Internal Blizzard Team Won’t Be Making CGI For ‘World of Warcraft’ Movie

With the news today that the “World of Warcraft” expansion “Wrath of the Lich King” sold 2.8 million copies within its first 24 hours of release, we can only wonder what’s next for Blizzard’s flagship franchise.

At the New York City launch event last week, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime did tell me to expect another expansion in about a year, and executive VP of product development Frank Pearce gave an update on the “World of Warcraft” movie currently in development.

Legendary Pictures is currently trying to assign some names to write the screenplay and find someone to direct it, so it’s still really early in production,” Pearce said. “They want to make sure they get the right talent for those different parts, especially the screenwriting, because that’s the foundation for the movie.”

“It would be a huge undertaking and it’s not really something that we’re ready to do anytime soon.”

I also wondered if Blizzard considered making a full CGI movie in the vein of their games’ cinematics. “[The idea] has come up in discussions but it’s not something we’ve really considered because it takes so long to generate just the brief amount of footage that we create for the game,” Pearce explained. “That department’s focus is creating the footage for the games to tell the story; it would be a huge undertaking and it’s not really something that we’re ready to do anytime soon.”

He added, “It would be definitely be really cool. There’s no question about that, it’s just that the quantity of work that it would take is more than we’re willing to take on at this point. We’ve got a lot of work to do as it relates to ’WoW’… we’ve got all this stuff in the pipe and that would just be one more thing on top of it, and that would be a huge thing on top of it.”

“Anything we take on… it’s really important that the overall experience is a high level of quality in line with what we do with our games.”

I asked Pearce what he thought of video game movies in general. He could only name the “Tomb Raider” movies as ones he’s found entertaining. “There’s been some that have been decent, and there’s been some that have been disappointing,” he said. It’s just a question of how much energy, time, blood, sweat and tears are invested in [the movie]. Anything we take on, whether it’s live-action or CG, pocketbook novels or trading card games, whatever it is, it’s really important that the overall experience is a high level of quality in line with what we do with our games.”

“Wrath of the Lich King” is now the fastest-selling PC game of all time. Do you the game’s sales would translate into a box-office hit? And would you like to see “World of Warcraft” come to the big screen in CGI, live-action or a combination of both?

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