Chris Metzen Interview
Scott Johnson had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Metzen and talk to him about how he is doing and the how the community treats artists they disagree with.

We've recapped some of the major points below, but listen to the entire thing for context!

  • Whenever Metzen would draw Thrall, he would draw him a little bit more upright than other Orcs
  • Early Blizzard played lots of Samurai Shodown 2 and Wan-fu was one of the characters. Wan-fu has a necklace of balls, which was the inspiration for Thrall's Balls.
  • Metzen had back surgery and couldn't move around as much for four months.
  • It's hard to watch people get attacked because their movie, comic, or game displeases some number of people out there.
  • Metzen isn't going to attack a director publicly on the internet if he didn't like a movie, he'll just not buy a ticket to his next movie.
  • During Diablo 3 when there was a lot of controversy over decisions, the community really raked Jay Wilson over the coals. He just happened to be the public face at the time.
  • Metzen was very lucky, as he was a public face for many years, occasionally did or said something stupid, and the fanbase would call him out. This included things like Red Shirt Guy. He made a mistake on stage under pressure and confused two characters.
  • Metzen always felt very embraced by the community, and was appreciative of that. The internet can turn on you quickly and it would be hard to re-establish trust.
  • What if you wanted to be an artist, filmmaker, or make games, but you grew up with an internet that literally stoned people that displeased them. What kind of incentive is that for a young person with imagination right now?
  • There is sometimes an appalling lack of empathy for the artists that are standing up there and trying to keep the discussion going. There is a lack of empathy for that person and their heart, imagination, soul, and their spin on things. Take a step back and take a breath, everything in life isn't going to please you.
  • If you didn't like something, such as the Last Jedi, take the opportunity to introduce someone to an expression of Star Wars that you love. Take the opportunity to engage positively. Pay forward elements of the franchise you loved.
  • Christie Golden being attacked was embarrassing to Metzen on behalf of the community. Christie is an important voice on the Story and Franchise Development group at Blizzard and helps the game developers expand the story of the game.
  • Metzen tried to hire Christie Golden for years, as she is an amazing voice and storyteller.
  • The attacks on her were not only misplaced, but unfair and unjust.
  • The last Warcraft thing that Metzen worked on was the BlizzCon 2017 Battle for Azeroth cinematic. They started on it over two and a half years ago.
  • Every expansion people complain and lose their minds, complaining that everything sucks and the game is ruined. Then a couple months later, we are into the expansion and the tone has shifted to "This is the most Warcraft it's been ever". Let the story play out.
  • Have some empathy for the artists that are giving you everything they've got. You may not agree with every decision they make, but they are people too.
  • Metzen isn't interested in going back to a regular job, such as a Creative Lead, anytime soon.
  • Metzen had the chance to do a voice for an upcoming animated show recently. It was a very limited part, but it was fun to get back in the studio. It was nice to be part of something creative that didn't rest on him.
  • If Metzen comes out of retirement to do something big, he wants to build a show that people love. An adventure that fires the imagination and heart, about people growing up together and finding themselves together in the midst of really high octane geeky stuff.
  • Some of the things that used to drive Metzen crazy while he was at Blizzard he now has a fondness for after looking back at them.
  • Metzen feels much better than he did two years ago in his last interview. Stepping away from Blizzard worked.
  • Remember that empathy is important, especially in today's climate. Things are tense and there is a lot of hate out there, so to find that same kind of binary aggressiveness in our hallowed nerdy halls is disconcerting. We are supposed to dream the big dreams of a fantasy of a better tomorrow and being better people.
  • We are all in it together, be good to each other.

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