With Warcraft, the movie, due out soon, everyone involved in the project is becoming acutely aware of the expectations of the public regarding the title and of just how big a challenge it is to create an acceptable movie out of something that has to draw in people new to the 22-year old Warcraft universe, while pleasing the hardcore fans of the games too, some of whom have almost literally been eating, breathing and living in the World of Warcraft for several years now. Indeed, what started out as a series of Real-Time Strategy games (RTS), has turned into a virtual world, where players can take on the roles of Humans, Orcs and a number of other fantasy-species like Pandaren and Worgen, while questing for wealth, fame and tricked-out gear in a vast world, which is now covering a lot more than the original expense of land where the orcs first came into contact with humans as they streamed into Azeroth through the Dark Portal, looking to escape their dying homeland.
Making a captivating story about this early period in the Warcraft canon was no easy task. Back then, things were kept simple: the humans were relatable, their homes invaded by brutish beasts from another dimension who were monstrous and vile in every way: the clear antagonists that players would never actually have to consider anything but the target of extermination.
While World of Warcraft (and even the latter installments of the RTS series) changed all that, the movie is actually about that early period, so to be able to build up a story around it all, Director Duncan Jones and his crew were forced to change the canon and to make the orcs empathetic. Of course, actually conceiving the story and its characters was just the first step of the challenge. The team also had to make the creatures appear convincing on-screen, a process which has put Jones' directing skills to the test in rather unorthodox ways.
At the end of the day, the entirety of the $100 million project boils down to one question: how will the fans receive it? If its creators got it wrong, people are going to be very upset indeed...
Philip Thalberg is an administrator of the Overwatch forums, at GosuGamers.net, the world's top eSports destination.