Blizzard fans might have noticed that StarCraft's Tychus Findlay, who's a playable character in Heroes of the Storm, no longer has his signature cigar hanging out the side of his mouth. As Blizzard recently explained in a post to Reddit, the decision to remove the cigar had to do with the game's rating.
Heroes of the Storm is published in multiple regions with a teen rating, so there are a number guidelines Blizzard has to adhere to. There are are regions where Findlay couldn't smoke and keep the teen rating, so Blizzard could either make two versions of the character (smoking and nonsmoking) or just remove the cigar entirely.
"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," a Blizzard developer said. "This mountain of work affects multiple departments and has to be addressed every time we'd adjust Tychus."
Blizzard said that this isn't the first time it had to adjust a Heroes of the Storm character's appearance to accommodate rules in different regions. Any character that has a skeletal or bloody element has to be changed or removed entirely in some regions.
"It is a full time job managing those exceptions, and the less we have to manage, the more time we can spend making more game!" Blizzard said.
Ahead of the game's official launch early next month, Heroes of the Storm has entered open beta, meaning anyone can now freely download and play Blizzard's take on the increasingly popular MOBA genre.