Blizzard Wanted to Copy Star Control?

I was reading an article about StarCraft II by Mike Fahey, where he asked the lead producer Chris Sigaty about the game’s single-player campaign splitting into a trilogy.  When Chris mentioned elements such as upgrading technology and diplomacy, Mike mentioned Star Control, which Chris replied that they considered using Star Control’s gameplay elements:

"The initial campaign would feature Terran Jim Raynor, with a meta game that involves upgrading technologies. The second focuses on the Zerg, with a meta‐element involving diplomacy. I mentioned Star Control, and Chris said that that sort of gameplay element had been discussed."
Mike Fahey,  BlizzCon 2008 StarCraft II Lead Producer on the Split Single Player Campaign

It’s good to know that there are people who work at Blizzard Entertainment who know about Star Control.  Whatever they decide to do with their game, there is no way they can rip off Star Control.  StarCraft and Star Control are too different from each other.  Yes, there are wars and both include an incredibly deep storyline, and the fan bases are completely different from each other.  While StarCraft take on a serious tone, Star Control likes to switch between serious and humorous with mixing personality such as the Ur-Quan slavemasters, cowardly Spathi and the frungy-playing Zoq-Fot-Pik.

I have a difficulty time finding what these games have in common:

  • They both have "Star" in their names.
  • There's a war.
  • There are aliens.
  • They have different strengths and weaknesses

Star Control is just so different that I cannot simply pick another game and say “This is how they are related”.  It does such a great job at standing out through dialog, gameplay, exploration and non-linear adventure.  Every race and ship have different shapes and colors that are as different their personalities.

The fact that Blizzard considered using elements from Star Control in their games shows that it left a good impression strong enough for them to think about it in their design.  There still has not been a single game that can replace the magic of Star Control II.  Yes, there are many great games out there and not a single one can make me say “It’s exactly like Star Control”.

The gaming world is different than it was 16 years ago.  No matter how many improvements have been made in technology or how much budget a company does, good writing, well-thoughtout design and taking the time to make sure everything is right (ignoring the planet lander bug and the true purpose of Groombridge, of course) will make the biggest difference in making a good game.  The concept of Star Control in the “seventh generation” of gaming does not scare me one bit.  Star Control still stands out to this day and Toys for Bob are the only ones that can keep it original and fresh.

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