Warchief Gaming WebsiteAnnouncement Interview on Venturebeat
Make sure you watch to the end of the video!
In an interview with Venturebeat, Metzen explains how the company came to be, turning his hobby into a business after his retirement and burnout from Blizzard.
Metzen opened up about that sense of burnout and creative exhaustion. He felt like he didn’t have a safety net, and that asking for help wasn’t an easy option. He left, relaxed, and is recharged again.
“Tabletop is where I learned to be creative with my friends growing up, playing D&D, playing Warhammer,” he said. “Loving these ideas and playing these games in the same space as my best friends. Those are some of my most cherished memories. At 47, I come back to that. Even after that glorious Blizzard experience, I want that intimate scale again. This is my path.”
He added, “I’ve always felt that even things like World of Warcraft, which is still my favorite video game of all time, they’re reaching for what D&D does. I don’t mean to sound arrogant in saying that. For my entire career at Blizzard, I was trying to chase the feelings that tabletop had always given me. Whether I was playing a role-playing game or a wargame, I just wanted to feel those things with the people I was playing with.”
While it’s been a busy month for ex-Blizzard employees founding studios like Frost Giant and Dreamhaven, Metzen is taking a slightly different path in focusing on a small-scale tabletop company instead of staying in video game development. Metzen has spoken candidly about his mental health issues due to fandom toxicity and studio pressures in the past, and it seems that returning to his first love of tabletop is a better fit currently than leading a large game studio.
“I was so in love with it all. I was in love with the product,” Metzen said. “I was in love with the way that the jobs felt and the teams I was working with. Once World of Warcraft came out and got big, things changed. It was still awesome, and it’s still awesome today. But we went from being this tight little development shop to being a service provider of this big giant game. That comes with its own rise and fall, its own new conditions and concerns.”
For Metzen, Warchief takes him back to that kind of creative time, before Blizzard became huge.
“It’s building ideas for your friends and laughing at it as we work every day,” he said. “There’s a purity to the smaller scale. Blizzard did exceptional work, but it was at a massive scale. It’s hard to control and keep the train on the tracks. And they’re running multiple trains. They’re all excellent. It’s just a lot of mindshare. This feels like it’s so much more freeing and simplified, the creative process.”