Starcraft, the game Blizzard has been patching for the past 10 years, is finally getting a complete overhaul.
StarCraft: Remastered will include a complete 4K Ultra HD graphical overhaul, but preserve key game balance, a feature specifically highlighted by Blizzard and even tested by professional players Flash, Jaedong, Stork, and Bisu. This new edition will also be free to play.
The game will include over fifty single player missions and new illustrations to enhance the original storyline. Moreover, the release will include a better matchmaking system, observer modes and anti-cheat – all the elements required to effectively revitalise it as an esports title.
This is what the developers had to say about the features: “We knew instinctively not to mess with a game regarded so highly for its balance. We haven’t made any changes to gameplay. One fact that we want to share about the development process is that we interviewed key people in the community extensively about these types of issues, before jumping into full development. Our goal was to gain understanding on what sorts of improvements would be welcome, and which aspects of the game we should not try to change.
They continued: “Those whose feedback we consulted included current and former Brood War pros, casters, modders/developers, and esports operations staff. Based on this feedback, we feel confident about the direction we took, and now that the project is public, we can open up that feedback to the broader community.
“The features we’ve added are based on popular add-ons the community has adopted over the years and don’t directly affect gameplay: keybinds, APM meter, auto-saving replays, and others outside the game for matchmaking and similar functions.”
StarCraft was originally released on March 31, 1998. The science fiction strategy received a good reception and won numerous awards, including being labelled “the best real-time strategy game ever made” and being ranked the seventh best game of all time by IGN in both 2003 and 2005. The expansion pack StarCraft: Brood War was released later that year and cemented the game’s status as one of the most popular multiplayer strategy games.
With the introduction of match-making system Battle.Net, Blizzard essentially created the first true esports title – the game offered near unlimited strategic potential.
The game became huge in Korea. Blizzard CEO and Co-founder Mike Morhaime noted: “At its peak, in Korea, where Esports grew and led the world, there were three cable channels broadcasting StarCraft 24/7. Today StarCraft: Brood War, the original version of StarCraft, is still one of the most popular, most played games in Korea. It was a huge wake-up call to us, just how much interest there was globally in playing Blizzard games.”
In 2007, Blizzard released Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty, which sold 1.5 million copies in its first two days and 3 million copies in its first month. After two major add-ons, the game still boasts many tournaments and events, both online and offline, and remains one of the few pillars of Real Time Strategy in the esports scene which is dominated by First Person Shooters and MOBAs.
Esports Insider says: This remastered edition will definitely invoke nostalgia in long-time fans and refresh the old classic for multiplayer, but there is little evidence to suggest the rebirth of the Starcraft franchise as a major esports discipline.