I was hoping to hear something about this at BlizzCon back in November, but everything takes longer than you think it will, and at Blizzard you have to dial that up by another half again. So while the word first leaked almost a year and a half ago, Blizzard has finally announced the remastered version of StarCraft.
The StarCraft site has the current details. Sort of… And there is a trailer.
The key bullet points for the remaster are:
- Remastered Graphics
- Revised Dialogue and Audio
- Blizzard Friends and Matchmaking
- Classic StarCraft Gameplay
The graphics will be 4K HD, which is quite a step up from the 640×480 the game has run on for the last 19 years. The whole thing will still be 2D perspective, it will just finally look good on your widescreen monitor.
The revised dialog and audio… well, I guess if you are in there and changing stuff, higher quality audio might be something you want to change, but I worry a bit about that one. A lot of StarCraft to me is the way it sounds. If the marines don’t say, “Jacked up and good to go!” it might be an issue for me.
Blizzard “friends” and matchmaking are fine as far as it goes. But the important/traditional aspect of the game, the LAN connection, remains which seems to indicate that it won’t be converted into another Blizzard game that requires and internet connection in order to play. For a stretch back in the day StarCraft was our after hours game at the office thanks to LAN play.
And then there is “classic” StarCraft game play. This is, after all, the game that was an esport before people were talking about esports, the game that pretty much became the national video game of South Korea. So while remastering is good, I do wonder how it will impact game play with more data on screen and the whole “zoom out” view. Part of the challenge of StarCraft was dealing with limited view of the terrain that you were given. If you didn’t have scouts out and your eyes on the mini-map, your foe could surprise you.
The target date for the release of StarCraft Remastered is this summer.
As part of this, the original standard definition version of the game is getting an update and will be free, which certainly implies that the remastered version will cost you something. I wonder what a price tag will do to enthusiasm for the project. Of course, I was happy enough to shell out for Age of Empires II: Age of Kings when the HD remaster of that came out, so maybe that won’t be a barrier.
Of course, the other question that springs to mind is what does this mean for StarCraft II? I haven’t heard anything bad about the successor title aside from the gripe that, in an effort to not screw up a good thing, Blizzard did not stray very far from the original, so that it did not stand out on its own. But at least it had up-to-date graphics and supported modern screen resolutions.
What happens to StarCraft II now that the original is coming back in a remastered format that should “fix” the key barriers to playing it?
And, finally, I wonder where things stand on the other two remaster projects, Warcraft III and Diablo II? The trio being remastered represent the greats of the pre-World of Warcraft era for Blizzard. What happens when they return fit to be played on modern machines?