Blizzard North Almost Made Sports Games


David Craddock is back with another update from his Stay Awhile and Listen book which charts the rise of the Diablo franchise and Blizzard North. In his latest nugget of info, he looks back at the early years and how Blizzard North almost started down the path of creating sport titles in tandem with the development of Diablo 2.

“Many of the guys at North were sports fans, especially Dave Brevik and the Schaefers,” Craddock said. “After Diablo was finished, the guys talked to Blizzard about starting a sports game division. The south branch thought they intended to create arcade-style titles in the vein of Blood Bowl, a fantasy football board game, but Dave wanted to do a simulation-style football game, an RPG-like experience where players started out in high school and worked their way into the pros. But both Blizzard North and South agreed that North should focus on Diablo, and work on a sequel began.

You can find the full notes in an update on Shacknews today.

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  1. Close call! This book sounds like it’s going to be amazing. 🙂

  2. sounds like, someone high up in blizzard smacked them in the face and told them to shut up and make diablo 2

  3. Blizz North > Blizz South
    Dave Brev > Jay Wilson

  4. Sounds fascinating, I love reading stuff like this. As for what’s said in the article, part of me is very happy that Diablo 2 came out and old Blizz North didn’t sell out to 3D0. The other part of me is a sports game fan curious to see where that option could have lead to.

  5. If current Blizz made CS the awp would have a 2 minute cooldown reload.

  6. Holy crap. I want to play that football game. One of them should go back and make it now. I guess Madden has a career mode, but it doesn’t start so early.

    Marshmallow, that awp comment made me laugh.

  7. I can add some firsthand testimony to their sports interests. When Elly, Gaile, and me first visited Bliz North in 2000, pre-d2-release, we all went to dinner the first night at a sports bar in San Mateo, and I was across the table from Dave Brevik, who was engrossed in ESPN or whatever was on one of the big screens. It took me several minutes of persistent (and probably annoying) questioning about D2 stuff to get his attention from the screen.

    And then he was full of interesting infos, but I’m sure after working on that all day every day he just wanted to relax over dinner with some football highlights, rather than more talk about D2 from some fansite guy.

    http://diablo2.diablowiki.net/Diabloii.net_Visits_Blizzard_North

    Also note the best Blizzard employee merch ever; the Blizzard North employees only Diablo hockey jerseys. (Which are so old school and hardcore I can’t even find a picture of them via google.)

    • Cool story! I’ve got some pics of the Diablo jerseys, plus the even rarer Condor jerseys, for the book’s gallery, as well as the cringe-worthy story detailing why Dave retired from hockey, at least for awhile. 😉

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