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Warcraft Rumble devs on adapting a universe for the small screen

Warcraft Rumble devs on adapting a universe for the small screen
Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Written by 

Amy Eastland

Published 

16th Oct 2023 11:04

Warcraft Rumble is a brand-new mobile game that brings the World of Warcraft franchise to mobile, featuring many familiar characters from the game's lengthy past, from Jaina Proudmoore to Old Murk Eye. In an interview with GGRecon, the Warcraft Rumble devs discussed what it was like to bring the Warcraft universe to the smaller screen, and the challenging processes involved.

For those who are fans of strategy and tower defence games, this is the perfect game for you. With hits of nostalgia from seeing characters new and old from the Warcraft franchise, you have to build the perfect team using familiar characters in the game that are capable of taking down any boss they come across. Every boss requires a different strategy, so be careful who you put on your team!

Adapting Warcraft for Mobile

Warcraft Rumble deck building page
Click to enlarge

With World of Warcraft containing a hefty story spanning multiple expansions, the task of developing a mobile game in the same universe with the same care and spark that WoW carries is a mammoth task. Speaking on their design philosophy, Senior Game Designer Brendan Farrell said “We wanted to bring the Warcraft Universe to mobile that looks good and feels good to play that’s bite-sized enough that you can enjoy it anywhere.”

Justine Hamer, the Senior Artist for the game, also spoke of the loyalty to the franchise, saying the team “wanted to do it justice in pocket-sized form”.

Many people on the team have grown up with World of Warcraft, and as such wanted to make sure that it had all of the fun lovable characters from the franchise for players to connect with. “We also wanted to pay homage to characters that may have made an impression on people that weren’t as well known,” Hamer says, referencing characters such as Old Murk Eye and Uhk’loc as examples.

Choosing the game design

Warcraft Rumble map
Click to enlarge

With Warcraft Rumble, Blizzard wanted players to have the impression that the characters they played with were toys and “a tactile thing”. Equally, when placing characters on the board, Hamer wanted the players to be able to imagine “picking it up and putting it onto the board. When we made the characters, we wanted to make sure the level of detail was appropriate to the scale we are trying to sell.”

Not only did they want to make it recognisable for those who have sunk many hours into the Warcraft franchise, but they also wanted to make sure that the game was accessible to those who may have put no hours into the franchise and are simply looking for a new mobile game to play. “We want to make sure that they’re able to go into the game and have fun with it, even if they don’t know these characters and these stories as well.”

Farrell added, “We have a lot of fun tutorial moments, with Amelia, the tutorial character to help you along. She has a lot of personality to help you understand the core mechanics.” 

When creating this game, the developer wanted to make sure that the game was not only accessible to those who have sunken many hours into a mobile game, but also to those who want to support the franchise but whom may have never picked up a mobile game before.

Fitting into the Warcraft storyline

PvP page in Warcraft Rumble
Click to enlarge

While it may seem like just a mobile game on the surface level, the game comes jampacked with content,  from PvP to quest lines, and even missions that you can complete. This introduces players to the characters such as Jaina Proudmoore and Hogger, for example.

For those who have played World of Warcraft, the game offers hits of nostalgia, explains Farrell. “Characters and places have missions that will remind you of Warcraft and even earlier games like Warcraft 2 and 3. There are plenty of easter eggs and flavour tags hinting at those sorts of things.”

All in all, a lot of care and consideration went into the creation of Warcraft Rumble, with the developer making sure that the gap between new players who’d never touched the franchise and franchise pros who want to play the game could meet in the middle. It’s a hit of nostalgia for those who have spent years growing up playing the game, as well as a brand new introduction to the storytelling in the Warcraft universe for those who are completely new to it.

For more on World of Warcraft, why not check out our homepage? Read our WoW 10.2 patch notes here.

Amy was a Guides Writer for GGRecon. She has a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Journalism, and has previously worked for companies such as Gfinity and HITC. Her favourite games include Dark Souls 3, Elden Ring, and Crash Bandicoot Warped. When she's not at work, she's hanging out with her black cat, Shelby.

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