World of Warcraft interview - John Staats on early Blizzard, canceled projects, & more
John Staats was the first level designer on World of Warcraft and years later, he's written a book about its development. We caught up to him to chat about WoW, Blizzard, and much more.
In the long history of World of Warcraft and its continued development and evolution, John Staats was considered by many to be a hero among World of Warcraft development. The first 3D level designer on World of Warcraft, Staats had a huge part in some of the most iconic content in WoW. He was an instrumental hand behind the design of multi-level raids like Blackrock Mountain and Molten Core. Years later, Staats is no longer at Blizzard, but his legacy lives on, and in celebration of his journey and that of his colleagues through World of Warcraft’s launch and maintenance, Staats wrote a book on World of Warcraft and its development called The WoW Diary: A Journal of Computer Game Development.
We caught up to John to talk about as much of his time in development on World of Warcraft and other Blizzard projects as we could. You can check out the entirety of that lengthy interview in the video below.
Some of the highlights of the meeting with Staats included facing the difficulty of development challenges as a team. Staats brings up very specifically the debate on his team of whether or not to include the snake-like Naga race as playable characters in World of Warcraft and the sheer amount of issues and challenges that prospect brought up for his team, the producers, and more.
Talking with @JohnStaats_WIR. Really to cool to learn that the Naga where almost a playable race in the World of @Warcraft. #WowClassic #WoW @Wowhead @shacknews pic.twitter.com/51r8lXis1A— Burkelton (@GregBurke85) February 4, 2020
Staats gives us a glimpse into just what goes into the major game-impacting decisions for something like a playable race. It’s wild to think that Nagas could have been playable, but it’s just interesting to hear about the debate processes, the logic, the forecasted work, the effort to convince producers of the decision, and so much more. The conversations explore the possibilities inside the game as well as the budgets, debates, and realities outside of the game.
Another interesting topic that comes up is that of the ill-fated and canceled StarCraft: Ghost. Staats briefly takes us inside where Blizzard’s temperament was on the game at the time, as well as the difficulties the game was facing and what the team felt the public wanted to see.
I could talk to @JohnStaats_WIR for hours. Just hearing about @Warcraft & @StarCraft development challenges, and the train wreck that was StarCraft: Ghost. @shacknews #StarCraftGhost #Blizzard #Warcraft pic.twitter.com/fZ2RT9Err0— Burkelton (@GregBurke85) February 4, 2020
Staats first-hand knowledge of the maelstrom going on inside and outside of StarCraft: Ghost development provides us with a more well-rounded look at what exactly went into Blizzard’s decision to cancel the game.
Throughout the long conversation, Staats shares further insights into his time at Blizzard and the difference between game development then and now. Some other highlights of the interview include discussion of the overall growth of video game development teams and departments as opposed to the relatively small teams in earlier game design.
If you’d like to learn more from John Staats about the challenges, culture, and journey of development and game design on World of Warcraft, be sure to check out his book, The WoW Diary: A Journal of Computer Game Development, available on Amazon. Want more videos? Don’t forget to subscribe to the Shacknews and GamerHubTV YouTube channels for more exclusive interviews and videos as well.
Greg Burke posted a new article, World of Warcraft interview - John Staats on early Blizzard, canceled projects, & more
What??? -> "Blizzard tried to use the same game engine in Warcraft 3 and World Of Warcraft as they where co developed at the same time" that is insane!!!!! [ * keeps listening to the interview * ] : side note : this is what I am talking about, this sort of content is what I crave and another reason why I love Shack and why others fall behind \m/ :) \m/ , let's freaking GO!
Massive thanks to the Shack Staff, Asif and in this specific case Greg, you are all doing Gaming Gods work, keep it up!
Inside the article is an awesome and long video interview and is 100% worth checking out!!!! -> https://www.shacknews.com/article/116172/world-of-warcraft-interview-john-staats-on-early-blizzard-canceled-projects-more