We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Some classic Runescape quests won’t make it into OSRS, and here’s why

As OSRS continues to bring back some of Runescape's older, iconic questlines, this doesn't mean we'll see them all return as one for ones.

A polygon-style character wearing a Viking hat stands ready in front of a group of fighters in a green background.

Some classic videogame quests are just iconic, and Runescape’s Defender of Varrock is one of them, heralding the invasion of  Zemouregal’s undead army and kicking off a whole new chapter. Having arrived in Old School Runescape on Wednesday, February 21, we caught up with senior narrative designer Ed Pilkington to chat about remastering a legendary moment in Runescape’s history, how the team goes about choosing which quests to add to OSRS, and how much they’re altered.

After all, despite initially keeping things as close to the base game as possible, some Old School Runescape quests need a bit of a rejig. Whether they no longer fit the ‘vibe’ that the team’s going for or are a little clunky because of their age, some classic Runescape sagas will inevitably get left on the cutting room floor.

Defender of Varrock is a first, however. While it’s the third quest that has been backported into the spinoff MMORPG, it’s the first ever one that the team has actively remade, which Pilkington tells me sparked “some worries.”

YouTube Thumbnail

“Going in we knew changes would need to be made, but the key thing for us was that the quest needed to still be immediately recognizable as Defender of Varrock,” he tells PCGamesN in our exclusive interview. That’s pretty much where a lot of the decisions came from.

“If we felt any change was taking us too far from the core of what the quest was, we didn’t move forward with it. Instead, we tried to focus on making this the best possible version of Defender of Varrock.”

A player character holding a green staff wearing robes stands in front of a huge black plinth with blue inlays, speaking to a grim reaper style character

While DoV has made its return, the finale of the Mahjarrat saga, Ritual of the Mahjarrat, will not. “For some quests, the original was so good that we’d very much want to stick to it as close as possible,” he tells me. “For others, we have the benefit of hindsight in that we can see where things didn’t work, and we can take the opportunity to improve.

“Some quests make for perfect fits in Old School, others have potential but need changes to properly fit, while some just aren’t really suitable. For example, some won’t return because we’ve decided to take that storyline in a different direction. A great example of this is the Mahjarrat storyline.

“While we have plans for the return of many iconic quests, like Defender of Varrock, we’ve already confirmed that the original Mahjarrat finale, Ritual of the Mahjarrat, won’t be returning as there are some story elements in Old School that it wouldn’t work with. Instead, Old School will get a new unique finale when that storyline comes to an end.”

YouTube Thumbnail

“The main thing is making sure we’re clear in our intentions, so people know what to expect, ” he says, concluding “if we say we’re bringing back an iconic quest, people rightly expect it to still be recognizable. If our intention is to do something new, we should make that clear from the start and make sure the community agrees with that direction.”

As someone who has played OSRS and a lot of WoW Classic, it’s understandable. Outdated technologies mean that some things just won’t work, while it can be hard to juggle the old with the new narrative-wise. OSRS remains so exciting because the team isn’t afraid to take risks, and I can’t wait to see how Old School Runescape’s version of the iconic finale of the Mahjarrat saga plays out.

If you’ve already completed Defender of Varrock and are looking for something to kill time until the next battle begins, we have a list of the best free MMORPGs. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more fantastical, we have a rundown of all the best fantasy games to help you out.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.