Warcraft veteran's return has fans pumped for the "meteoric comeback of WoW"

Blizzard's Chris Metzen reads a bedtime story
(Image credit: Blizzard)

This week, Blizzard announced that veteran Warcraft developer Chris Metzen was returning to the team, and WoW fans have been celebrating ever since.

Metzen was one of the key creative forces at Blizzard going back to the early '90s. He helped create the universes of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft decades ago, and served in key creative roles on Diablo 3, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft expansions up through Legion. Yet he abruptly retired from Blizzard in 2016. In a podcast interview, he cited burnout and mental health struggles as his reasons for getting out. Metzen started a tabletop gaming studio in 2020.

Now, however, he's back at Blizzard. The announcement noted that he's "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." Metzen has seemingly never been too far from Warcraft - check out his 2020 bedtime story for an example - but now he's all the way back on board, and fans couldn't be more excited.

As Reddit user d3m01iti0n says, this is "the meteoric comeback of WoW and I'm here for it!!!" lmaotank says "Holy moly -- what a Christmas present for all." mangogaga says "this is the most 'in case of emergency, break glass' situation I've ever seen and I'm here for it." Perhaps above all, fans are excited about the potential return of Thrall, the legendary orc voiced by Metzen.

The WoW community seems primed for the game to get its comeback story. That's maybe a weird thing to say about what continues to be, by an order of magnitude, the biggest MMO on the market, but the response to recent expansions has been mixed, particularly with regards to their narratives. Players have been high on Dragonflight so far, and it seems Blizzard has been keen to capitalize on the apparent return to form.

Of course, there is one elephant in the room of any discussion of a returning Blizzard veteran. While Metzen's name did not come up among the allegations around Activision Blizzard's sexual harassment lawsuit, he did issue an apology during his retirement for failing to take action to correct the company's culture.

"There is no excuse," Metzen said. "We failed too many people when they needed us because we had the privilege of not noticing, not engaging, not creating necessary space for the colleagues who needed us as leaders. I wish my apology could make any kind of difference. It can't."

WoW is nearly too big not to remain ranked among the best MMORPGs, but here's hoping Blizzard continues to put its best foot forward.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.