Why Blizzard Didn't Change StarCraft II Multiplayer

Posted on September 9, 2010

Last week I had a chance to speak with Blizzard lead designer Dustin Browder about the process behind creating StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. During our discussion of the game’s multiplayer, I felt like I had to ask him to address one of the few complaints I’ve heard about the game — that the multiplayer is too similar to the first game.

I started by asking Browder if he felt like Blizzard even had a choice in changing StarCraft II’s multiplayer, given the original’s long-lasting popularity as a competitive game. According to him, they did:

“I don’t know that we ever felt like we couldn’t do something new if we really wanted to. It was more a question of what did we want to do, and we felt like there was more we could do in this space, that there was more opportunity for us to improve on what had already been done.”

What about more recent RTS games that have tried mixing up the formula? Browder said that these experiments need not change Blizzard’s design philosophy, because they haven’t been nearly so successful. In his words:

“I don’t want to seem nasty here, but the question is, how great have those successful ‘experiments’ from other developers been? I haven’t really seen another gameplay experience that’s attracted millions of players with hundreds of thousands playing online. I haven’t seen that. So the idea that these other experiments have been successful, and therefore we must emulate them? I object, sir. I object strenuously. I have not seen someone else be successful by removing economy. I have not seen other RTSes be successful by removing micro.

“What a lot of other games have done is they’ll pull the camera back and say, ‘Look, it’s all economy now.’ Or they’ll push the camera in and say, ‘It’s all micro; economy’s dead.’ And they’ll say, ‘See! We’ve made it better!’ I have to strongly disagree. I definitely enjoy those games, but I don’t know that they’re ultimately a better competitive RTS experience. They’re different, and that difference has a value in the sense that for the three weeks that I’m playing it, it feels new and shiny. But then when I get down to it, I realize that there’s actually less to do. I don’t play it for weeks or months.

“I don’t know if StarCraft II can survive that test of time. I don’t want to say that we can. We’re certainly going to try. That’s what we set out to do in the first place, to definitely improve on what had already been there and not just change for the sake of change. Like I said, I don’t want to be a jerk, but I feel like a lot of other studios have changed just for the sake of change. They haven’t made a better product, they’ve just made a product that is different.”

Browder reiterated later in the conversation that Blizzard didn’t “mess around with it for the sake of messing around with it.”

Check back on Game Informer over the weekend for more from my talk with Browder, or check in on Sunday to read the full StarCraft II Afterwords interview.

Go to Source (Game Informer)

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Categories: Game News, Game Secrets

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