In a surprising twist during BlizzCon’s opening ceremony, Blizzard Entertainment, now a part of the Microsoft family, showcased a cinematic reel that celebrated its current game lineup, but notably omitted one of its most seminal franchises, StarCraft. The event, which highlighted popular titles like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and the newly announced Warcraft Rumble, left fans and industry observers questioning the future of the StarCraft series.
Phil Spencer, a key figure from Microsoft, acknowledged the significant legacy of StarCraft during the event. He lauded the franchise for laying the foundation of modern esports and cited StarCraft 2 as a major catalyst in the evolution of games as live entertainment. This recognition served as a stark contrast to the game’s absence in the ceremony’s main highlights.
Blizzard’s shift in focus away from StarCraft was further underscored by the company’s decision to halt development on StarCraft 2 after a decade of support. This move has led to speculation about Blizzard’s commitment to the series, which once stood as a pillar of its success.
In a recent Bloomberg interview, Blizzard President Mike Ybarra offered a glimmer of hope for StarCraft enthusiasts. He hinted at the possibility of the franchise making a comeback, albeit with a caveat. Ybarra stressed that any future StarCraft project would not necessarily be an RTS game and would depend on a team with a clear vision and passion for the series.
This approach reflects Blizzard’s evolving strategy in game development. The company has successfully transformed its Warcraft series from its RTS roots into various other genres, including the card game Hearthstone and the massively popular MMO World of Warcraft. Warcraft Rumble, a mobile game, is the latest addition to this diversifying approach. This strategy might hint at a similar path for StarCraft.
However, the potential shift away from StarCraft’s RTS origins has raised concerns among fans, especially given the current resurgence in the RTS genre. Revivals of classic series like Homeworld and Sins of a Solar Empire, along with the development of Stormgate by former Blizzard employees, touted as a spiritual successor to StarCraft, highlight the renewed interest in this genre.
As Blizzard navigates its future in a rapidly evolving gaming landscape, the fate of StarCraft remains uncertain. Whether it returns as an RTS or in a new form, the legacy of StarCraft continues to loom large in the gaming community, and its absence at BlizzCon was felt deeply by fans worldwide.