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Blizzard Art Director Who Invented The Name Warcraft Retires After 32 Years

Samwise Didier was responsible for Blizzard's distinctive in-house art style.


Blizzard senior art director Samwise Didier, who joined the company in 1991 while it was still called Silicon and Synapse and would define the studio's art style, has retired after 32 years.

Didier's contributions to Blizzard were numerous. For starters, he came up with the name Warcraft, which came from his Dungeons and Dragons character at the time and was a riff on the word witchcraft. He served as an art director on Blizzard's major franchises from the very beginning, helping to create the developer's signature art style, a style that would look right at home on the cover of a heavy metal album. He created Warcraft's Pandaren race, served as a producer on numerous Blizzard titles, and has lent his voice, music, and storytelling skills to numerous Blizzard games over the years.

"Blizzard was never just a job for me," Didier said in a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter). I joined the company in 1991 and it immediately became my second home. I found out I had a family that I didn't even know I had! I grew up there. I learned almost everything I know about art there. I learned how to use a computer (I only knew Atari 2600 and Nintendo), I learned how to use Photoshop, I learned how to create UI and make thousands of buttons. I learned how to create 3D models of my art, how to texture and animate them, and even make them shoot fireballs or lasers. I got to see my art come to life! Hell, I even joined my first band at Blizzard. And to top it all off, I got to work on some of the greatest games this here ol' world has ever known. Thank you Blizzard, for everything."

Employees at Blizzard, some of whom Didier had worked alongside for decades, took to X to comment on his retirement. Blizzard veteran Chris Metzen, who recently rejoined Blizzard full time as an executive creative director for Warcraft, called Didier his "creative big brother."

"Thank you for everything you taught me--and all the adventures (both real and imagined) we've shared over the years," Metzen said. "You are the mighty heart of the Storm. Always were. Always will be."

Blizzard president Mike Ybarra thanked Didier for his contributions to the studio over the years.

"Thank you so much for everything you've done for Blizzard, Sammy!" Ybarra said on X. "Your talent helped build Blizzard's signature art style, and I know many of our artists have learned so much from you over the years. Thanks for what you did for them, and for gamers and artists everywhere. Congrats on your retirement!"

World of Warcraft cinematic narrative director Terran Gregory paid tribute to Didier as well, thanking him on X for being "so awesome and kind to me, even when I was brand new to the company."

"You have always been an inspiration to me and countless others," Gregory said. "May your next adventure be nothing short of righteous."

Didier did leave "the mighty Blizzard Entertainment" with some words of advice in his retirement post.

"Blizzard family, always draw big shoulder pads," he said.

Though the man who helped define the look of Blizzard games like Diablo, Starcraft, and WoW has retired, Blizzard isn't slowing down. At BlizzCon 2023, Blizzard announced three WoW expansions all at once, in addition to Diablo IV's first expansion, Vessel of Hatred.

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