Well that was unexpected.
StarCraft is coming back. Not as a sequel or as yet another expansion for StarCraft II. Instead, Blizzard Entertainment is cooking up a remaster of the 1998 original, with a spruced up 4K resolution sheen and an assortment of modern contrivances aimed at making it easier to play a 20-year-old game in 2017.
The re-release, titled StarCraft Remastered, will launch this summer. Functionally, it’s meant to be the game you remember — none of the rules, mechanics, or any of the stuff that made StarCraft the gold standard of the real-time strategy genre will change.
It’s just going to look better. And sound better. In addition to a new coat of 4K-friendly textures — effectively, sharper versions of the original game’s art with a wider range of supported aspect ratios — all the dialogue and music has been re-recorded.
For story devotees, StarCraft Remastered will also feature comic book-style interludes that put an eye-catching new spin on the 1998 game’s Terrans vs. Protoss vs. Zerg royal rumble.
The message on Blizzard’s newly launched StarCraft Remastered website is clear: the year-long development process led to a mountain of cosmetic improvements, but the gameplay core of the experience won’t change in the slightest.
Here are some side-by-side looks at what “remastered textures” actually means in the context of a 20-year-old game.
You can view all of these images (plus a few others) in GIF form on the newly launched StarCraft Remastered website. If you’ve got any other questions about the re-release, you might find answers in Blizzard’s extensive new interview with TeamLiquid.
Blizzard is baking in support for campaign cloud saves, keybindings, custom maps, and replays. StarCraft Remastered will also lean on Blizzard’s Battle.net for matchmaking and social features.
To top it all off, the original version of StarCraft: Brood War — which includes the core game and its celebrated expansion — will be re-released in the Blizzard store as a free download. The package, dubbed StarCraft Anthology, was recently removed for unexplained (but now abundantly clear) reasons.
The new version 1.18 release fixes bugs, improves performance on modern operating systems, and adds support for keybindings as well as an observer mode. StarCraft Anthology will arrive in the Battle.net online store sometime this week.