This is a full transcript of the BlizzCon 2016 Blizzard Publishing panel. Among the panelists directing the event were:

  • Cate Gary (senior editor)
  • Christie Golden (author)
  • Micky Neilson (author)
  • Robert Brooks (senior writer)
  • Matt Burns (senior writer)
  • Greg Weisman (author)
  • Timothy Zahn (author)

BlizzCon 2016 Blizzard Publishing Panel Transcript


BlizzCon 2016 Blizzard Publishing Panel Transcript

Cate: Hello, Blizzcon. Thank you all for coming. It’s so wonderful to see so many people here today. You are proof that the written word is alive and well. Give yourselves a round of applause.


Welcome to Building Worlds: Inside Blizzard Publishing, where we’re going to give you up behind-the-scenes look at how writers translate Blizzard games into unforgettable novels, comic books, short stories, and other forms of prose. My name is Cate Gary, I am the senior editor for Blizzard Publishing, and here we’re going to bring out your panel. First, we have Christie Golden, a familiar face to many of you Next, Micky Neilson, Matt Burns, Robert Brooks, Greg Weisman and Timothy Zahn.


Warcraft: Lord of the Clans

And we’re going to start with Christie (New York Times bestselling author) here today to talk to us about re-releases of two of her classic Warcraft novels: Lord of the Clans and Rise of the Horde.

Now Christie, you originally wrote these 10 and 15 years ago, and a lot has happened since then. World of Warcraft has released its sixth expansion, there was a little movie called Warcraft, which incidentally featured one of the characters you created in Rise of the Horde — Draka. How did it feel to see her on the big screen?

Christie: It was amazing. It was absolutely amazing. I actually had my first glimpse here at BlizzCon, when you treated everybody to snippets of the movie before it came out, and I knew she was going to be in the movie; but I didn’t know that I would see her. So I’m sitting here with everybody else and then she’s on screen and I went (shriek). I literally shrieked and it was pretty amazing, and very gratifying to see how she was treated, and see her. Something that you created, and gave life to in a name in a personality on the screen.


Cate: I’m a fan. I was excited to see her too, but now it’s 2016, your novels are being re-released, and the audience for Warcraft books has grown astronomically to put it mildly. What do you think in these stories will resonate with audiences today?

Christie: Well, the nice thing about both of these books is they take place before World of Warcraft even existed. So these are real historical stories. 2001, and I do believe 2006. So they’re not empinching on anything that’s going on now. This is a set up, and this is going back to the roots. This is going back to where we see Thrall as a baby, picking up right at the end of the movie. We see baby Thrall, and we see him grow up to become such a pivotal character in World of Warcraft, and then we get to see the literal Rise of the Horde; and how that all began in the game setting as opposed to the movie setting. So we have a chance to go even deeper into it; and I think that people will enjoy revisiting this and kind of brushing up on their roots.

Cate: Fantastic, alright now the story of how you wrote Lord of the clans. This is the stuff of Blizzard legend. Tell us what happened there.

Christie: Oh, this is totally epic. I was just coming off not working with another gaming company who shall remain nameless. It was a very bad experience, and I was a little a little bruised from it, and an editor over at Pocket Books with whom I had worked with doing my Star Trek novels contacted me, and said this company Blizzard has a game that they never finished, that they chose not to produce, but they want the story turned into a novel. Is that something you’d be interested in?

And I’m like: “Oh, I don’t know… gaming companies.” A good friend of mine though who was familiar with Blizzard games, and he said: Christie, Blizzard really cares about what they do. They do quality work. They’re known for it. They have a great deal of passion. I think you’d like working with them.

So I said: Well, alright. Well, little did I know that on the other end of this Chris Metzen was talking to this editor, and saying: “Ugh! Star Trek writer? I don’t know. I don’t think a Star Trek writer could really be able to do justice to orcs, you know. The mighty orc Horde. I’m just not sure,” and she said: “You know, Christie really knows her stuff. She’s very passionate about what you do. I think you’ll like working with her.


So like a matchmaker, almost; and sure enough, in six weeks I worked with Chris and produced Lord of the Cans. Really loved it. Really loved the world. Chris was excited about it, and the rest is history. And there’s a fun footnote that you may not know, which is that that editor is Jennifer Heddle who is now licensing over at Star Wars. So it’s a very small world.

Next: StarCraft II: Nova: The Keep

Warcraft: Lord of the ClansStarCraft II: The KeepWorld of Warcraft: Chronicle
World of Warcraft: TravelerStarCraft II: EvolutionPanel Q&A

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