Chris Metzen, the former Blizzard game designer who helped bring us StarCraft and Warcraft, has named the first game for his board game company, Warchief Gaming. The fantasy title is Auroboros: Coils of the Serpent, and it’s based on it Dungeons & Dragons initiatives created by Metzen as a teenager.
Auroboros is a modern ksing modern game (RPG) game series D&D Rules 5th Edition, and its first publication is titled Worldbook: Lawbrand. This is a source book based on the campaign run by Metzen in his youth with friends in the 1980s and 1990s before he joined Blizzard. The company is launching a Kickstarter campaign starting April 20th.
Metzen started the Warchief Gaming based in Irvine, California last year with Mike Gilmartin who was chief executive of Blizzard. They are working on the game with Ryan Collins, a former Hearthstone designer. Auroboros refers to a snake wagging its own tail. Lawbrand is an alliance of trading towns, bound by common trade and religious order. The story focuses on the power of the Auroboros, and how it often leads to both enlightenment and rage and death. As your power grows, you can turn truth into reality, but there is a high cost of rage and death. When you use the power of magic, the snake will eat you.
“This is our first major franchise, and it’s an amazing situation that I developed with my friends when we were kids playing D&D, ”Metzen said in an interview with GamesBeat.
To bring Lawbrand into a modern set of rules (D&D in the ’80s and’ 90s using 1st and 2nd edition rules), Metzen enlisted the help of Collins, a leading product developer for Warchief Gaming. Other contractors contributed to the campaign.
“We started it maybe in the mid or late 80s, and then it ran through the mid 90s,” Metzen said. “We built the big world here to help us D&D events. It is a multi-generational story. We played three distinct groups of characters in three distinct moments, all separated by hundreds of years. ”
Metzen was Blizzard Entertainment’s main focus on games like Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, and Overwatch. But toiling took a toll on games, and after 22 years, he left it all behind in 2016. Four years later, he returned to a board game with a couple of friends to make Auroboros . He believes that others will enjoy the world.
“Despite having friends in the story, this is built so that an adventure party dungeon master can run through whatever story they want to tell, in the same situation,” Metzen said.
For the past two years, Metzen has enjoyed playing record games with friends in a club, talking to them for hours at a time. That helped him heal his mind from a kind of burning, and his hunger made him create a world again.
With Metzen ‘s success in creating a world at Blizzard that turned him into a big franchise, Gilmartin took the opportunity and inspired Metzen to pursue his new dream through the studio in Irvine, California. While board games are a much smaller market opportunity than video games, they are hot now. And Gilmartin thinks that if the record games succeed, they could be allowed to become other things over time, like comic books spawning big movies or games.
Metzen thinks less about that and more about the fact that record games were his first love.
“I knew I wanted to go back to this world I built when I was young,” Metzen said. “It was the last world he worked on before I got hired at Blizzard.”
But Metzen put it down while at Blizzard, as he realized his new job was going to demand his time and creative output. Metzen is in his late 40s now, and he started this when he was probably 13 years old. Over time, his group lost a few players and gained some, and they picked it up again near the end of high school.
The record was surprisingly complete, and Metzen discovered that there were holes in the background and some things like names for places he didn’t write down.
On Kickstarter, one of the high-value products will be a kind of update of the story.
“For the most part, the names and the places and the organizations, that we all had them one by one,” Metzen said.
Revisiting the past
Most of us probably wouldn’t want to revisit the games we played back in our teens. But Metzen valued the veracity of what he and his friends tried to create. He kept his records and much of his artwork. And it has brought back some old friends in the last few years.
Metzen thinks D&D as a basis of creative ideas. But he also admitted that he had “nothing to do” back in the early days.
Regarding the design of the game at a small company, Metzen said, “It’s different in every way that can be, except for my favorite part, which is just courtship with passionate, nerdy people. That’s exactly the same, which is an amazing comfort. At Blizzard, with its scale and audience, there was always a bit of fear, or tension, about whether they were going to love it. Are they going to come back? Are they going to keep playing? In the end, all you have to do is do the best you can. It feels awful not to feel the pressure of all those things. ”
He said, “This is terrible. I want to play with my friends with whom I played back in the day. I want them to be proud of this. And I want them to see that the end result is confirmed by what we developed. And I want Mike and Ryan to be proud of them as brothers in this thing. I want them to feel like they played a part. I just love the fact that this old idea that means so much to me, this thing I was doing before Blizzard, felt so comfortable to go back inside. This is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. “
GamesBeat’s credibility when it comes to covering the game’s industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how important the news is to you – not only as a decision maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy getting involved.
How do you do that? Membership includes access to:
- Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
- The amazing, educational, and fun speakers at our events
- Networking opportunities
- Member-only interviews, conversations, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
- Chat with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests at our Discord
- And maybe even a fun prize or two
- An introduction for like-minded parties
Become a member