Hearthstone has been one of Blizzard‘s biggest games since it launched in 2014. The digital card battler for PC and mobile helped to popularize an entire genre, attracting competitors like The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Gwent, and Artifact. But somehow, it has never had its own CG animated short — something its other games have. Until today.
But today, Blizzard unveiled Hearthstone’s first CG cinematic during the Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany. The video shows a stylized, more cartoony take on the Warcraft aesthetic and gives the Innkeeper, that warm dwarven voice that welcomes you every time you start the game, an on-screen presence.
These Blizzard animations usually help to promote a new game or some kind of major content addition. But Hearthstone’s new expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, is already out. And this short has nothing to do with it. Instead, it’s sort of just a fun celebration of the game … albeit an expensive one. But it is still advertising, and maybe that fancy song can bring more players to the tavern.
Blizzard and CG have a long history. The studio has long made memorable animations for just about all of its games, including World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, and Overwatch. But Hearthstone has had to settle for quainter shorts, focusing on still (or barely animated) 2D images.
It also bursts into a gigantic musical number, which is good news for anyone who’s missed the songs that used to come when Blizzard revealed new expansions.