Remember a time before StarCraft meant stadiums full of Asian eSports fans? Since the game was originally released in 1998, it rapidly became one of the most popular online strategy games. Over the first decade, around half of the 9.5 million copies of StarCraft sold were in South Korea, and the game pretty much spawned pro-gaming in the country. So you can imagine the excitement as Blizzard Entertainment reveals StarCraft Remastered.
And unlike some updated games, StarCraft Remastered offers something for existing owners as well as new purchases. Those still playing as the Confederate, Zerg and Protoss characters will be able to take on anyone buying the new version. And those who want to relive the original graphics will apparently be able to download and play it for free once the Remastered version arrives as StarCraft Anthology.
Meanwhile the new version has plenty of reasons to recommend it. Released 12 years after the original, many gamers might have been too young for the original StarCraft, and put off trying it by the 20-year-old graphics. Now they can give it a go with 4K visuals, widescreen support, improved online functionality and remastered audio.
The single player campaign gets new artwork, but this is really about multiplayer. The new version will include “advanced” matchmaking, ladder play, social features and cloud saves for everything – including custom maps and key bindings.
And if that isn’t enough, the Brood War expansion is also getting reworked, and will be available as a free download for the new game.
So if you’re still playing the old game, you’ll get a lot of new opponents to face. If you want to get back into it, you now have better graphics and multiplayer features. And if you’re a StarCraft 2 fan or you’re thinking about jumping into one of the biggest and most famous RTS games of all time, you can give the StarCraft Anthology a try for free, and then purchase StarCraft Remastered if you enjoy it.
As cynical as some gaming updates can be (Anyone thinking Modern Warfare?), it seems that Blizzard have managed to find a sweet spot with StarCraft Remastered which should keep all but the most critical commenters happy. Especially when the core game is going to be released in Summer 2017, so there’s not long to wait.