Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is a massive step in the right direction for fans who want to see more from the StarCraft series.
StarCraft is one of Blizzard’s quintessential IPs, along with WarCraft, Diablo, and Overwatch. While players for those other games might complain of a content drought, it’s been absolutely barren for StarCraft fans for over half a decade.
That’s why Microsoft’s acquisition can only be a good thing — since the company actually knows what to do with an RTS.
StarCraft: From glory to backburner
The original StarCraft and its expansion Brood War were some of the most popular games of their generation after coming out in 1998. It would be another 12 years before we got StarCraft 2 in 2010.
Though not as popular as its predecessor, the sequel was popular as well and spawned multiple expansions (Heart of the Swarm & Legacy of the Void).
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That being said though, 12 years on from SC 2’s release in 2010, and we haven’t heard a peep about the franchise from Blizzard in some time. Of course, the massive scandals hitting Activision Blizzard haven’t helped the probability of a new game, but even before that, any fan could tell you StarCraft definitely seemed to be an afterthought.
Microsoft buying out Activision Blizzard, and as a result all of their IPs, should give StarCraft fans hope though. The company has shown they know how to handle RTS titles, and they have a much better track record doing so compared to Blizzard in recent memory.
Microsoft could breathe new life into StarCraft
Take, for example, the disaster that was and is WarCraft 3: Reforged, and compare it to Microsoft’s recent RTS release Age of Empires 4. Reforged was blasted by fans on release, and players still prefer to use the old version from more than 20 years ago if they can, rather than suffer through the disaster that is Reforged.
AoE 4 on the other hand, while not perfect, is both a fantastic homage to past games in the series and an entertaining RTS that’s been well-received since it came out in 2021.
Produced by Xbox Games Studios, AoE 4 shows that the appetite for a good real-time strategy game definitely still exists. Under Microsoft, Blizzard could finally have the resources to produce a high-quality RTS title instead of a blatant cash grab capitalizing on player nostalgia, which seems to have become the studio’s specialty in recent years.
Microsoft won’t acquire Activision Blizzard until the deal goes through in 2023, so we could have a few more years to wait for anything to happen with StarCraft. However, given the success of AoE 4, Microsoft just might be how this RTS titan gets back on its feet.