Blizzard Entertainment: Twenty Years of Awesome
When it comes to the world of entertainment, staying power is hard to achieve. Game studios, publishers, games themselves, voice actors, along with the mainstream media like television shows – they come and go extremely quickly. Just take a look at any fall lineup of a major TV network, and it will likely be very different from what the lineup is at the end of the season. To stick around, you have to stand out and make give great quality with consistancy.
Blizzard is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, which is most definitely quite a feat. Not only the length of time that they’ve been around, but the fact that every single game that they have produced has been an excellent game and done well. Originally starting out making games for the Game Boy and NES, they broke into the limelight with Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.
The Warcraft series has truly become Blizzard’s flagship. While the original game wasn’t the first real-time strategy (RTS) game that was made, it was one that set the bar for how polished it was for the time. The fact that to this day some of the fundamentals that were used in the first game are still used in StarCraft II is a great example of how if you do something right, it will stay around. I’m sure that nobody had the slightest idea of how much the Warcraft series would grow and flourish, along with the other franchises that they have made and will continue to make. Not only does the series have immense popularity, but it has redefined the standards that other games have to live up to – whether a RTS or MMO game. There’s a reason why people want to be the “WoW-killer”, because they want to outdo what Blizzard has accomplished.
The Diablo series broke ground for the adventure genre. Not only was the game a whole lot of fun, but it was incredibly easy to play. There wasn’t the need to spend hours practicing it, in the end it was a simple point-and-click game that almost anyone could pick up and enjoy in a short period of time. The original Diablo also introduced Battle.net, which was one of the first online multiplayer facilities out there. Rather than relying on computer-to-computer TCP/IP games, Blizzard offered their own servers to be available free of charge to bring gamers together in a massive way.
Some might argue that StarCraft is just a re-skin of the Warcraft RTS games, set in a space setting with a different story. If you just look at the straight specs, that is mostly correct. Yet prior to the release of StarCraft II in July 2010, there were competetive leagues still playing the original StarCraft (with expansion) for real life cash around the world. While Warcraft was focused more on WoW in the recent years the development team of StarCraft II were perfecting the RTS part, which is evident by the instant success and praise that the game was given upon release. Not only were the game mechanics well done, but the storyline was one that captivated their audience. After playing through the campaign of SC2, I truly can’t wait to get the next part of it to see what happens next.
There was a chart released not too long ago which is supposedly Blizzard’s release timetable of games for the next few years. If there’s any sort of truth to it, I am extremely excited. This is a company which prides itself on the quality of their games, so there is very little chance of anything less than perfect coming out with their logo stamped on it.