It’s been 18 years since StarCraft released and blew away gaming records worldwide. Since then, StarCraft has remained one of the most successful video game franchises in history, spawning sequels, novels, live action plays, and might well be considered the first true eSport ever.
But while the original StarCraft itself is still a fantastic game, it hasn’t aged well; the graphics run in an unchangeable 640 x 480 resolution which stretches grotesquely on modern monitors, the UI is quite clunky by modern standards, and it’s just not optimized for modern systems and peripherals — even as many continue to play it.
Now, according to a report from Ars Technica, there may be hope after all for replaying the original StarCraft in modern graphical glory, as Korean news outlet iNews24 has indicated that multiple sources familiar with internal Blizzard news have informed them that Blizzard is planning to release a full HD remaster of StarCraft, which they are intending to announce officially in September this year.
Details are still thin on the ground, but the Korean outlet stated that, loosely translated, multiple sources were confident that the StarCraft HD remaster was in the works, and there’s some evidence to back this up; Blizzard’s own job postings from late 2015 suggested that they were intending to remaster all three of their most iconic games (at least, from a perspective of online play), with IGN reporting that Blizzard was on the hunt for a “Senior Software Engineer, Classic Games” to help restore StarCraft, Diablo II, and WarCraft III and update them for modern play.
“Compelling stories. Intense multiplayer. Endless replayability. Qualities that made StarCraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo II the titans of their day. Evolving operating systems, hardware, and online services have made them more difficult to be experienced by their loyal followers or reaching a new generation.
“We’re restoring them to glory, and we need your engineering talents, your passion, and your ability to get tough jobs done.”
They added that the ideal candidate would “make gameplay first again on modern operating systems” and improve multiplayer through “combat hacking.”
So it’s not difficult to credit rumors that StarCraft HD is nearing announcement; Blizzard already all but announced the games, although they do have a history of canceling projects that don’t live up to their standards.
StarCraft itself has an interesting development history. The game began development in 1995 and was first revealed in 1996, using a modified WarCraft II engine — which itself had just been released in 1995.
It could have ended up a mediocre reskin of WarCraft II, but at some point, the development team decided that they could do better, and we ended up with the iconic strategy game that everyone knows today.
Of course, it would be pretty cool to play that development version, too. We can but dream.
The decision to release an entirely new kind of strategy game speaks for itself. Nearly 20 years later, StarCraft is still one of the top 10 games in Korea, where it saw an almost fanatical following after release.
As for the StarCraft HD remake, it’s unknown if it will feature 2D or 3D graphics; our bet is on 3D, as it would make sense to use the StarCraft II engine, but Blizzard may not want to reinvent the classic. What is known is that an improved UI is in the cards, which is frankly something of a relief, given how difficult the original’s unit selection limit made moving large armies.
So while the rumors are unconfirmed and details are still minimal, we can say with a fair bit of confidence that StarCraft HD is on the way.
[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]