the Emerald Dream turning into the Emerald Nightmare. One of the coolest elements, in my opinion, is that the nightmare is starting to spread into Azeroth, and we’re going to touch on that in the manga as well, so we’re going to have a story that touches on, for instance, what is King Magni’s worst nightmare? And because the Nightmare is spreading into the reality of Azeroth, we’ll be able to see that. The book’s going to be fantastic, answers all kinds of questions, what’s been happening to Malfurion, what’s going on, who’s behind it… al those questions are going to be answered.
Metzen: I would just say too, I mean Malfurion’s always been, personally, my favorite Warcraft hero. He’s my favorite to write, so I’ve waited a long time to get this guy back into the mix, and have him play a significant role in the shaping of Azeroth. He’s a mega player, and he’s been off the scene.
Neilson: For a long time.
Metzen: I’m really stoked on this book. We really designed the essential backbone of the book to be just hyper Druid overload. If you’re a WoW Druid, this book’s for you. It features all the major druid characters, and players. I love it. Love it, love it.
(Video Part 2 Transcript)
Medievaldragon: Will there be a cameo of Jarod Shadowsong in World of Warcraft: Stormrage? The official website’s encyclopedia says he departed the druids and was never seen again.
Metzen: I don’t remember. For some reason, I don’t think so. But we would be lovingly surprised if he did. He doesn’t play a significant role in it.
Medievaldragon: Aaron Rosenberg’s World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness helps modernize a lot of the lore revolving around Warcraft II. One aspect of the lore that fans have been wondering about, is Gilneas. Was Gilneas scheduled to make an appearance in that book, but had to be trimmed out, or will Gilneas be revisited in future books?
(Neilson grins at Metzen)
Metzen: Ah, ah, I would say we have some very, very, Very interesting plans for Gilneas. (Metzen docks slightly looking toward the ceiling) But there are snipers up in the roof that would shoot me if you know … (everyone laughs). We are doing some awesome stuff for Gilneas.
Neilson: … stay tuned!
Metzen: Stay tuned.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal reveals Cho’gall was killed. Or was he? How did the Twilight’s Hammer survive the Broken Isles’ massacre?
Neilson: Cho’gall is gonna make a come back. He’s not dead. You are going to see he will play a large role in the second arc of the World of Warcraft comic book. So, exactly how he survived … he’s just too tough. Two axes to the chest weren’t enough to take him down. He just appeared dead. (Laughs)
Medievaldragon: If he is not decapitated, he is not dead.
Neilson: That’s right.
Metzen: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: (jokingly) … and that doesn’t mean he can’t return. Somebody plugs the head back to his body and …
Medievaldragon: What’s happening to Blood Elf culture (especially Rommath’s role in it) now that the Sunwell was restored with M’uru?
Metzen: What we showed at the end of Burning Crusade, like during the whole Sunwell event, was that the warped naaru M’uru was kinda transformed back into his purest self, purest light that Velen used to reignite the Sunwell, as a fountain of Holy power, as much as it is arcane. So the suggestion was that over time the Blood Elves will start to actually use real Light power, in a healthy way, instead of dominating it. So what will likely happen over time is a slow transition, but what Velen did was give them a chance to redeem their civilization, a chance to get back to their roots, a chance to upset their magical addiction. So that kinda thing will probably gonna play out very slowly. We didn’t talk much about it in Wrath of the Lich King, but it is a theme I love a lot, but it has to be played out very slow.
Medievaldragon: I like that aspect of redeeming them … Does that mean that at some point they are going to get back to their roots and restore the Council of Tirisfal?
Metzen: ha-ha! … no … comment.
Medievaldragon: Are we ever seeing the Scythe of Elune questline and how it all tied into Karazhan and the Dark Riders explored in a future pocket book?
Metzen: I will say there are elements of the Scythe of Elune questline that are not … over … (long silence).
Metzen: … (longer silence) Alright, that’s all I’m saying. (laughs)
Woah, WOAH! (Metzen jokingly makes a motion with his hands and legs as if tight-rope walking).
Medievaldragon: Quick sand! Quick sand!
Medievaldragon: Is the existence of Finnal Goldensword canon? She’s Admiral Proudmoore’s half-elf daughter. If so, are there plans to introduce her in the pocket books?
Metzen: I’m sure this will be controversial, but I don’t necessarily consider her canonical. And based on that, we don’t really have any plans to use her in the future. I think she appeared in one of the Warcraft RPG books. It’s not a character I have thought out about, so at this point I’m not sure if we are gonna do much with her.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King will devote a portion of its time to the love triangle between Arthas, Jaina and Kael’thas. Now, many of us have played Warcraft III and have also run Gnomeregan, so, we’ve got to ask … Where does Thrall factor in?
I’m not quite sure of what that questions means.
Neilson: Well, I think they are wondering: Is there a romantic interest between Thrall and Jaina? I think that’s what it’s implying.
Metzen: Ohh …
Medievaldragon: Not sure—why they are asking about Gnomeregan.
Metzen: Yea, it’s worded a little weird. Well, I would say the whole Kael’thas, Arthas, Jaina triangle thing is totally handled in the book. And it’s R-r-really good! But it explains the whole relationship, and how that all went down. Christie just handled it perfectly. So I’m excited to really see that. But relative, the question was, is there a little you know … green fever going on with Thrall and Jaina? umm … (takes deep breath) … I don’t know, I know people are kinda fascinated a little about that but …
Medievaldragon: Ohh … I know now what they meant. In Gnomeregan, there was a punch card in binary code that when you decoded it, it reads: “Thrall and Jaina in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
Metzen: Right, right. I don’t know, I would say I try to be pretty conservative with all that stuff. I would like Thrall to settle down with a nice green girl…
Neilson: (laughs louder)
Metzen: …you know, and have little green babies. I’d like the dynasty of Orgrimmar to be pure blood, right. But you never know. I hope he keeps things together and doesn’t do something stupid before we can actually build this stuff in the game. So … you know Thrall.
Medievaldragon: Hormones …
Metzen: What’re we gonna do.
Medievaldragon: What should we expect in World of Warcraft: Arthas and how does it ties-in with the game?
Neilson: I think one of the things that are really, really amazing about ARTHAS the book is … you play Classic WoW, right, so the whole time you are running around. The Lich King is basically sitting there on his throne. So the question is: What’s going on? What’s going through his head? So this book actually gets you inside his head during that time. You will find out what was going on. Really be able to get inside the mind of evil. Getting inside the mind of Arthas. Find out what makes him tick. Even when he was saying things to Uther, when he disbanded the paladins, and things like that. Really gonna go indepth on that to find out what was going on inside his head. All the layers. Christie did a great job putting in all these different layers of what’s happening. So there’s the dialogue that we heard in the game, but there is much more deeper story that you won’t get unless you read the book.
I am glad I subscribed to a few CGI Animation and 3D community newsletters back in the days when I used to promote and recruit staff for the Starcraft Chronicles unofficial fan CGI film, a few years ago. CGChannel has announced their latest interview with Blizzard Entertainment’s CGI Artists Jeff Chamberlain and Fausto De Martini to talk about the making of the Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer. This three-pages interview contains four never-seen-before pre-rendered footage video clips. The interview covers which techniques and software tools were used to create the Sindragosa frostwyrm, Arthas, Frostmourne and the special effects of Arthas sweeping away the snow to reveal the ice floor.
This interview can be a dream for those who are CGI students or aficionados, and to those who would love to join the Blizzard team at one point. It will help you know how the different teams work the pipeline. Read the full interview. Help others find this awesome interview by commenting at N4G.
Blizzard cinematics are popular in part because of the excellent animation of characters, effects and camera work. Does Blizzard use Motion Capture or other technologies to achieve this level of animation?
We’ve built a team of really strong keyframe animators, and we have always keyframed our animation—and we prefer it that way. As I said, we strive for a hyper-realistic look, so our characters proportions are way augmented from what they would be in real life. As a result, they would tend to look a bit odd if they moved like someone with normal proportions would. Keyframed animation allows us to move our characters in a stylized way that fits the overall look. Also, there’s something about the level of quality you can get from a keyframed animation compared to a motion-captured one.
We have used motion capture a lot for getting a realistic handheld feel in our cameras, and in the interest of creating more and better content, we’ve looked into using motion capture as a tool during previsualization. Having the ability to quickly try out different angles and layouts for a shot by utilizing the speed of motion capture is very compelling from a director’s viewpoint. As far as the final frames go, we plan on sticking with our stylized keyframed animation.
The reanimated corpse dragon in the Lich King cinematic is beautifully executed in its design, modeling, effects and animation. Can you tell us a little bit about the tools and techniques used in those sequences?
We approached the sequence in which Arthas raises the frost wyrm in exactly the same manner as we approach all of our projects. We start with a loose script written by a few cinematics guys: Blizzard Entertainment’s vice president of creative development Chris Metzen; and the leads from the game team. The idea then moves to storyboarding and 2D concepting. Once that’s done, we start pre-visualizing the sequence. Modeling, animation, and production tech tend to then take over for a while, generating the meat of the project. Finally, finishing (lighting and compositing), effects, and matte painting take it all home.
Wrath of the Lich King was a project with a lot of firsts in our pipeline. It was the first time we used Maya to animate and lay out every shot, the first time we rendered every shot in Renderman, and the first time we used Nuke to composite. Some other products we use are 3ds Max and Mudbox for modeling, Mirage for storyboarding, and anything we can get our hands on for effects and matte painting.
Blizzard Entertainment Creative Design Director Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment writer Micky Neilson, and Wildstorm comic book artist star Jim Lee unveiled the World of Warcraft: The Comic Book on San Diego Comic Con 2007 by the end of July, and at BlizzCon days later. You may read the original press release.
Blizzplanet caught the attention of a free sampler days before the official announcement (Image Scans). And immediately sent a heads up to Kotaku and Newsarama.
Today, we talk with Walter Simonson about the World of Warcraft comic book from DC Comics / Wildstorm where he is main writer and head-honcho of both story arcs. Walter is working alongside Jim Lee and Blizzard Art Director Samwise Didier (Covers), Ludo Lullabi (Art) and Sandra Hope (Ink).
Many know who Walter is, but to those new to comic books: Walter Simonson is a popular and veteran American comic book writer and artist hired by DC Comics, Marvel Comics and other publishers along the past 30+ years. Walter is known for his work and memorable legacy: The Star Slammers (1974), Metal Men, Manhunter (DC-Detective Comics), The Mighty Thor, Wonder Woman, X-Factor, Fantastic Four, and Orion among others. You may read further recognition and awards in wikipedia. He doesn’t work alone in this endeavour. Chris Metzen and Blizzard Entertainment walk the extra mile offering Walter collaboration and support to stay true to the World of Warcraft universe.
November 2007 Issue# 1 Cover
December 2007 Issue# 2 Cover
January 2008 Issue# 3 Cover
1. Will the Warcraft comic series be a limited or ongoing series? I’ve heard that there are plans for at least two story arcs, and after those tales are told will the comic series end or continue?—by Rowan Seven
Walter: This Warcraft comic is going to be a 12-issue story, broken into two 6-issue story arcs.
As far as future Warcraft comics are concerned, that decision is in other hands than mine. Right now, I’m just working to create 12 kickass issues.
2. Is the amnesic main character some hero from the past, or a character that we already know of? Or is he someone entirely new? The ball was pitched during the San Diego Comic Con asking whether he was the missing King of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn. Chris Metzen and Micky Nielsen somewhat evaded the question. – by Kenzuki
Walter: You know, if Chris and Micky—somewhat evaded the question’, there’s NO way I’m going to step into the line of fire!
3. Are the events of the Wow# 1 happening before or after the events of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred?—by Medievaldragon
Walter: The events in the comic book take place after World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred.
4. At what point in the timeline does this story take place?—by xlandhenry
Walter: The present.
5. The DC Direct action figures are obviously characters from the World of Warcraft comic book. So I have to ask, why is there a Draenei character and What could you tell us about Vindicator Marrad? Did the Exodar crash on Azuremyst Isle this far back in time pre-Burning Crusade?—by Medievaldragon
Walter: Actually, it was the other way around. Several of the characters in the comic were based on the action figures. I’ve picked up on some of them in the comic, fleshing them out and giving them histories. But I’m not trying to use every figure, just ones that fit into the story. At the moment, there isn’t a Draenei in the comic book. No Vindicator Marrad. The Exodar crash isn’t part of this story which occurs post-Burning Crusade.
6. Will Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore, Vol’jin, Cairne Bloodhoof, Lady Sylvanas, Lor’Themar, Bolvar Fordragon, Mekkatorque or any of the other Horde or Alliance leaders appear in this comic?—by Kenzuki
Walter: Ummm, some of these characters will be in the comic as we go along. Jaina Proudmoore for one but don’t tell anybody I said so. Some of the other names have come up in plot discussions and may even appear but my lips are sealed.
7. Chris Metzen referred to the main character as the anti-Thrall. Could you elaborate what this means? Seeing as the amnesic hero lands on Durotar, it seems he might meet Thrall in Orgrimmar soon.—by Medievaldragon & Saibot
Walter: Mmmmm. I think I know what Chris meant but I’d really rather not put words in his mouth. I don’t know if you can pry an answer out of him, but I think that he’s the guy to elaborate on that thought. I have enough difficulty keeping my own thoughts straight. As things stand now, our hero won’t be meeting face-to-face with Thrall although he will be in Orgrimmar.
8. What would be the Blood elves stance towards this hero?—by Mark_Romaneck
Walter: One of the main characters in the story is a blood elf and I like to stick to specifics rather than generalizations, except of course when I’m avoiding a direct answer because I don’t want to spoil the story. So what I can say here is that our blood elf thinks that our hero is hot.
Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
9. What sort of qualities does our main hero have? Can you give an in-depth description about what makes him a good/interesting protagonist?—by Aldrius
Walter: I could but really, I prefer to let the story spin itself out in the comic rather than giving the game away here. I will say that our hero is a surprisingly effective warrior, a human who seems to have hidden talents, but a character with flaws (I don’t just mean the amnesia) that are troubling. And potentially fatal. For example, no matter how good you are, nobody should zone out in the middle of a battle to the death!
10. Will we see any interesting female characters in the book? (Any of note from previous WarCraft games or books.)—by Aldrius
Walter: There’s a female blood elf (see answer above) in the comic who I think is very interesting. You’ll have to make your own judgment call about her when the comic comes out. I myself find that Valeera is a lot of fun-cranky, sexy, independent, curious, driven, and proud. And nicely drawn. (g)
And there are a number of other interesting female characters who will be appearing the comic, some in lesser roles, some in major ones.
11. Will the comic book hero have any sort of redeemable qualities?—by Aldrius
Walter: You’ll never know how much I want to say that you’ll be able to redeem our guy for 5 books of Green Stamps. But my wife tells me that nobody out there except us old guys will understand that joke. So I’ll skip it. I do think the hero has some cool qualities-the major ones being an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and an indomitable will. But what makes the character equally interesting are the qualities he doesn’t have and is in search of. And as I mentioned above-he’s a very formidable warrior.
12. Comic books usually show narrative flashback stories, be it a character telling a past experience to someone, remembering something within his mind, or simply as a writer introduction to the issue’s plot. Can we hope to see mention of previous Warcraft eras such as the Troll Wars, the Three Hammer Wars, the First and Second Wars, War of the Ancients, etc?—by Medievaldragon
Walter: You do know this IS only a twelve issue series of comics right, not a trilogy of novels? I am using flashbacks in the course of the story, but I’m using them as revelatory memories regarding the hero’s life. There are some mentions (sort of) of some of the deep Warcraft histories-and these definitely inform the actions of these characters—but the focus of the comic is on the present or the fairly recent past.
13. How much material from the Warcraft RPG Books (Arthaus) and pocket books did you use for the first 6-issues of the World of Warcraft comic book? Could you mention which books?—by Medievaldragon
Walter: I don’t know that I’ve taken any material from the Arthaus books other than background stuff. There’s been a ton of consulting with Blizzard so I’ve gotten a lot of information directly from them. And they’ve been exceptionally helpful at answering my questions and making useful suggestions in a timely fashion. (That last bit is so important I can’t tell you!)
14. Can we expect much, if any interaction with characters from the games, novels, RPG Books such as Rhonin, Krasus, Falstad, Vereesa, Eitrigg, Tirion Fordring, Taelan Fordring, Velen, Finnal Goldensword (Jaina’s half-sister), Tandred Proudmoore? Or will the series primarily revolve around characters of its own creation?—by Hawki
Walter: There is interaction within the comic between the characters created within the story in the comic and some of the characters from the game. Just none of the ones you’ve mentioned. See below.
15. Will we see familiar Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) from cities and outposts of World of Warcraft in the comic book? That would be a nice touch.
Walter: There will be both major and minor NPCs appearing in the comic book. Some appear briefly in passing, others in more major roles. A couple of them-but not the only NPC ones-included Hamuul Runetotem and Magatha. Other than that, my lips are sealed-again. Sort of.
16. Dragons have been a part of the MMORPG since early quests in Wetlands. Will the comic book portray any of the Dragon Aspects or their dragonflight, Kalecgos, Tyrygosa, Nefarian or Lady Katrana Prestor in Stormwind (aka Onyxia)?
Walter: Boy. This is REALLY a question I’m not going to answer.
17. Will you be a returning writer after your 6-issues run commitment?—by Medievaldragon
Walter: I’m writing the 12-issue story, so essentially, I’m writing two 6-issue arcs that will form a single story. Everything after that is in the lap of the gods.
18. Will there be Outland or Northrend scenes of certain characters plotting schemes remotely, or contacting spies within the Horde/Alliance? For example, Rommath the ambassador was sent by Kael’Thas to Silvermoon. Pathaleon the Calculator is seen sending a holographic transmission to Blood Elves in Bloodmyst in early quests. the Scourge has a perma-link with Arthas the Lich King alike that of the Queen Borg.—by Omacron & Medievaldragon
Walter: No scenes directly related to Outland or Northrend will be appearing in this 12-issue arc. We will see a fair amount of plotting skullduggery in secrecy by shadowy figures including assassinations, political intrigue and such, but all of it has to do with this particular story. Some of it is, however, based on existing lore within the game own storylines.
19. Seeing as this is an alliance-centric story on Kalimdor, will Theramore, Bael’Modan or the Wildhammer village north of Ashenvale play a large role?—by Omacron & Segwarides
Walter: Well, we will visit Theramore. A pivotal event in the story occurs there, but our heroes are really passing through. They do stop in Ashenvale for a time. There is a fair amount of traveling in the story, which is pretty much what you’d expect when you’re on a quest. I don’t believe that the other locations figure in this tale.
20. Will the series involve only story arcs relating to one central storyline or can we expect occasional one-shots in which the core characters are not involved?—by Nephalim
Walter: This particular series consists only of the 12 issues in this storyline. While the main storyline concerns our protagonist, there are several other characters who have their own arcs that intersect with our man but also follow their own directions. However, all their stories will be told within these 12 issues.
I don’t know whether or not there will be any spinoffs down the road. That’s an editorial decision. And oddly enough, none of the editorial staffs of the various companies involved ever call me up to have me tell them what to do. Hard to believe, isn’t it? :-pppppppppppppp
21. In World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred, Aegwynn ends up becoming councilor of Jaina Proudmoore and has remained disguised at her side ever since at Theramore. Can we hope to see Aegwynn interact with the amnesic hero at some point?
Walter: Ummmmmm – it’s entirely possible that such hope might be rewarded.
22. Will there be a third party included in the main plot in addition to the Alliance and the Horde? i.e. Twilight’s Hammer Cult, Shadow Council, Burning Blade Cult, Goblins, Scarlet Crusade, Defias Brotherhood, etc.—by Kerrah
Walter: Definitely. I’d prefer not to give any more details right now but I will say-you’re getting warm.
23. We know we’re going to see Dire Maul in issue two, and some sketches in the sampler showed the entrance to Booty Bay. Can we get any names of other familiar places the comic will explore?—by Jawbreaker
Walter: Sorry. I don’t want to give anything away.
[Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff and the Pools of Vision, Ashenvale, Darnassus, the Eastern Kingdoms]
Who said that!?
24. Virtually all of the characters known to be appearing in the comic have distinct classes (Warrior, Rogue, Paladin, Druid, Hunter, etc.). How literally do you intend to portray their roles, spells, and abilities?—by Hawki
Walter: As accurately as possible without being too specific-sounds paradoxical doesn’t it? What I mean is that, at Blizzard’s preference, I’m keeping things like magical spells slightly non-specific. So nobody’s going to be specifically casting the Spell of the Thousand Dancing Insects. (Sorry-I’m watching the Indians/Boston baseball playoff game in Cleveland right now! Midge-city back during the Cleveland/Yankee series if you’ve been paying attention.)
But Broll, a night elf Druid, will be using a staff and not a sword. We’re trying to work with the specific instruments/tools/artifacts of the various characters.
25. Will we get to see the lore surrounding the MMO dungeons such as Dire Maul more fully fleshed out, or will it simply reiterate what we already know about them while focusing more on the protagonists and the action?—by Dalkagar
Walter: See the answer after the next question.
26. In issue# 2, the amnesic hero ends up in Dire Maul, an ancient location formerly known as Eldre’Thalas. The first 5-pages of the comic book shown at MTV Multiplayer reveals the Shaman Rehgar Earthfury is collecting gladiators to take to Dire Maul Arena and that’s how the amnesic hero ends up in Dire Maul. Will the story show any of the three dungeon NPCs of Dire maul such as Prince Tortheldrin, or the Satyrs on the east-wing? A backstory of the Shen’dralar night elves and Eldre’Thas?
Walter: I’ll answer these last two questions together. Regarding Dire Maul, there is going to be some elaboration in the comic about what goes on there that you haven’t seen before. So I guess you could say that we’re expanding the lore a bit. And since this Dire Maul is part of a comic and not a computer model, I expect you’ll see some stuff there you haven’t seen before.
There will be characters in Dire Maul-a lot of them actually-in the comic but they are characters created specifically for this story. And we’re going to witness an event involving ogres (and others) that occurs regularly in a hitherto underutilized part of Dire Maul.
27. Is Rehgar a member of the new Horde, or does he have connections with a third-party organization such as Burning Blade, or Stormreaver remnants?—by Segwarides
Walter: Rehgar is part of the original Horde that invaded Azeroth under Warchief Blackhand. Today, however, he’s part of Thrall’s Horde (the modern Horde).
28. Will the comic book go into the backstage plots and details of popular World of Warcraft MMO questlines such as the missing diplomat, The Howling Vale / Scythe of Elune (a long questline where Velinde Starsong summoned worgen wolf-men into Ashenvale), the Druids of the Fang (Wailing Caverns), Raene’s Cleansing? What other questlines could be expected in the comic book to attract the interest of fans?—by Medievaldragon
Walter: None of the above, which isn’t to say that we aren’t addressing some long-standing unresolved questions of lore. But if I told you what we were really doing, you wouldn’t need to read the comic now, would you?
29. Are we gonna get to see any significant tauren characters that plays deep into the story? As of right now even the major tauren characters have little part in most of the story arcs.—by Terrorhoof @ Deathwing
Walter: Several of the issues coming up involve tauren characters interacting with our heroes. A couple of NPC taurens will make appearances in the story.
30. A peculiar pattern of comic books nowadays is that when they become very popular and successful they get spinoffs such as the various Superman titles. Has the team thought of a Horde-oriented comic book title? Or other spinoffs such as the Adventures of Rhonin and Krasus through time—Nozdormu chose them to help 10,000 years in the past for example. Maybe they could travel to other timelines in Warcraft’s past or future. The Adventures of Khadgar and the Alliance Expedition through space in other planets these past 20 years? That would be cool. I would buy it.
Walter: Actually, I think spin-offs in every entertainment medium are fairly common. Comics, TV, even movies (if you count sequels). But be that as it may, all of our effort right now is focused on trying to get these 12 issues right, and the story in hand well told. Even 12 issues of a comic isn’t a lot of material compared to, say, a novel. I think your ideas are great but realistically, you’re talking about a LOT of comics there!
Not that I wouldn’t love to do them. I could use the work. But right now, this is the story of our guy and his friends. And enemies.
31. Limited Series are also common in comic books. I would personally love to read World of Warcraft: The Three Hammers War # 1-6. Wow: The Troll Wars# 1-6. Wow: Ordering of Azeroth# 1-6 (featuring the Titans vs. Old gods). Wow: The Guardians of Tirisfal# 1-12 with an older Aegwynn as narrator. Other time-frames here. Has Chris Metzen and the DC Comics team considered Limited Series spinoffs? As a comic book reader and collector myself, I consider these are viable formats to expand upon the stories of the Warcraft games.
Walter: This doesn’t seem to be a question so I don’t have any answer for you. However, your suggestions certainly sound like fun. See the first two sentences of the last paragraph of the answer above! (With any luck, my editors will see this!)
Blizzplanet interviewed Glynnis Talken three years ago, and with Starcraft II finally announced at the South Korea Worldwide Invitationals last May 19th, fans have gotten psyched with the idea whether the same voice actors would be hired by Blizzard Entertainment to voice Sarah Kerrigan, Zeratul and Jim Raynor.
Recently, I interviewed Robert Clothworthy, who is excited and willing to take his role once more as Jim Raynor. Today, Glynnis Talken reveals how she feels about Starcraft II and her return as Sarah Kerrigan. Glynnis visited the Blizzard booth at San Diego Comic Con as an attendee, and highlighted her interest in retaking her role. Read her recent August newsletter revealing her reprise as Kerrigan in Starcraft II.
1. It has been nearly ten years since Starcraft and its Brood War expansion. How do you feel about fans remembering you as a celebrity in the games industry and wanting more?
Glynnis: It’s very flattering. I started getting a rush of e-mail from gamers the moment StarCraft II was announced. And you know, even though it HAS been almost 10 years, it’s amazing, but I haven’t aged a bit…not a BIT, I tell you!
2. How has this popularity affected you and your career?
Glynnis: Being a voiceover actor, whatever popularity I enjoy is largely invisible. I don’t wear my Kerrigan wings on the street, and it’s not exactly like I’m talking on my cell phone and someone goes, “Hey, aren’t you The Rogue?” But when people find out, they’re usually tickled, and I’m delighted to make their acquaintance.
3. Have you done voice acting for other games after Starcraft: Brood War and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction? Or have you mostly focused on book writing?
Glynnis: Book writing has taken up a huge amount of my time. I still do voiceovers for other things, but the only other video game I’ve done since the work for Blizzard is Savage: The Battle for Newerth for S2 Games.
4. Do you wish to retake your role as Kerrigan in Starcraft II? Why?
Glynnis: Absolutely! Kerrigan is a great, well-written character to play, and just as fans expect high quality and consistency from Blizzard’s visuals and programming, I think they like to see consistency in casting. I mean, no one wants to see the ghost of Anakin being replaced by Hayden Christensen, right? Ahem.
5. Have you kept track of Starcraft II after the game was officially announced in South Korea? What do you like?
Glynnis: I heard the announcement from my fans before I saw anything in the media. I attended Comic-Con this year, where Blizzard had a killer booth, and the trailers were phenomenal on the big screen! Knowing Chris Metzen’s gift for world-creating and storytelling, I’m sure he’s come up with some really cool stuff.
6. Recently Blizzard has been exploring into fields it has never been into before such as the World of Warcraft film by Legendary Pictures and the DC Comic Book. The South Park episode of World of Warcraft, which is currently nominated for the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. So it wouldn’t surprise me if Blizzard goes a step further. If Blizzard ever produce a Starcraft TV Animated Series or Hollywood film, would you like to play as Kerrigan?
Glynnis: Oh, gosh, I don’t know… Are you kidding? Of course! One of the most fun projects I ever did was recording the voice of Julie Winters for MTV’s animated series, “The Maxx.” It was great to be in an ensemble cast, playing off the other voice actors. It’d be a kick having audio, play-fights in the studio for the battle scenes. There’s a bit of debate online about the prospect of a Starcraft movie, whether it should be live-action or animation. Needless to say, I vote for animation.
7. What have you done in your career the past three years since our previous interview?
Glynnis: I’ve been very focused on my novels. Warner Books bought my Warrior Maids of Rivenloch trilogy—“Lady Danger,” “Captive Heart,” and “Knight’s Prize”—so I’ve been writing and promoting those for the last few years. In fact, I just sold “Knight’s Prize” into Russia! I’m currently working on another trilogy of stories set in Canterbury—“Lord of Shackles,” “Lord of the Hunt,” and “Lord of Exile.” I write a new book about every nine months—kind of like making babies, I guess.
8. You changed book publisher a couple of years ago, signed with Warner Publishing and changed your name from Glynnis Campbell to Sarah McKerrigan. Why did you choose Sarah McKerrigan as your new pseudonym?
Glynnis: It was kind of an homage to the character and a nod to my gaming fans. Unlike most “romance” novels, my books feature kick-ass warrior wenches, so the name seemed appropriate—McKerrigan (spawn of Kerrigan).
9. Could you list all the Medieval Romance novels written in the past years, including current and upcoming?
Glynnis: In addition to the books listed above, written by Sarah McKerrigan, I wrote four books for Berkley under my real name, Glynnis Campbell—the Knights of de Ware trilogy, consisting of “My Champion,” “My Warrior,” and “My Hero,” and a novella in “A Knight’s Vow.”
10. Personally I would like to see you writing a Starcraft Novel. You are part of the Starcraft scifi universe and know its storyline well. I think you could use your writing experience on a Starcraft novel. Would that be a problem with Warner Publishing if you wrote for Pocket Star Books?
Glynnis: Authors sometimes write for more than one publishing house, so that wouldn’t be a problem. But since I have a voiceover career, too, finding the TIME to write for more than one house would be tough.
11. If you were given the opportunity to write for the Starcraft or Diablo franchises, what would you like to write about?
Glynnis: Honestly, after spending so much time inventing my own worlds where I have total creative control, it would be hard for me to step back and write according to someone else’s universe. Besides, since I write historical romance, I’d probably have Kerrigan and Raynor knocking boots by Chapter Five.
12. Any upcoming public appearances at book stores or special events?
Glynnis: There’s a calendar of upcoming appearances on my website at www.sarahmckerrigan.com , and I usually do at least one booksigning a month. On August 11 at 2pm, I’ll be at New & Recycled Romances in Costa Mesa, California for a booksigning and tea. As always, I’m delighted to meet gamer fans, even when I’m wearing my author hat, and I’m happy to sign merchandise, do photos, and give out Kerrigan hugs any time.
aka Sarah McKerrigan…
…stories to keep you up all night!
The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch Trilogy (Warner)
LADY DANGER (#0-446-61617-6) April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART (#0-446-61616-8) October 2006
KNIGHT’S PRIZE (#0-446-61886-1) April 2007
Damsels in shining armor…riding to the rescue www.glynniscampbell.com / www.sarahmckerrigan.com
UPDATE – March 11, 2009: Glynnis is officially not rehearsing her role as Kerrigan in Starcraft 2. Blizzard decided to take a new voice direction. Details here.
Jeff Grubb is a legend among fantasy authors for his decades of experience in the field. He has worked for Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Magic the Gathering, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Al-Qadim, Marvel Universe, Pokemon, Thieves’ World, Wizkids, DC Heroclix and the Star Wars Miniatures: Rebel Storm.
In the Blizzard Entertainment worlds, Jeff Grubb will always be remembered along with Richard A. Knaak as the pioneers of the Warcraft novels. Jeff Grubb wrote Warcraft: The Last Guardian (2001) – the story about Medivih, Khadgar, Garona and Lord Lothar. The story was based in the First War, inspired by Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (RTS game, 1994).
As reported a few days ago, I interviewed Dick Hill thanks to Richard A. Knaak. Dick Hill is the professional narrator and actor that worked on the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook (Dec 2008). The Warcraft: Lord of the Clans audiobook (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian audiobook (Aprill 2009).
As a follow up to the audiobooks interview, I contacted Jeff Grubb to get his feedback concerning the reprint of his Warcraft: The Last Guardian in the audiobook format. Read the interview below.
Medievaldragon: Hi Jeff. What are your feelings now Warcraft: The Last Guardian is getting published as an audiobook, narrated by Dick Hill?
Jeff Grubb: I am delighted to hear that Last Guardian is becoming an audiobook and that Richard “Dick” Hill is going to read it. I’ve been listening to more and more audiobooks on my commute – wrapped up the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books and just finished “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union”. I’ve become a fan of the format, and pleased to see how well my story has held up over the years.
Medievaldragon: Are you ever writing a new Warcraft or Starcraft book? The fans, and myself, miss you badly. It was a great work.
Jeff Grubb: I enjoyed my experiences writing for Warcraft and Starcraft, and should the opportunity present itself, would be glad to do so again. At the moment, however, my day job is building exciting worlds, characters, and situations for Guild Wars at ArenaNet, and while they have been very understanding about me continuing my freelance writing, they have given me the hairy eyeball when the subject of working with their biggest competitors come up. So for the moment, I must demure.
Medievaldragon: I have some random thoughts for you that I would want you to share with fans. You quit WoW some months ago, and I am not sure if I read you returned to play with some friends afterwards. How do you feel about Khadgar in Shattrath City? Garona Halforcen is making its return in the DC Comics World of Warcraft # 15-16 too. Both follow-ups bring so many great memories from your book. Dan Liberty might show up in the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty video game. I was a sad panda after finding out a few years ago you worked at that Pokemon gig, and later you joined the Guild Wars development team at some point. You would have done so much for the Warcraft universe at Blizzard Entertainment in my opinion. Hope to see you soon back in the Warcraft / Starcraft franchises.
Jeff Grubb: I played WoW heavily for a while, then quit, then came back earlier this year with a group of friends, then quit again. My big problem is that I play with Real World friends, who would then either outlevel me or quit to get their lives back, either option leaving my character an orphan. I had characters scattered around a half-dozen servers. As a result, I never got to end-game content – and never got to Shattrath. I’m glad to see that Khadgar survived and is pulling the races together, and wondered what happened to Garona. If Daniel Michael Liberty makes it to Starcraft II (Originally I named him Danny, but he turned into a better character when everyone called him Mike), that would be great as well. My general attitude to my characters is to do my best by them, and not to feel bad when others continue their stories.
I also never say never, so I may yet come back to Azeroth.
Medievaldragon: Really hope you do. Thanks a bunch for responding to a community that loves and misses your work and legacy for the Warcraft franchise. Karazhan, Moroes, Khadgar, Medivh, Aegwynn, Garona, Black Morass. Great memories.