The Arts-and-Crafts of War: Heroes artists discuss new CraftWars patch
There’s a war on in the Korprulu Sector: Battlecruisers are meeting Leviathans, and the asteroid fields are littered with the glowing husks of capital ships. The throne of the Zerg has been usurped by the invading Betrayer King of the Alliance, but there is a force that stands to oppose him. Who will emerge victorious? The newly crowned King of Blades, Arthas, or the resistance led by the Emperor of the Dominion, Anduin?
Starting today, you can see the fight play out for yourself in the newly dropped CraftWars patch, with new skins, mounts, and more. To take in the creation tale of this mighty patch, we sat down with Assistant Art Director Trevor Jacobs and Senior Artist Andrew Kinabrew.
King of Blades Arthas
In Jacobs’ point of view, Arthas—Warcraft’s Crown Prince of the Alliance turned Lich King—was the key actor that unraveled the worlds of possibility in CraftWars.
“We were thinking that Arthas—Lord of the Dead, Lich King—would somehow take Kerrigan’s throne,” Jacobs says, slowly, his eyes growing wide.
“But is Arthas conquering all the worlds? Or is he just after StarCraft?” the artist muses to himself.
The artists have their own interpretations, but it’s up to you to decide in your next match.
Jacobs and Kinabrew admit Mei—a climatologist fighting for world peace in the Overwatch universe—isn’t exactly “cross-craft”, but interpreting her as an icy, evil Death Knight was simply too irresistible.
“We thought this skin just had to happen,” says Jacobs. “We were seeing it pop up in the community, and we were like ‘dude, we’re doing it,’ and were stoked to be riding the wave.”
Kinabrew made the skin quite some time before CraftWars was put on the production schedule and seized the opportunity to make her the perfect accomplice for the King of Blades in his coldhearted plot.
Mineral Harvester Gazlowe
Based on the StarCraft SCV, Gazlowe’s newest skin drops with this pack just in time for his rework.
“I think my favorite is the Gazlowe skin,” says Kinabrew. “I was really proud we could finally get that one in. We’ve been mulling it over for a long time.”
Jacobs tells us in hushed tones that he wasn’t sure about the idea in the beginning, but that he was willing to be convinced by Kinabrew.
“So, Gazlowe fans, you have Brew to thank,” says Jacobs. “Now he’s one of my favorite skins in the pack, too.”
Draenei Executor Artanis
Artanis, the Executor of the Protoss army in StarCraft, appears in CraftWars as a Draenei, an ancient spacefaring race uncorrupted by Kil’Jaeden’s dark power. In their vision of the clash, the artists say Artanis would be a key player in the opposition force to the King of Blades’ invasion.
“We’ve worked on all these games,” says Jacobs. “This is a team that helped spawn characters like Artanis. So, this was a fun history of us just throwing things together and seeing what stuck.”
Emperor of the Dominion Anduin
In CraftWars, Anduin has crossed over from being a prince in Warcraft to being… a prince in StarCraft.
When asked about Anduin’s new look, Jacobs and Kinabrew take turns interrupting each other’s responses with punctuated laughter.
“It’s the funniest one to me,” says Jacobs. “I feel bad even saying it… but Anduin, Valerian… they’re just so close. To me there’s so much humor here in this skin.”
Being long-time fans of both Warcraft and StarCraft, Jacobs and Kinabrew say working on Heroes is a unique opportunity to poke fun at the characters they love from time to time, and they hope the players get a good laugh, too.
So, who WOULD win?
“By just combining the power of the Lich King with the Primal Zerg power, in addition to the never-ending forces he would summon… Arthas should win,” says Jacobs.
Here he pauses.
“But that would never happen,” he says. “I am sure we would have Gazlowe invent an off-switch for the undead Zerg. Mei would fall in love with Anduin and turn against Arthas. And Artanis would sacrifice himself and become the King of Blades, but nice.”
Kinabrew mulls that over.
“I imagine they would probably grow flowers, or something,” he says thoughtfully.