Chris Metzen js returning to Blizzard Entertainment to work on World of Warcraft, Warcraft general manager John Hight announced Thursday. Metzen was one of the lead creatives on the Warcraft franchise, penning much of the lore and world-building behind the original real-time strategy games. Metzen continued to helm creative projects throughout World of Warcraft until his retirement in 2016 as senior vice president for story and franchise development.
Now, Metzen will serve as a creative advisor on World of Warcraft, with future input on other games in the franchise.
In a statement posted to Blizzard’s website, Hight wrote:
It is with great joy that I announce Chris Metzen has joined the Warcraft Leadership Team as Creative Advisor. Chris’s focus initially will be on World of Warcraft, then his work will expand to other projects across this growing franchise.
Chris was one of the original team members working on the Warcraft universe back when it began in 1994, and we are so happy to be reuniting him with the world he helped create.
Metzen has helped develop several of the game’s most iconic races, from the classic orcs and humans to the (relatively) newer Forsaken and Night Elves. He also serves as the voice for Thrall, long-time orc warchief and poster boy for the Horde. After retiring in 2016, Metzen worked with Mike Gilmartin on a tabletop role-play setting called Auroboros: Coils of the Serpent.
World of Warcraft has experienced ups and downs since Metzen’s departure. The Sylvanas storyline, which carried through Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands, was largely panned by the player base due to narrative inconsistency and mishandling of beloved characters. The Warcraft game franchise spans the MMO, collectible card game Hearthstone, and the upcoming mobile game Arclight Rumble.
Blizzard has also experienced significant cultural upheaval, with lawsuits from former employees and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging sexual harassment and discrimination at the developer in a lawsuit. Metzen, along with other senior alums like Mike Morhaime, apologized in 2021 for “the part I played in a culture that fostered harassment, inequality, and indifference.”