Blizzard North was the Bay Area division of Blizzard Entertainment, known for the Diablo series. The studio was originally based in Redwood City, California, and then moved a short distance away to San Mateo, California, with Blizzard proper being based in Irvine (in southern California).
Blizzard North was originally an independent company. It was established in 1993 under the name Condor, founded by Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, and David Brevik. The company was purchased and renamed by Blizzard about six months before the release of their hit PC game, Diablo, in 1996. Diablo proved to be incredibly successful, and their 2000 sequel Diablo II was more successful yet. An expansion pack followed the year after.
By June 2003 two new games were in production. However on June 30 2003, several key employees left Blizzard North to form the new companies Flagship Studios (8 moved here) and Castaway Entertainment (9 moved here). The Blizzard North exodus continued on with around 30 employees leaving the company in total.
The resignations were partly due to a conflict with Blizzard Entertainment's owner, Vivendi, and partly due to employees wishing to start something new. Back at Blizzard North, however, they would have a common effect; of the two unannounced games that were in production at the time, one was now forced to be canceled. Blizzard Entertainment has since said the canceled game was a "Blizzard North kind of game".
On August 1, 2005, Blizzard Entertainment announced the closure of Blizzard North. A key reason for the closure was Blizzard North's poor development of what was to be Diablo III which did not meet the expectations of Vivendi. Former Blizzard North staffers including Joseph Lawrence, Wyatt Cheng and Matt Uelmen subsequently appeared in the credits of Blizzard's next retail release, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. The work of former Blizzard North artist Phroilan Gardner was also featured in editions of World of Warcraft: The Trading Card Game around the same time.
- Justice League Task Force (1995)
As Blizzard North
- Diablo (1996) - action-oriented computer role-playing game
- Diablo II (2000) - action-oriented CRPG
- Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (2001) - expansion pack
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