Why Blizzard did NOT went for cartoon style (official answer at Blizzcon)

Here you can see why the dev choosed NOT for cartoon (2:61):

Blizzard DID tried the cartoon style for Warcraft 3 Remaster at first, but they changed their mind.

These are the reasons so far we know:

  1. Orcs were looking too cute and not scary in their cartoon style.
    They believe Warcraft Movie Orcs are the most realistic form of the Orcs.
  2. A lot of other game companies are using the cartoon style.
    They wanted to step back and change their art direction to really stand out.
  3. WoW’s Mist of Pandaria cinematic nailed the Human and Orc appearance.
    They use that cinematic as baseline design for Warcraft 3 Remaster art style.

Personally, I like their reasoning. I really dig the art style. Cartoon Human/Orcs are really overused by other game companies mostly on mobile side so far I know.


I like what they are going with. Looking at those sketches on the screen behind them, I am so thankful they didn’t go with any of those styles. I think Warcraft 3 was always very serious game (just look at the story). Having some big-headed marshmallows running around just does not fit Warcraft 3. Seriously, that HotS Alterac Valley thing looks more like a mobile game…


Good reasoning but it doesn’t seem to work IN-GAME. I do agree that WC3 should be more realistic than WoW, but that realism comes from how the models, clothes and buildings are modeled, not from the textures/colors Observe:

i.imgur. com/aSKRvMB.jpg
i.imgur. com/yyezOUd.jpg

And now a quick mock-up I made with more saturation. Don’t take it too seriously.

i.imgur. com/HO1l70o.jpg[/img]


I like this, I always wanted to see this style for once. Warcraft always had really epic looking cutscenes but the games never looked anything like them, I’ve always wanted a game that does.


I like what I see. Good demonstration. :smiley:


Kinda annoying to copy paste link in url bar and fix the link.

If you want to only show link and not the image use “preformated text” (ctrl+shift+c) for this result:

WC3 Classic:

WC3 Reforge:

WC3 Reforge fan mockup:

Wow the more saturation makes a huge difference. The brighter colors really makes it look a lot more like old WC3 while still having the dope new models. I hope blizzard sees/likes this!


Deep down, that was always my feeling as well. The dark fantasy setting of a literal zombie apocalypse somewhat contrasted to the bulky, cartoony artstyle. And to the gameplay itself where the units needed dozens of attacks to be killed… That’s a huge side-track, however, I’m not for changing that insanely much.

Grubby has also said that he raised the issue to the devs, and they told him they’d tried, and also that the cartoony style feels too Pixar for 2018. Well, they’re Blizzard, they’ve made Overwatch, they know it indeed.


I posted this in other threads and I’ll keep posting it until everyone and their grandmother saw it.

I really do enjoy the higher polygon models, but I also see the point that is brought forth about clarity in recognisability, and after some consideration I have to agree that Warcraft’s style is iconic in its comic book flavour. Their argument that they changed it because so many other titles do it is fair, I guess, however they are that way precisely because Warcraft 3 made it so popular. I can only assume they were afraid of being accused of copying their successors on the market, which is a shame but is probably an undeniable truth.

On the other hand, they made that decision to go into a more cartoony style back in Warcraft 2 due to technical limitations, so they made their weakness a strength. Now, the technical limitations are non existant, and they can finally give this franchise the lick of paint they believe it deserves.

And “paint” is probably the keyword that a lot of people are looking for here. Whether it’s cartoony or stylised or what you want to call it, Warcraft has always had an illustrated look to it. They did make a great job re-building the iconic units into this new look, however they went away from illustration and paintings, towards a true plastic replication of these characters. I do not want them to completely abandon their high polygon models, because I always thought it was a bit of a shame how many sweet details were straight irrecognisable due to being mashed into the textures, however I believe applying textures that invoke the painted/illustrated feel more or to apply a filter over the existing textures as to make them appear more like a drawing will be a large step to appeasing the traditionalists while allowing the team to really make use of their new powerful tools.
On that note, I just watched wtii’s reaction video on the panel, and one point he brought up really struck a chord with me. He talked about how there’s not enough of the actual player colour on some of the models, which is especially notable from the zoomed-out isometric view. This is, most likely, due to the fact that they did try to be more faithful to the equipment and materials. In my oppinion, this would also be solved by more illustrated textures, working to use colours that imply materials rather than realistically visualising them.

I would also like to state the obvious and say this: The game has been worked on for a long time, but they did release the Culling mission as well as those panel screenshots and videos with the clear intent of putting together the earliest presentable version to the audience to spark interest. I expect a lot of polishing and work to come even if they stay the course with their current visual direction, which could very well optimise the current look with barely any actual changes.


The units are fine, it’s the buildings that are cartoonishly annoying.


When Diablo 3 came out, people were saying the game was cartoony to age better, to reach a bigger audience etc. Diablo 3 should be darker and ominous.

Now, with Warcraft Reforged, which should be more colorful and cartoony, developers are saying cartoony Orcs aren’t scary enough and there’s too many games with cartoon style (what is a poor excuse since there’s A LOT of realistic games out there as well).

Say hello to Blizzard discrepancy.

You know what? In the end of the day, these guys are just giving excuses to justify their own PERSONAL TASTE and nothing more. There’s no big real reasoning behind it, they just fish arguments in the air to use it as a shield to protect their art particular taste, what is sad since these games have its own essence and soul to be threaten like that. No director’s taste should be put above a beloved title, ever.


I love the more realistic artstyle imo, I really hope they stick to it


“The units are fine, it’s the buildings that are cartoonishly annoying.”

I agree. Buildings look like they are made of clay. Update the environment please.


What I think about this - the NO to silly and cartoony theme is perfect, the Grunt model they have currently is perfect, its the textures that need to be adjusted. The textures are too crisp and sharp… too “realistic” for Warcraft and for RTS in general. They should be smoother and pleasing to the eye, just like original W3 - then we strike a perfect balance between darker theme for the game’s sake and smooth and polished look for our sake.


I like the new realistic style.


I totally agree, I had been impressed with how the WoW environment artist team has really improved aesthetic that game over the years from the W3 style of vanilla. Now looking at this it is quite depressing to go back to that.

That saturation makes a massive difference. Nice job!

I’m a bit puzzled on people who love the artstyle of the original. While I’ve loved Warcraft III for probably my entire sentient life, I never looked up to it as Blizzard’s height of artistic wonder. I always enjoyed Starcraft or Diablo for the artistic vision those games casted, and maybe Warcraft II for its silliness, but WCII didn’t take itself too seriously. The original style of WCIII always seemed to be a limitation of the graphics, therefore they went a more cartoonish route since it was easier than a realistic one. Other games of the era made similar decisions.

I love the idea of them going for a more realistic style, but I do understand some of the criticism too. There a difference between realism and too much detail. While units like the grunts and knights look good, the footmen seem to be a bit too elaborate. This could cause a sensor overload in larger battles.

I also think that while the realism is a good start, there is a sense of clay. Again, I like the knights and grunts, but some of the buildings and units, like what we saw of the tauren, maintain a bit of a cartoonish look. In all honesty, the biggest challenge for them artistically seems to be what to simplify, what to exaggerate, and what to detail, whilst still maintaining the realistic look they’re going for.

It is possible that what we are seeing are merely alpha designs, so I have hope that they are listening for feedback and will adjust the designs accordingly.

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Wow that’s very true ! I think the shadows also makes it a bit différent, they should be less sharp :slight_smile:

I have to admit that whilst I am in the “doesn’t feel warcrafty enough to me” camp, I am slowly coming around to it, largely due to their explanations. I also don’t care for the cartoons on their sketch examples slide. (I still think HotS did a good job of being high quality and warcrafty though)

This saturation change makes a huge difference . Well done on pointing out such a simple “solution” that brings it a bit closer in vibe to the original.