WarCraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans was a dark comical point-and-click adventure computer game under development by Blizzard Entertainment that was set in the Warcraft universe, and cancelled before its release. American company Animation Magic was out-sourced due to their experience in classical two-dimensional animation to produce the twenty-two minutes of fully-animated sequences, the game’s artwork, the coding of the engine and the implementation of the sound effects. Blizzard then provided all the designs, the world backgrounds, sound recording and ensured storyline continuity. Four or five months after Blizzard had released Battle.net and Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal had shipped, Blizzard began development on a title that would be cancelled just over a year later.
The game was originally slated for a Q4 1997 release; however it was pushed back until the end of 1998. This was a result of unforeseen technical problems coupled with communication limitations between Blizzard and their American third party animation company Animation Magic. Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans had been in development for over a year: nearly all features, puzzles, and areas were in place, the voice acting had been recorded, and much of the animation was complete, yet Blizzard was not confident with their title.
Even though the game was cancelled, Blizzard felt the story too important to ignore and hired an author to adapt the game’s story into a novel. The author contracted to scribe it was unable to complete the book on time. Star Trek novelist Christie Golden was then hired to write the novelisation based on scripts and outlines provided by WarCraft universe co-creator, Chris Metzen, and had to be completed within six weeks. The book was released under the title Warcraft: Lord of the Clans by Pocket Books and is considered canonical by Warcraft enthusiasts. Warcraft: Lord of the Clans is the second novel based in the Warcraft Universe.
Even though the game exploring Thrall’s origins was cancelled, Thrall became a major character in Blizzard’s subsequent games Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and World of Warcraft and his story is considered canon, according to the Warcraft III manual’s backstory. [Info from Wikipedia]
Thanks to Derboo for the contribution!
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WarCraft Adventures was a game with a great premise but the execution at the time was completely god awful. It’s a testament to Blizzard’s current commitment to quality, something that I’m sure that they had back when they did Justice League of America, that they canceled it despite it being so far into production.
Perhaps with their current position and power, they could actually produce the game in a satisfactory manner (with competent animation, voice acting and puzzle designs). It’s a shame that adventure games are such a niche market and that inevitably there would be complaints about the game’s length, lack of multiplayer, and lack of replayability. Had their once-RTS rival Westwood not been bought out by EA years ago, I’d say that they would be a perfect candidate for collaborating with on the project. Their work on Blade Runner is one of the high marks in PC adventure game design.
The only other company that could have handled it would have been Access, but Microsoft killed them off years ago.
I found some worthy materials:
http://web.archive.org/web/19980519112352/http://blizzard.com/waradv/waradv.htm – depicts the promised features, although the developer, Animation Magic LLC, isn’t descripted.
http://web.archive.org/web/19981205144507/http://blizzard.com/waradv/waradv.htm – announcement of the ceasing of development, dated May 22nd, 1998, citing the “game’s current status and the rapidly changing technology of the industry”.
Thanks a lot for the links Intergold, really useful :)