This year’s Blizzcon has been a treasure trove for World of Warcraft fans, with the convention acting as a centrepiece for its tenth anniversary celebrations. Blizzard certainly have one eye on the future of the game, but they’re also taking a moment to look back on its past.
To that end, they’ve commissioned a documentary called Looking For Group, which has been uploaded in full to YouTube as well as being screened at Blizzcon itself. The film looks at the history of World of Warcraft from its earliest days as an ambitious concept to its current status as a bona fide cultural phenomenon.
Blizzard representatives including CEO Michael Morhaime and the affable Chris Metzen are interviewed in the documentary, as well as familiar faces like director of the upcoming Warcraft movie Duncan Jones and inXile Entertainment founder Brian Fargo. Slickly edited and surprisingly in-depth for its brisk pace, Looking For Group joins the rash of high-quality video game documentaries we’ve seen over the past few years like Indie Game: The Movie and the excellent Broken Age series by 2 Player Productions.
Covering everything from the highs of reaching the mainstream via references on shows like South Park and Jeopardy to learning experiences like the infamous Gates of Ahn’Qiraj, the film is a very interesting hour whether you’re a Warcraft devotee or otherwise. Neatly combining a look inside Blizzard’s studio and development process with an outside perspective on the game, you really get an idea of the impact that World of Warcraft has had.
While new experiences on the horizon like Overwatch are undoubtedly very exciting for Blizzard fans, the enduring popularity of the extended Warcraft franchise is something that warrants celebration. It’s been twenty years since the original game was released, and the series doesn’t look to be anywhere near done just yet.
With a big budget Hollywood adaptation set for next year and card game spinoff Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft going from strength to strength, the scope of the experiences that the Warcraft universe can offer continues to be its greatest strength. It’s sometimes easy to forget that World of Warcraft was itself a spin-off from the beloved trilogy of real-time strategy games that made a name for the series.
Whether Warcraft will ever return to those roots is a question often asked by fans, and one that Blizzard seem reticent to answer. However, it’s been the very fact that the series has been open to evolution and experimentation over time that has allowed it to continue to be relevant for so long — who knows what we’ll see over the course of its next decade.