Few video games – whether launched on PC, console or in the arcades – can boast having had the cultural impact of Blizzard’s 1998 sci-fi Real Time Strategy epic StarCraft. Originally conceived as a space-set companion to the company’s already mega-popular WarCraft franchise, the game quickly took on a life of its own; spawning a devoted fanbase and a competitive gaming presence so massive it defines the entire concept of professional eSports in many regions around the world – particularly in South Korea, where StarCraft eSports champs are fetted in the media like niche sports icons and can enjoy lucrative endorsement contracts.
Now, in a surprise announcement made in the early overnight hours of Sunday, March 26th, Blizzard has announced a long-awaited HD upgrade of both the original game and the Brood Wars expansion. Titled StarCraft: Remastered, it will boast new 4K graphics and crisp new sprites but will adhere to the timing and gameplay structures that made the original among the most influential in its genre.
More details are sure to unfold in the near future, but for now fans will have to make do with the epic announcement trailer and a broad release schedule of “Summer” – which, presumably, refers to the Summer of 2017 (though a specific year date it is not officially posted).
The announcement also comes with a synopsis:
StarCraft® Remastered upgrades the essential sci-fi strategy experience from beginning to end. Welcome back to the original game and its award-winning expansion, StarCraft: Brood War.
We’ve remastered our units, buildings, and environments, improved game audio, and broadened our supported resolutions. Illustrated interludes bring the struggles and victories of heroes like Artanis, Fenix, Tassadar, Raynor and Kerrigan to life like never before. Most importantly, the strategy gameplay that StarCraft perfected years ago remains unchanged.
For the uninitiated, StarCraft takes place in the Koprulu Sector of the Milky Way and depicts a four-way struggle for dominion by the Terran, Zerg, Protoss and Xel’Naga alien races in the form of a real-time strategy wargame. While not as well known among mainstream audiences as the WarCraft franchise, the game is enormously popular and fiercely beloved in gaming circles; where it’s complex lore and battlefield tactics have become part of the lexicon for an entire generation of players and its mythos has inspired numerous novelizations, graphic novels and heaps of merchandise. A direct sequel, StarCraft II, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim and a generally favorable reception by fans.
Fans, of course, know exactly what they’re in for with this remaster, and are sure to eagerly anticipate more word from Blizzard.