Diablo Stole the StarCraft Developers – Quite Right Too!

Patrick Wyatt, who is mainly known for his work at Blizzard on numerous titles and ArenaNet on Guild Wars,  has updated his blog with an interesting post on the development of the original StarCraft which also touches on the creation of the original Diablo when DiabloWikiBlizzard North was formed. Here’s the interesting piece on Diablo but it’s worth reading the full blog to put it in context.

But a higher priority project overshadowed StarCraft and stole its developers one by one. Diablo, a role-playing game being developed by Condor Studios in Redwood City California, was in need of additional help. Condor, a company formed by DiabloWikiDave Brevik along with DiabloWikiMax Schaefer and his brother DiabloWikiErich Schaefer, was given a budget of only $1.2 million — ridiculously small even in those days.

The Condor team had no hope of making the game they aspired to build, but they did such ground-breaking work in developing something fun that it made sense for Blizzard to acquire Condor, rename it Blizzard North, and start pouring in the money and staff the game really deserved.

Initially Collin Murray, a programmer on StarCraft, and I flew to Redwood City to help, while other developers at Blizzard “HQ” in Irvine California worked on network “providers” for battle.net, modem and LAN games as well as the user-interface screens (known as “glue screens” at Blizzard) that performed character creation, game joining, and other meta-game functions.

As Diablo grew in scope eventually everyone at Blizzard HQ — artists, programmers, designers, sound engineers, testers — worked on the game until StarCraft had no one left working on the project. Even the project lead was co-opted to finish the game installer that I had half-written but was too busy to complete.

Thanks Lanthanide.


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    13 thoughts on “Diablo Stole the StarCraft Developers – Quite Right Too!

    1. Well that explains why they just cut and pasted the Queen of Blades from SCII and called her Sheablo.


      • Not sure if serious…

        The article is about SC1 and Diablo 1. Patrick left Blizzard before Warcraft 3 was released.

        • Yes I am serious. It shows their mentality for relying on being able to take their own content from past games and reuse it in current ones.

          Why I hated world of warcrap. Was just War3 combined with D2, I mean really the entire game was just cut and pasted from those two and then made into the first person. I couldnt believe the lack of originality when that game first came out despite trying it for near 3 weeks.

          I understand this article refers to a time prior to where we are at now, but I still think its an apt reflection of the direction the company has been going in for some time now, and look where its gotten them.

          And yes, diablo is the queen of blades. Nothing can convince me otherwise. Cut and paste and dyed red.

          Oh and anyone else expecting a third spider boss to come with the expansion? I mean they need one every second act in this game right so its only logical… and really spiders dont even fit the diablo theme. Such an epic joke.

          • Plus lets not forget that most of the first half of this game is… cut and pasted from d2!?

            Yes, thats right. Act 1 is the spitting image only with far lamer villains and storytelling than A1 from D2 had. Act 2 is whaaaat, the same sand colored, overly long, near identical act from diablo 2. Sewers. Find body parts (arcane staff.) Go through annoyingly long and redundant dungeons (arcane sanctuary.) Even the dungeons look the same, the cave with the blood of kulle = that stupid sand hole in act 2.

            Like really there is no original content at all storywise in the first two acts, I was hugely disappointed by that, maybe more so than almost any other of their massive f*ckups.

            Act 3 is a huge breath of fresh air, and sadly, storywise, the first one you get in this game.

            Act 4 is a joke, its hugely unfarmable, Izual, second to last boss in the game drops nothing, even with 5 stacks I never even get a yellow from the c*nt. Even diablo is a joke. Fight him in inferno and count the seconds in between his attacks. Attack, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven… attack! The ONLY thing that is difficult about the games end boss is the overpowered goddamn clones that have 100x more hitpoints than you do.

            Seriously. Cut and paste!

          • Did you even read the post? I think you might have a reading comprehension problem if you did.

            He says that they *didn’t* use a perfectly good linked-list library that was written for Diablo, and *therefore* they had huge numbers of bugs that wasted huge amounts of development time.

            Also, when it comes to code, re-use is good. It means fewer bugs and therefore less effort.

      • This happened much earlier than SC2. Arthas from Warcraft 3 and Kerrigan from Starcraft 1 story is just about the same. Good guy gets transformed into the bad guy and ends conquering/destroying the world… Could this be applied to Diablo 1/2 as well? The warrior from Diablo 1 ended up trying to kill them all in Diablo 2 till he got is a** busted by the heroes.

    2. From a software developer perspective, his blog is very rich with interesting information. The specifics about how SC was so buggy are a standard cautionary tale and parts 2 and 3 look like they’ll be very interesting. Hopefully they’ll have more about Diablo & Diablo 2 (or he might have a separate series about them, as he’s covered Warcraft 1 and 2 already as well).

    3. WTF is the point of this article are they trying to win sympathy through nostalgia or what.

      Totally confused here, maybe instead of twatting BS on twatter u should be working on making D3 a better game Mr Chang.

      Wait is it too late already? “Too late to save the child!” OK release offline patch and fuck off!

    4. Apparently some people live 10 years or more in the past.

      Also good to know that those self predicted ALL MIGHTY dudes from Blizzard North needed EVERY help they could get their hands on from Blizzard Irvine.

      After reading this NOW I can understand the ANGER of some of the present day Blizzard people with the Brevik claims “they were the real ones”.

      Always nice to see ex collegues spit you in the face and trying to get all credits (while they were on their knees in resources and personnel at the time).

      Brevik should be THANKFUL instead of spitting on ex co workers who still are with Blizzard.

      F xx ck you Brevik: you didn’t do one good thing after having left Blizzard. You are now officialy the second biggest joke of this industry after Bill Roper of course.

      • Maybe you should read the first line of the second paragraph. For me, even now, D2 is way more fun than D3 (my amazon is also 10 levels higher than my Demon hunter ;)). I don’t know why, I just feel that way.

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