Chris Metzen at BlizzCon in 2009
|Born||Christopher Vincent Metzen
November 22, 1973
artist, author, voice actor
|Title||Senior Vice President, Story and Franchise Development|
Christopher Vincent "Chris" Metzen (born November 22, 1973) is an American game designer, artist, voice actor and author known for his work creating the fictional universes and scripts for Blizzard Entertainment's three major award-winning media franchises: Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft. On occasion, Metzen has published his art under the alias "Thundergod". Metzen was hired by Blizzard Entertainment as an animator and an artist; his first work for the company was with the video game Justice League Task Force.
Metzen was the Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development at Blizzard Entertainment and assisted the company's projects by providing voice talent for a number of characters, as well as contributing to artistic character design. Outside of Blizzard Entertainment, Metzen authored a graphic novel series based on a futuristic second American civil war. Metzen retired in September 2016 to spend more time with his family.
Metzen began his career in design after applying to Blizzard Entertainment, then known as Chaos Studios, on the recommendation of a friend who had seen his work. He was quickly recruited by the company, although Metzen states that at the time he did not really know what Blizzard Entertainment dealt with, assuming it was a graphic design studio rather than a video game developer.
Metzen's first work for the company was with the game Justice League Task Force, in which he provided artwork and character animation. Around the same time, Metzen also contributed to 1994's Warcraft: Orcs and Humans by working on artwork, illustrations and the game's documentation. Later video games by Blizzard Entertainment would frequently include Metzen's work in manual design, illustration and concept art. However, Metzen's role in developing later Warcraft games increased significantly with 1995's Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, which gave him the opportunity to work on the game's fantasy-based fictional universe in addition to designing the game's various scenarios and missions.
In 1996, Blizzard Entertainment launched its second major franchise with the role-playing game Diablo. Diablo's fictional universe was created by both Metzen and fellow designer Bill Roper, and Metzen also provided voice acting for some of the game's characters. On occasion, Metzen would provide voice talent for later video games. In 1998 he took the role of lead designer on the science fiction strategy game StarCraft. Along with James Phinney, Metzen again provided the game's extensive story and script, as well as organizing the voice casting for the game. In 1999, Metzen wrote a short story set in the StarCraft universe with fellow Blizzard Entertainment employee Sam Moore. The story, entitled Revelations, was published in the spring issue of Amazing Stories with cover artwork by Samwise Didier. Returning to the Diablo series in 2000 with Diablo II, Metzen worked on the game's story, script and artwork. In 2001, he published a novel set in the Warcraft universe, entitled Of Blood and Honor.
With 2002's Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Metzen was the creative director, a role he would hold in all of Blizzard's later video games, and provided the game's story concept and script. Metzen's work with 2004's massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft was not as extensive as his earlier work, but he still contributed with script writing, artwork and voice work.
Metzen announced in early 2005 that he was working on a graphic novel series independent of Blizzard Entertainment. The series, entitled Soldier: 76, is set in a second American civil war in 2010, with increased domestic and global terror threats and the increase in power for the US federal government over that of local state governments serving as a background. Metzen wrote the series' script, while Brazilian artist Max Velati was responsible for the illustration and painting of the book. Soldier: 76 would later appear as a character in Overwatch, Blizzard's online first-person shooter game, released in May 2016.
Chris Metzen teamed with author Flint Dille and artist Livio Ramondelli to create the 12-part, bi-weekly digital comic series, Transformers: Autocracy. Autocracy, published by IDW Publishing was published in 2012. The series focuses on the days just before the Great War. It is set after Megatron Origin, and presents the Decepticons as an established force, sowing dissent across Cybertron primarily through terrorist actions. The series focuses on Orion Pax, an Autobot commander charged with rooting out these cells. Transformers: Autocracy was released as a collected Trade Paperback in July 2012 with a bonus forward authored by Metzen. The same team is current working on the follow-up series, "Transformers: Monstrosity".
On September 12, 2016, Metzen announced that he was retiring from Blizzard Entertainment after nearly twenty-three years with the company.
He first started creating comics at the age of twelve, but that he had held an interest in drawing since at least six. He states that he still retains a habit of spending "an average of thirty-five dollars per week" on comics books. A fan of Dungeons & Dragons, Metzen cites the Dragonlance series of novels and Star Wars as the primary inspirations for his fantasy and science fiction creations, and names fantasy and comic book artists such as Walt Simonson and Keith Parkinson as his artistic inspirations.
He defines his artistic style as having been "heavily influenced by Walt Simonson's and Jim Lee's pencilling styles for form" while preferring the "costuming, themes and general feel of Larry Elmore and Keith Parkinson's fantasy paintings". In addition to art, Metzen's interests include pop and rock music, the nightlife, and dirt bikes.
- Diablo – Skeleton King
- StarCraft – Marine, Battlecruiser, Ghost
- Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos – Thrall
- Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne – Thrall, Vol'jin
- World of Warcraft – Thrall, Vol'jin, Orcs, Nefarian, Ragnaros, Hakkar the Soulflayer
- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade – Thrall, Vol'jin
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King – Thrall, Vol'jin, Varian Wrynn, Deathbringer Saurfang/Dranosh Saurfang, Bronjahm
- StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty – Marine, Battlecruiser
- World of Warcraft: Cataclysm – Thrall, Vol'jin, Varian Wrynn, Nefarian, Ragnaros, Hakkar the Soulflayer
- World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria – Thrall, Arcanital Mara'kah, Captain Halu'kal, Nalak the Storm Lord, War-God Jalak
- Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Marine, Battlecruiser
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft - Thrall, Various minions
- World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor - Thrall
- Heroes of the Storm - Thrall
- StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void – Marine, Battlecruiser
- Overwatch - Creative director, Bastion
- World of Warcraft: Legion - Thrall, Varian Wrynn
- Schiesel, Seth (February 10, 2005). "The Game Is a Hit, But the Work Isn't Done". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
- Vortex, Cecil (April 21, 2008). "An Interview with Chris Metzen". Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- "Chris Metzen To Publish His Own Comic Book". Blizzplanet. April 18, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- "Warcraft: Orcs and Humans credits". Allgame. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
- Underwood, Peter (1999). "Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness Credits". Warcraft II Battle.net Edition (manual). Blizzard Entertainment. p. 94.
- "Diablo credits". Allgame. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
- Underwood, Peter; Roper, Bill; Metzen, Chris; Vaughn, Jeffrey (April 1, 1998). "Credits". StarCraft (manual). Blizzard Entertainment. p. 90.
- "StarCraft is an Amazing Story". IGN. March 23, 1999. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
- "Diablo II credits". Allgame. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
- "Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor (eBook)". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
- "Credits". Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (manual). Blizzard Entertainment. 2003. p. 90.
- "World of Warcraft credits". Allgame. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
- Metzen, Chris (February 15, 2005). "Battle Reports: Soldier: 76". Sons of the Storm. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
- Chris Metzen on Warcraft Set, Demon Hunter Armor in Dressing Room, Kinndy Sparkshine in Legion - Wowhead News
- "Retirement Announcement". Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- "Artist profile: Chris Metzen". Sons of the Storm. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- "Interview with Chris Metzen". Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. 1UP.com. June 12, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2008.