Some of you may have noticed that a certain popular StarCraft II character in Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm is missing a signature accoutrement. Tychus, the armored space marine, is known for having a stogie dangling out of the side of his mouth, but in Heroes of the Storm it's missing and Blizzard recently explained why.
Over on the Heroes of the Storm sub-Reddit, Blizzard artist Phil Gonzales dropped into the thread where the community was asking for the developer to bring back Tychus' iconic cigar. According to Gonzales, this is a no-go due to discretionary regional ratings and asset management tasks.
According to Gonzales...
Heroes of the Storm is a multi-region game with a teen rating. There are a magnitude of guidelines we have to be aware of. From a development standpoint we prioritize making Heroes and Skins as utilitarian as possible, if a single model can be used in all regions, that's a huge win for development.
Gonzales goes on to explain that in some regions depicting a character smoking ramps up the rating for the game and they're trying to keep Heroes of the Storm rated 'Teen' for all regions.
Of course, the common question most people have is: why not just remove the cigar from some regions and keep the cigar in others?
According to the Blizzard artist this just wasn't doable because of the management logistics involved with making ensure that the cigar matched up properly in Tychus' combat poses, ragdoll animations and his special moves. As mentioned by Gonzales...
Making 2 versions means more data management, multiple duplicates of the asset (if we update an animation, it has to propagate to all versions) such as the the death ragdoll model, The facial animations, his morph into the Odin, and apply that process to every skin as well. This mountain of work affects multiple departments and has to be addressed every time we'd adjust Tychus.
Blizzard opted instead to just remove the cigar instead of trying to keep track of updating two separate models for Tychus in Heroes of the Storm.
One user, in reply to Gonzales' post, actually made a really good point about not adding the cigar to the Tychus 3D in-game model but at least adding the cigar to his portrait. Technically, there's nothing lost if the North American and some European countries at least allow for Tychus to keep the cigar in his portrait, even if it doesn't show up on his 3D model.
As you can imagine, most Blizzard fans are sorely disappointed that the cigar was removed; tiny as it may have been, many felt that the cigar added a lot of character to Tychus and recognizing his storied history in the StarCraft universe.
I suspect as Heroes of the Storm grows in popularity it won't be surprising that we'll soon see modded portraits of Tychus popping up with his face chewing on that stogie while spitting out a grin.
Heroes of the Storm is available right now for PC and it's free-to-play so there's nothing to lose with giving it a trial run.