Blizzard vet Chris Metzen returns to World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft veteran Chris Metzen is returning to work on the MMORPG's leadership team after retiring in 2016 due to burning out on Titan

Chris Metzen returns to World of Warcraft: Orc Thrall gasps as Jaina looks on in an old cinematic cutscene from World of Warcraft

Chris Metzen will be returning to World of Warcraft to take on a role on the MMORPG’s leadership team, Blizzard has announced. Metzen, who started with Blizzard as an artist in 1994 and spent 23 years with the company before retiring in 2016, will work as a ‘creative advisor’ on World of Warcraft, with plans to expand his role to other games in the future.

Warcraft general manager John Hight announced Metzen’s return. “Chris was one of the original team members working on the Warcraft universe back when it began in 1994, and we are so happy to be reuniting him with the world he helped create,” Hight wrote in a brief statement.

Metzen originally joined Blizzard in 1994 to work as an artist on Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, taking on story design responsibilities for the sequel, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. He’s contributed voice acting to numerous games in both the Warcraft and Starcraft series, and was creative director for Overwatch during its development.

He’s also one of Blizzard’s most well-known personalities, and is credited with establishing and maintaining the company’s culture and vision over his more than two decades there.

Metzen retired from Blizzard, along with several other senior developers, shortly after the launch of World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion in 2016. He later explained in interviews that he had “burned out hard” in the years leading up to the cancellation of Titan, another MMORPG Blizzard had been developing.

“Chris’s focus initially will be on World of Warcraft, then his work will expand to other projects across this growing franchise,” Hight wrote.