Blizzard Entertainment is a PC game developer and publisher. Since its release of Warcraft in 1994, it has been one of the most successful game development studios in the world. Its headquarters are based in Irvine, California. The company has a history of largely overshooting release dates. However, many Blizzard fans see this as somewhat of a blessing in disguise, as Blizzard has a reputation for producing classic games that are played for years to come. Blizzard also has a reputation for taking fierce legal action against anyone who reverse engineers their software, copies their game concepts, or publishes third-party server software that is compatible with their games.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Blizzard Entertainment was founded in February, 1991 as Silicon & Synapse by Mike Morhaime, Allen Adham and Frank Pearce. The company developed games like Rock & Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings (published by Interplay Productions). In 1994, the company briefly changed its name to Chaos Studios, before finally settling on Blizzard Entertainment after it was discovered that another company with the Chaos name already existed. That same year, they were acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates for under USD$10 million. Shortly thereafter, Blizzard shipped their breakthrough hit Warcraft.
Blizzard has changed hands several times since then: Davidson was acquired by a timeshare company called CUC International in 1996; CUC then merged with a hotel, real-estate, and car-rental franchiser called HFS Corporation to form Cendant Software, in 1997. In 1998 it became apparent that CUC had engaged in accounting fraud for years before the merger; Cendant's stock lost 80% of its value over the next six months in the ensuing widely discussed accounting scandal. The company sold its consumer software operations, including Blizzard, to French publisher Havas in 1998, the same year Havas was purchased by Vivendi. Blizzard is now part of the VU Games group of Vivendi Universal.
In 1996, Blizzard acquired Condor Games, which had been working on the game Diablo for Blizzard at the time. Condor was renamed Blizzard North, and has since developed hit games Diablo, Diablo II, and its expansion pack Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. Blizzard North was located in San Mateo, California.
Blizzard launched their online gaming service Battle.net in January of 1997 with the release of their action-RPG Diablo.
On November 23, 2004, Blizzard released World of Warcraft, which has grown to become one of the most popular MMORPGs in history.
On May 16, 2005, Blizzard announced the acquisition of Swingin' Ape, a console game maker, which is now Blizzard Console, currently working on Starcraft: Ghost, but in March 2006 (last mentioned on the website on March 30, 2006) they announced that Starcraft: Ghost was on indefinite hold.
On August 1, 2005, Blizzard announced the consolidation of Blizzard North into the headquarters in Irvine, California.
A few months after the closure of Blizzard North, Bill Roper, Erich Schaefer and his brother Max Schaefer co-founded Flagship Studios which now is developing Mythos (on July 19, 2008 it was announced that due to continuing financial hardships at Flagship Studios, Mythos would be going on hiatus) and Hellgate London released in the fall of 2007.
Blizzard is currently a division of Activision Blizzard, Inc. as a result of a merger that was announced on December 7th, 2007. The merger was completed on July 9th, 2008.
Titles[edit | edit source]
- The Lord of the Rings (1990) - RPG
- RPM Racing (1991)
- J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I (Amiga port, 1992)
- Battle Chess II: Chinese Chess (Amiga port, 1992)
- Castles (Amiga port, 1992)
- Battle Chess (Windows port, 1992)
- MicroLeague Baseball (Amiga port, 1992)
- Lexi-Cross (Macintosh port, 1992)
- ''Dvorak on Typing (Macintosh port, 1992)
- The Lost Vikings (1992) - platform game
- Rock & Roll Racing (1993) - racing gamehttp
- Blackthorne (1994) - fantasy platform game
- The Death and Return of Superman (1994) - side-scrolling beat 'em up
- Warcraft (1994) - fantasy real-time strategy game
- Justice League Task Force (1995) - one-on-one fighting game
- The Lost Vikings II (1995) - platform game
- Warcraft II (1995) - fantasy real-time strategy game
- Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal (1996) - expansion pack
- Diablo (1996) - action-oriented computer role-playing game
- Diablo: Hellfire (1997) - expansion pack
- StarCraft (1998) - science fiction real-time strategy game
- StarCraft: Brood War (1998) - expansion pack
- Diablo II (2000) - action-oriented RPG
- Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (2001) - expansion pack
- Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002) - fantasy real-time strategy game
- Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (2003) - expansion pack
- World of Warcraft (2004) - MMORPG set in the Warcraft universe
- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (2007) - Expansion to World of Warcraft
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (2008) - Expansion to World of Warcraft
Unreleased[edit | edit source]
- Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans - Cancelled on May 22, 1998
- StarCraft: Ghost - Indefinitely postponed on March 24, 2006
- StarCraft II - In development, and officially announced on May 19, 2007
- Diablo III - In development, and officially announced on June 28, 2008
Personel[edit | edit source]
Notable Blizzard personel include:
- "Bashiok" (community manager)
- Leonard Boyarsky (lead world designer)
- Jeff Kang (enviromental arist)
- Chris Metzen (vice-president of creative development)
- Bryan Morrisroe (art director)
- Jay Wilson (lead desinger of Diablo III)
Trivia[edit | edit source]
This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article
- The phrase "There is no cow level" is a running joke started by the company's game designers stemming from repeated rumors on Battle.net that a "secret cow level" existed in Diablo. The phrase "There is no cow level" was a cheat code in the original Starcraft game. In Diablo 2, a cow level was made as a secret level.
- In Blizzard's real-time strategy games (the Starcraft and Warcraft series), clicking on a character repeatedly will invoke humorous sound bites, with the most famous being the Orc Grunt's "Stop poking me!" Blizzard most likely took note of this, because in Warcraft III the same units said similar things such as "Why are you poking me again?" and "Poke poke poke, is that all you do?"
- In the Starcraft and Warcraft series, clicking on a "critter" repeatedly about 20 times will make it explode semi-violently.
- In Blizzard's MMORPG game (World of Warcraft), clicking on a friendly NPC repeatedly will invoke humorous sound bites, with the most famous being the gnome's "Blah blah blah blah blah."
- The Starcraft cheat "operation cwal" was formed after a group, who looked forward to the release of Starcraft and did many things to prove how much they loved Starcraft. Blizzard, noticing this group, named a cheat after them which stands for "can't wait any longer." Primarily the group wrote fan fiction about special operatives raiding the Blizzard headquarters in order to free the game.
- The games "Starcraft" and "Warcraft" are rumored to be based on the table top game "Warhammer" and "Warhammer 40,000", it is rumored that Warcraft was supposed to be a Warhammer PC game in development but a fall out between Gamesworkshop and Blizzard occurred. One link to this rumor can be found in "Warcraft III", if you repeatedly click a griffon rider he will say "This Warhammer cost 40K", 40K being a shortening of 40,000.