Another Warcraft movie isn’t off the table if Blizzard finds a filmmaker who really gets it, but ‘that’s probably a pretty small list’

While Blizzard set the standard for RTS and MMO storytelling a long time ago, that did not feel particularly evident in 2016’s Warcraft movie, which despite doing extremely well in China failed to break even and garnered a great deal of negative criticism. But that has not put franchise director John Hight off the idea of another cinematic adaptation entirely. At GDC, he told IGN that the concept would “certainly be interesting”, but with some significant caveats. 

As videogame adaptations go, Warcraft was not especially terrible. It certainly showed reverence for the source material, primarily the original RTS, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Back in ’94, Blizzard didn’t really care very much about storytelling, though—that wouldn’t come until Warcraft 2, and it wouldn’t get properly good until Warcraft 3. And while Blizzard has fleshed out the events of the original game a great deal since its inception, no amount of lore could make up for the film’s formulaic script. 

Hight reckons that another attempt could be worthwhile,, but he doesn’t think Blizzard should get into the filmmaking business. “We make games and I think that games will always be our core, and so Warcraft will be centred around that,” he said. 

If Blizzard greenlit a sequel, then, or a completely fresh adaptation, it would need to find an appropriate partner. “Certainly open to people who really get it and have a cool idea about how to express Warcraft and if we feel like aesthetically they’re going to be able to hit the bar,” Hight said. That partner would need to have proficiency in adapting games, but Hight acknowledges that it’s a pretty new discipline. He’s still open to it, though, because “I want to have Warcraft out there a little more than it is now”. 

The goal, then, would be “leveraging other companies that share our love for it, have a really cool idea, share our belief in quality and have the ability to execute on it. But now that’s probably a pretty small list, right?”

On paper this sounds smart, but it’s not as if the 2016 Warcraft movie was the product of people and companies that didn’t care about the series. Director and co-writer Duncan Jones was already a fan, and Blizzard didn’t take a hands-off approach, which is how we managed to avoid Uwe Boll directing it. So finding the right people doesn’t guarantee success. 

All that said, I’d probably be down for a second attempt. While the broad Warcraft saga is pretty derivative, it’s also full of compelling stories and characters I’d love to see transposed to the big screen. And derivative doesn’t always mean bad, even though it’s typically a pejorative. The downfall of Arthas and his rebirth as the Lich King isn’t remotely original, but it’s still one of my favourite videogame stories of all time. I’d absolutely watch that in the cinema. 

PCGamer.com