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When does a cigar mean a LOT of extra work?

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It's hard for Blizzard fans to imagine Tychus without a cigar, but in the launch trailer for Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm there he was, no cigar to be seen. Players wanted answers, and Blizzard senior artist Phill Gonzales revealed them in the game's subreddit.

It's not a matter of censorship, but an attempt to lessen the workload of "shipping" multiple different versions of the character.

"Heroes of the Storm is a multi-region game with a teen rating," he wrote. "There are a magnitude of guidelines we have to be aware of. From a development standpoint we prioritize making Heroes and Skins as utilitarian as possible, if a single model can be used in all regions, that's a huge win for development."

There are regions where showing a character smoking is a big no-no, and so Blizzard had to make a decision.

"Making 2 versions means more data management, multiple duplicates of the asset (if we update an animation, it has to propagate to all versions) such as the the death ragdoll model, The facial animations, his morph into the Odin, and apply that process to every skin as well," Gonzalez explained. "This mountain of work affects multiple departments and has to be addressed every time we'd adjust Tychus."

Or they could simply take the cigar away. "This is a decision based on productivity. The appeal of Tychus should not hinge on a cigar anyways, and we have no issue with that aspect of his character."

Things get weird when you deal with what is and isn't permitted in different regions. Apparently Skelethur doesn't show up at all in some regions due to rules about how to show "human remains." Managing these sorts of things isn't easy, which makes the decision to adjust a character to avoid it altogether a very tempting one.

No cigar means less work, which leads to, hopefully, more time spent on the important stuff.