Jump to content

The Starting Zone Interview with Terran Gregory

Recommended Posts


The Starting Zone Podcast recently interviewed Terran Gregory (In-game Cinematic Director for World of Warcraft). Learn more about how he entered the game industry and what it's like to create cinematics for the game!

Click here to listen to the full interview


  • His parents were mega geeks that named him Terran based on science fiction novels.
  • He grew up in a house full of classic consoles (Odyssey 2, Atari 2600).
  • A guy named Craig introduced Terran to Blizzard games at the age of 13 with a floppy disc of Warcraft Orcs & Humans.
  •  His dad picked up Warcraft II before he was even aware of it.
  • For his 16th birthday, he got Diablo I and Quake I and the games changed his life. Diablo I made him a gremlin gamer.
  • Diablo I was the first game released on the DirectX platform.
  • In the early days, Terran wasn't as much into the story of the games, it was all about smashing the opponents.
  • As he grew older, he played Dungeons & Dragons and with the release of Warcraft III, Blizzard started to add narrative to the game.
  • CGi had a massive upturn in just three years; Warcraft III cinematics looked otherworldly compared to those of Starcraft I.
  • His friend Ezra Ferguson told Terran they should make videos for a middle school assignment with an ancient camera and they never stopped.
  • The first stories were awful, Terran remembers one of his early classics about a ninja who goes on a revenge scheme, because a mafia boss broke in and ate his cat litter.
  • Movies like Back to the Future and Lord or the Rings were inspirational. It was at that time, when fantasy became more mainstream, not just for geeks.
  • The camera world needs to live in the world as well. If you are in a fantasy setting and the way you shoot it feels too modern, it causes conceptual dissonance. You don't want to be too modern there.
  • Ezra approached Terran in 2005 back when they were both working for Atari Tech Support with the idea to create a WoW Machinima for a BlizzCon movie contest. 17 days later, they uploaded Return.
  • Experience in Tech Support taught them many things. They were able to use a Dual Shock controller to control the camera in the game and the sweeping cameras looked really different.
  • Characters used in Return were heavily inspired by their past roleplaying experience.
  • They got an email from Blizzard and tickets to BlizzCon.
  • While they were at BlizzCon, he met the Lead Producer at that time on World of Warcraft and his future supervisor that would hire him. While they were there, they got an email about their movie being accepted into the Machinima Movie Festival in New York. They ended up flying to New York just a few weeks later.
  • The Return 2 trailer was their vehicle to demonstrate their skills and it was released right before E3 2006.
  • Shadows of Necropolis was a testament to bringing more narrative to video gameplay trailers.
  • Terran then became the script for his next project - The Black Temple trailer. Russell Brower wrote all the music for Black Temple, so it felt natural to use those stems in the trailer.
  • Wrathgate set a new standard for in-game trailers in World of Warcraft and the team always seeks the best process to tell the story, but as you can imagine, this is a never-ending process.
  • Alex Afrasiabi is the Creative Director for World of Warcraft and he worked closely with Metzen. After Metzen's departure, he's doing his job really well. Working with him has always been a joy, because he has been a unrelenting fan of the in-game cinematics ever since that first Black Temple trailer.
  • Christie Golden has joined the team recently and he's been working with her on the latest Legion epilogue in-game cinematics.
  • Creating in-game cinematics is a collective work, Alex visits the team and they discuss whatever they're working on.
  • The fidelity of in-game cinematics has been increasing since Warlords. The cinematics team does not want to be a drag for other teams and ask them to create and / or reinvent assets and most of the time, they use assets already created by the Art team.
  • Legion in-game cinematics have set the standards for in-game cinematcis quite high and with the Antorus trailer, they didn't want to disappoint players. The Sargeras trailer was one of the most technologically advanced trailers ever created for World of Warcraft.
  • Terran started being active on Twitter recently. He hasn't been using social media before 2014.
  • As an Alliance player, it was hard for Terran to craft the cinematic of Varian's downfall.
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan
      With the introduction of mount equipment in Rise of Azshara, Water Striders will lose their innate passive ability to walk on water. What exactly does that entail?
      If you haven't been following the official Patch 8.2 content preview, each mount is getting an equipment slot in Patch 8.2 which grants the mount perks, such as water walking, parachute, and daze prevention.
      The item which grants water walking is called Inflatable Mount Shoes. As a result, all Water Striders will lose their innate ability to walk on water, but Blizzard will be mailing Inflatable Mount Shoes to every player who unlocked the mount through the Anglers reputation. Additional Inflatable Mount Shoes should be affordable on the Anglers vendor for 40 Gold right now.
      Death Knights (Path of Frost) and Shamans (Water Walking) both have water walking, so they don't need the item at all.
      They're comparing Water Striders to Sky Golem's innate herbing passive, and some ask the Water Strider's ability to be designed in a way to ignore mount equipment, but the Engineering mount won't be losing its passive, because it's apparently not as powerful as water walking itself.
      Water Striders will no longer be able to walk on water in Patch 8.2. The water walking ability is transferred to an item which can be applied to mounts of your choice, resulting in more variety. If you earned a Water Strider and farmed the Anglers rep, the item will be mailed to you at no charge. Additional items can be purchased from the Anglers vendor. What's your opinion about Water Striders in general? Do you think they should keep their ability to walk on water, or do you not mind the nerf at all? Let us know in the comments!
      Blizzard (Source)
      Yeah, but now you’d have the ability to use a mount, besides the Water Strider. I dunno about you, but being stuck using only one mount forever sounds absolutely boring as hell
      That’s one of the goals here. There are a lot of mounts out there and it’s strange to have a “wrong choice” when out running around. You’ll easily be able to keep the ability just as you have it now but there will be other options that you (the player) can make if you prefer something else. How you about the world, where you often go, and how fast you like to escape from things could all contribute to what works best for your playstyle.
      There are a few extra notes so like Death Knights can do waterwalking via Path of Frost (and Shaman with Water Walking). That should help empower these classes a bit and help make them feel a bit more unique.
      I’m not sure what the price of the waterwalking shoes will be offhand, but it should be pretty affordable on the Anglers vendor. We’ll have the PTR up soon™ and look forward to hearing your feedback on that.
      Would it be possible to have the water strider be like the sky golem. It can have innate water walking but is not effected by mount equipment?
      I will check but my personal opinion from my play experience is that the water strider ability is just much stronger than the sky golem herbing. We nerfed the water strider once and if we leave it with the ability there then it’s more in the line of getting everything and less of making a choice for what you want. We want there to be a choice based on your play and interests. If herbing on the run provides too strong of a benefit then there might need to be changes there but currently I don’t think that’s the case.
      Brave soul.
      I commend you for stepping into this thread on the Monday evening preceding the drop of 8.2 on the PTR. However, this price you speak of not knowing offhand is what will be a determining factor in many players decisions. Personally, I’ve stuck by/accepted/dealt with the changes made over the years to keep the gameplay from just becoming a static habit. But having spent my money and time acquiring the rep required to gain the reward, only to have it removed and then require it to be re-purchased…no. That’s the line. I’m sorry to sound like I’m giving an ultimatum because it’s not. It’s a decision made based on honor, or the lack thereof.
      EDIT - and to be perfectly fair, yes, I agree and have so for many years that Blizzard has the right to change content at their discretion at any time. But this is one of those times I won’t be agreeing with it.
      Just something I’d like to get your perspective on, if the character who earned the Anglers reputation along with the mount gets the water walking item for free, what would a fair price be for the alts to get it? If that character who earned the reputation and mount has the option to water walk (but might choose something else), do you feel that alts should have every single thing that the other characters have?
      Also, just out of curiosity, how often would you estimate that you have you used the water strider mount in the 6+ years it’s been available?
      Thanks folks for chatting!
    • By Stan
      Recently, Blizzard's CDN (Content Delivery Network) has been updated with a new Classic Beta build and according to Blizzard, they've begun a phase of internal employee alpha testing and have no announcements to make right now regarding Beta.
      The only thing we know about WoW Classic right now is that Blizzard employees have begun internal testing. The game, scheduled for release later this summer, is currently still in Alpha and it does not look like they're planning to announce Beta testing any time soon, leaving the company with less than 4 months of testing prior to release, granted that Classic won't be delayed.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Hey folks! I’ve got a small update here to help quell some of the rumors and let you know where we are at for WoW Classic. We recently began a phase of internal employee alpha testing. The new build data that many of you have been discussing over the last few days is simply part of this process. Phases like this allow us to test out the game content along with other functionality that will be used in the live game, like logging in through the Blizzard Battle.net App.
      Aside from that, we don’t have any announcements to make at this time. I know all of you are very excited about this game and we thank you for your patience as we continue to develop it. More information will be coming soon!
    • By Stan
      The maximum item level of world quest and emissary rewards is going up next week with opening of Mythic Crucible on April 23.
      World quests will now reward gear up to item level 370, emissaries up to item level 395, and Azerite Armor from emissaries will be increased to item level 400. Rewards from the "Against Overwhelming Odds" (PvP world quest) will be up to item level 395. The change should be live after the weekly scheduled maintenance in your region.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Raid Finder (and Mythic) difficulty for Crucible of Storms will open next week, April 23. Similar to Battle of Dazar’alor, you will need an average item level of 350 to queue for it. To help ensure players get raid ready, we are increasing the maximum item level for certain World Quests rewards. This will include the following:
      World Quest rewards will go up to ilvl 370 (from 360) Emissary equipment will go up to ilvl 395 (from 385) Emissary Azerite Armor will go up to ilvl 400 (from 385) Against Overwhelming Odds (when available) will go up to ilvl 395 (from 385) Once the update is live it will affect active rewards like the Emissaries, so you may want to plan for when you will turn those in.
    • By Stan
      It seems Alliance players will finally be able to get their hands on Bee mounts come Rise of Azshara.
      Patch 8.2 datamining revealed four new factions that may be related to Bee mounts datamined back in Patch 8.0.1. The new entries include:
      Hivemother Drone Queen Honey Bee While we don't have any additional details to share at this time, it seems the Alliance is one step closer to receiving their Bee mounts, teased back at last year's BlizzCon. Maybe it's time to start looking for new secrets in Stormsong Valley when Patch 8.2 goes live.
      PH Bee Mount

      PH Bee Mount (Black)

      PH Bee Mount (Red)

      Fly Animation

    • By Stan
      Zandalari Moonkins and Raptors were missing their dance animations when they were first implemented in Patch 8.1.5 and in Rise of Azshara, Blizzard added both. Check them out!
  • Create New...