This week, game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment emailed customers who had pre-ordered its upcoming 4K remaster of strategy classic Warcraft III announcing that the game will become playable at 3am PST on January 28, 2020.
The game was previously slated for launch before the end of 2019, but players had begun to suspect some kind of delay when Blizzard didn’t provide a firm release date for the game at its otherwise packed BlizzCon conference in early November. The company explained the short delay in a blog post, writing:
Though we’ve been working hard to get Reforged in your hands before the end of the year, as we started approaching the finish line, we felt we’d need a little extra development time for finishing touches. As always, our goal is to honor the high standards you hold us to.
As recent controversies over crunch in game development have made clear, making triple-A video games is complex and fraught with unexpected roadblocks and ever-shifting scope. Delays like this are common. Some excited players may be frustrated that they have to wait a little longer, but others will be happy to see a focus on quality or saner worker conditions for developers, whichever (if either) the case may be here.
Warcraft III was arguably one of the most influential games of the past 20 years because it birthed both World of Warcraft (which defined more than a decade of massively multiplayer online games) and, via community-made modifications, the MOBA genre (League of Legends, Dota 2, Blizzard’s own Heroes of the Storm), which in tandem with battle royale games, drove the esports and livestreaming revolution of the gaming industry.
It’s also a very well-polished real-time strategy game that includes many of the lore underpinnings for the popular Warcraft franchise and universe. The remaster overhauls the graphics, adds a new online matchmaking infrastructure, makes game balance changes and other modernizations, and more.
Warcraft III: Reforged costs $29.99 for its standard edition, or $39.99 for the “Spoils of War” edition that includes additional hero skins for the game, as well as other Warcraft III-related cosmetics in other Blizzard games like Overwatch and World of Warcraft. It is available exclusively as a digital download via Blizzard’s online software storefront.