Old Soldier is a cinematic that serves as a prologue to the Battle for Lordaeron, focusing on Varok Saurfang and his apprehension towards the war to come. It takes place right before the Battle for Azeroth opening cinematic. Old Soldier was released at ChinaJoy 2018 on August 2nd, 2018.
- The fires of war rage across Azeroth, but legendary Horde warrior Varok Saurfang wants no part in the fighting. After a lifetime spent on the front lines, he has outlived most of those closest to him, even his own son. On the eve of a battle that will determine the Horde’s fate, the old soldier must choose whether to finally lay down his axe for good.
- War has a way of wearing down the most weathered soldiers. For legendary Horde warrior Varok Saurfang, this one could very well be his last.
- It is the night before the Alliance sieges the Undercity. Varok Saurfang is haunted by memories of the death of his son and of the Burning of Teldrassil. He overlooks Tirisfal Glades from the Ruins of Lordaeron, gazing towards the Alliance armies on the horizon. Zekhan approaches, then removes his mask and salutes Saurfang respectfully.
- Zekhan: Oh... Lord Saurfang.
- Zekhan rekindles a nearby pyre with elemental magic, then looks towards the Alliance armies as well. Saurfang begins removing one of his shoulderpads.
- Zekhan: How many, do you think?
- Varok Saurfang: Too many.
- Saurfang has a flashback of the Burning of Teldrassil. Sylvanas watches as the tree burns, but Varok approaches and angrily confronts her.
- Varok Saurfang: There is no honor in this! They will come for us now! All of them!
- The flashback ends as Varok begins removing his gorget.
- Zekhan: My father, Hekazi. He fought with you in the Third War. He told me stories... How you could cut down ten enemies with a single blow. This be my first battle. What should I do?
- Varok Saurfang: Don't die.
- Zekhan: Yes, of course, but... If I do fall, may it be with honor in glorious combat.
- Saurfang angrily throws his remaining shoulderpad at Zekhan's feet.
- Varok Saurfang: There will be no glory today.
- Saurfang approaches the pyre, removing a necklace from his person and placing it within the pyre.
- Varok Saurfang: Only pain.
- Saurfang has another flashback. He kneels in the snow, holding the lifeless body of a fallen orc in his arms. The orc wears the same necklace as before.
- Varok Saurfang: You have earned your warrior's death... my son. Yet once again, I am denied it.
- Saurfang gives an anguished cry as the flashback ends. He takes nearby ashes from the pyre and places them upon his face.
- Zekhan: What are you doing?
- Varok Saurfang: Claiming what is mine.
- Wielding a torch, Saurfang begins to approach the Alliance army, intent on being granted his honorable death. Zekhan follows after him.
- Varok Saurfang: Go back.
- Zekhan ignores him, beginning to remove his own shoulderpads in a similar fashion. Varok pushes the troll back towards the Undercity.
- Varok Saurfang: I said go back! Live another day. Go back to your father.
- Zekhan: I can't. He's dead. The Horde... It's all we have.
- Saurfang pauses, then approaches Zekhan angrily, throwing his torch to the ground.
- Varok Saurfang: So... You know me? Is that it? What I've seen? What I've done?
- Saurfang pushes Zekhan to the ground.
- Varok Saurfang: Oh, give up, boy.
- Zekhan: Like you?
- Saurfang angrily grabs Zekhan by his vestments, but the sound of a war horn interrupts him. As dawn begins to break, a Horde banner is flown over the battlements of Lordaeron. Zekhan offers Varok the necklace he'd discarded, and Saurfang stares at it wistfully.
- Zekhan: Live... another day.
- His hope renewed, Saurfang gazes towards the approaching Alliance army, then back at Zekhan.
- Varok Saurfang: Without armor?
- As the Alliance begins their assault on Lordaeron, Saurfang and Zekhan rush back towards the battlements; and as Varok faces the approaching armies, he raises his axe and gives a triumphant war cry.
- Directed by Marc Messenger
- Written by Matt Burns and Marc Messenger
- Art directed by Chris Thunig
- Music by Neal Acree
- Produced by Tony Cosanella
- CG Supervisor: Mike Kelleher
- Animation Supervisor: Ricardo Biriba
- Animation Lead: Peter Starostin
- Digimatte Lead: Fabio Barretta Zungrone
- Lighting Lead: Jason Fleming
- Animators: Ronny Kim
- Models: Chung Kan
- Saurfang voiced by Andrew Morgado
- Zekhan voiced by Valence Thomas
- Zekhan first appeared in the Battle for Azeroth opening cinematic, where he was referred to as "Zappy Boi" by the fanbase for a lack of name.
- In response to fan speculation that Old Soldiers was made or released in response to player controversy surrounding the release of Warbringers: Sylvanas three days prior, Ythisens stated that Blizzard had planned for Old Soldiers to debut at Chinajoy months before, long before Warbringers was even announced. The cinematic was in fact being created before even the unveiling of the Battle for Azeroth opening cinematic.
- Old Soldier received 1.3 million views within the first 12 hours after its release, and 2.5 million views after 24 hours.
- ^ Caden House on Twitter
- ^ Watch the New Cinematic: “Old Soldier”
- ^ Cinematic: “Old Soldier” on the World of Warcraft YouTube channel
- ^ Matt Burns on Twitter
- ^ Terran Gregory on Twitter
- ^ Terran Gregory on Twitter
- ^ a b c d David Luong on Facebook
- ^ Neal Acree on Twitter
- ^ a b c Ronny Kim on Instagram
- ^ David Luong on Facebook
- ^ Chung Kan on ArtStation
- ^ a b Andrea Toyias on Twitter
- ^ Caden House 2018-08-03. Anyone think they released "Old Soldier" earlier than planned? - World of Warcraft Forums. Retrieved on 2018-08-04. “We had planned for it to be debuted at Chinajoy months ago (hence why it was late at night in the US), long before you guys ever knew Warbringers were even a thing. ;)”
- ^ a b Caden House 2018-08-03. Blizzard, be honest with us... - World of Warcraft Forums. Retrieved on 2018-08-04. “So for a serious answer, no. I don't think anyone expected the Zappi Boi thing. In fact when we told people that Zappi Boi posts were the new hotness right after the announcement they were a little confused, "Zappi what?, really?, alright then why not?" I believe was the first response. Nobody expected him to be named that's for sure. This game has had so many weird memed things before we even used "meme" as a word in this way, so nobody didn't not get it at least. As for the timeline, yes the Saurfang cinematic was being created before you guys ever saw the Battle for Lordaeron cinematic, so we truly had no way to predict it. Just luck? If you want to call it that.”
- ^ George Krstic on Twitter
- ^ Neal Acree on Twitter