Universal Studios Home Entertainment launched Legendary Entertainment’s movie, Warcraft onto 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on September 27. The reported $160 million production was an international success at the box office, raking in over $433 million with $47 million earned domestically. Many have yet to see Duncan Jones’ adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s PC game franchise, and Blizzard has partnered with Universal and Legendary to offer a digital copy of the game in select Blu-ray and DVD boxes. Actor Rob Kazinsky (Pacific Rim, True Blood) believes this is just one example of how the game developer and Hollywood studios can work together on this franchise.
Kazinsky is a life-long gamer and a dedicated World of Warcraft player. In fact, when he heard about this video game adaptation, he fought to get a role in the project. The role he landed was of Orgrim Doomhammer, one of the film’s central characters, and he was so excited to be part of this film that he showed up early just to meet the developers behind the game on set. The actor talks to [a]listdaily about the film and offers his thoughts on why eSports are so popular in this exclusive interview.
How did your background in gaming help bring Orgrim Doomhammer to the big screen?
It helped me understand the world in which we were living in. I didn’t need anything explained to me. I knew everything before we even started. There were a few times when people would pull me aside and ask who is this guy is or why is this important, and I would know those things. But we were making a film that did deviate from the game lore. When it was written, the game lore began to contradict itself and didn’t lend itself particularly to a great movie story. So we had to adapt a few things. We changed some of the origin [story] of Orgrim, and there’s no Mannoroth or Sedaris yet. So there were slight changes that came about making this film the best film it could possibly be without someone like me standing there going, “Yes, but Orgrim was from the Blackrock Clan, and he should be wearing his armor.” It just became about having a good story in the form of a film.
What are your thoughts on the Warcraft Blu-ray including digital copies of World of Warcraft and a Medivh hero in Hearthstone and Gul’dan hero in Heroes of the Storm?
It’s nice to have an infrastructure that can pull this type of thing together. There was an original idea of giving the base game away up to the last expansion with actual tickets if you bought an IMAX ticket, but they weren’t able to pull that off. The beautiful thing about having an infrastructure that works together with Blizzard, Legendary and Universal is that we can put packages together to reward people that love the game. The thing we struggled with [in] making the movie was getting people who haven’t played the game to come watch it. So it’s only fair that we reward those people that do love the game and did love the movie and do buy the Blu-ray or the DVD, because they’ll get the next movie made.
What are your thoughts about eSports, and how people are competing for real money in games like Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch?
I don’t know if eSports will ever have the same kind of mainstream appeal as actual sports and betting per se, but you also have to look at the personalities involved—whether it’s Jesse Cox, TotalBiscuit or any of these satirical gamers who create an environment that’s really fun to watch these things in. Gaming is very much a large part of everybody’s life now. The generation above me and beforehand grew up playing games. It’s not like something that the kids do these days. It’s going to be a part of everybody’s life forever. My girlfriend is as good a gamer as I am, and since when has that been a common thread? Gaming has been a part of the vernacular now for everybody who grows up, so it’s inevitable that there’s going to become and eSport element of it.
What role has Twitch and YouTube played in connecting you with other gamers?
People are really interested in watching people achieve things that we are unable to achieve ourselves. Ensidia used to make these fantastic videos—that they put up on YouTube—of their first kills that were really well structured and well made. Their first Algernon 25 kill is one of my favorite videos on YouTube that I will watch occasionally to remind myself how great this game is.
ESports encourages multiplayer gaming together, which is something World of Warcraft was built on. What do you think of that connection?
Yeah, I’ve been playing (WoW) with the same thirteen-ish people for a decade. And it’s even [in] things like Overwatch, where you’re on a team of six. When you see these teams come together and play in really smart moves, it’s really cool because you very rarely get coordinated teams on Overwatch. You have to have to set up and play with people that you know.
If eSports was as big back when you were starting, would that have impacted your career trajectory?
No. I don’t think it would have mainly because I’m not good at that kind of thing. These kinds of guys that make a career out of eSports, their personalities are what sells them. And I’m not that guy that can be nice when he’s in a bad mood or be funny when he’s feeling angry. If eSports had been around when I was a kid, I’d just have watched them play like everybody else.