It appears Blizzard will be paying tribute to the comedian and actor Robin Williams, who died this week, by immortalising him in World of Warcraft. Williams, an avid video game fan who named his daughter after the Nintendo character Princess Zelda, was said to play the game as well as its predecessor Warcraft 3.
Shortly after Williams’ death, Jacob Holgate, a member of the WOW community, petitioned Blizzard on Change.org to add the comedian to WOW as a non-player character. “The loss of Mr. Williams is felt worldwide with a collect intake of disbelief and crushing sadness. Robin Williams was not only an excellent comedian but also a game enthusiast,” Holgate wrote. “Because of his presence within our community, we the players of World of Warcraft are asking Blizzard to kindly create an NPC within the game that memorializes the actor/comedian. Many have expressed a wish for this to character perform some of Williams’ best jokes within the World’s End Tavern, so that he may continue making us smile long after his passing.”
It didn’t take long for the request to be heard – even before the petition had raced to 10,000 signatures. When a fan asked a few WOW developers if they’d seen it on Twitter, technical game designer Chadd Nervig replied: “Yes. We’re taking care of it.”
Later, the official Warcraft account tweeted simply: “@robinwilliams Thank you. You gave us so much joy in our lives, and we hope you enjoyed your time in our world. We’ll see you in-game.”
It’s not quite a firm confirmation yet, although Holgate reports that the petition is a success and that he’s had “assurance from Blizzard employees that our desire for a Robin Williams tribute and or NPC will be handled with great care.”
If Williams is commemorated in World of Warcraft in some form, it won’t be out of place in a game that is stuffed with pop-culture references, zany humour, characters with inspirations both fictional and real, and nods to prominent members of the Blizzard staff and the game’s community.