StarCraft Wiki
StarCraft Wiki
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"Your only choice is interstellar war"

- Tagline(src)

StarCraft (SC) is a real-time strategy (RTS) computer game introduced by Blizzard Entertainment in 1998. It is similar to Blizzard's previous hit Warcraft II, except that it has a space opera setting as opposed to a high fantasy setting. StarCraft is praised for being a benchmark of RTS for its depth, intensity, and balanced races.

The main storyline of the game revolves around a war between three galactic species: the protoss (a race of humanoid religious warriors), the zerg (vile insect-like aliens who share a hive mind) and the terrans (initially, descendants of human prisoners from Earth). The storyline was initially introduced by the manual.

It was initially released for Windows, and later for Macintosh and Nintendo 64.

The sequel, StarCraft II, was announced on May 19, 2007 and the first chapter StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was released on July 27, 2010. A remastering named StarCraft: Remastered was announced for summer of 2017.[1]

With Patch 1.8, the game was made free to anyone with[2]


StarCraft was the best selling computer game in 1998[3] and won the Origins Award for Best Strategy Computer Game of 1998.[4] In November of the same year, Blizzard released an expansion pack called StarCraft: Brood War.

StarCraft makes significant improvements over Warcraft II. WC II, while advanced for its time, featured what many gamers believed to be a weakness in that, apart from a few minor (but significant for balance, especially at higher skill levels) differences in available spells and the cost of upgrades, the game's two races were exactly the same mechanically, with only graphical differences. StarCraft improved upon this by adopting the technique introduced by Strategic Simulations' game War Wind of having sides with obvious asymmetries. The asymmetry was inspired, in part, by Magic: The Gathering.[5] Though the game's three races (protoss, terrans, and zerg) were slightly imbalanced when the game was first released, the expansion pack and fifteen patches (of which four significantly affected the game play mechanics) have balanced the three races.

The game also includes multiplayer gaming on Blizzard's own Internet gaming service One can play against opponents free of any charge beyond the original purchase of the game and local Internet access fees. Many fans enjoy playing in groups against the computer in skirmish games. While the AI is considered to be weak compared to a good player, decent early game performance can make it an enjoyable opponent for more casual players. Fans are also able to create unfair maps that are advantageous to the computer and can be extremely hard to beat. A few years after the release of the game, Blizzard also released several free maps of a higher difficulty. Over time, the patches have also improved the AI.

Expansion Packs

Main article: StarCraft: Brood War

Blizzard produced one expansion pack for StarCraft in the form of StarCraft: Brood War, released in November, 1998. The expansion pack adds new units and continues the storyline in the form of a campaign structure similar to the original game.[6]

Blizzard authorized two expansion packs in the same year—Insurrection, and Retribution.[7] Both of these expansions are set during the events of the original game. As of 2010, Blizzard has not decided whether these are canon or not, but would be willing to incorporate certain material from the games.[8]

Commercial expansion packs that were unauthorized by Blizzard include Stellar Forces, HunCraft, and Stratospace. In some cases these expansion packs have been removed from circulation and legal action taken.[9][10]


Main article: StarCraft: Remastered

On March 26th, 2017, a remastering of the StarCraft and Brood War was announced. It would feature new visuals, audio, and online support, but the core gameplay is set to remain unchanged.[1]


Main article: Gameplay of StarCraft (includes information on famous players and a more detailed description of the game)

StarCraft improved upon its predecessor Warcraft II, which featured two very similar playable factions, by introducing asymmetry between the units and technologies available to its three races (Protoss, Terran, and Zerg). This asymmetry was similar to that pioneered in the lesser-known 1996 SSI release War Wind. The unit types available to each race define its racial identity. The Protoss can field powerful and expensive warriors and machinery, while the Zerg count on sheer numbers and speed to overwhelm their opponents. The Terrans are the versatile and flexible alternative to both races, with an emphasis on specialization and combined arms. In many ways, the Terran can be considered the "in-between" race in that they tend to benefit from more moderate conditions, whereas the other two races tend to prefer one extreme or the other. This can make it difficult to create maps that are fair for all races.


Main article: StarCraft storyline
MarineHydraliskZealot SC1 Art1

The trifecta

The plot of the original StarCraft game revolves around the arrival of the zerg in the Koprulu sector and their later invasion of the protoss home world Aiur. After they have destroyed the Confederate colony on Chau Sara, the zerg are used by the rebel organization Sons of Korhal, which lures them to a number Confederate worlds using psi-emitters to further their own goals. After the Confederacy's fall, the Sons of Korhal's leader, Arcturus Mengsk, establishes the Terran Dominion, crowning himself emperor. The Zerg Swarm is, however, closely followed by a protoss fleet which burns down all worlds the zerg infest. The leader of the Protoss task force, High Templar Tassadar, later discovers that he can disrupt the Overmind's control over the Swarm by eliminating his cerebrate servants with the help of the Dark Templar. The involvement of the fallen Dark Templar will prove to be fateful; indeed, while slaying the Cerebrate Zasz, the Dark Templar Zeratul briefly comes in psychic contact with the zerg Overmind, who is then informed of Aiur's location and directs his Swarm towards the protoss world. The protoss high authority, the Conclave, is defeated by the Swarm, along with a large proportion of all protoss. In a desperate attempt to put an end to the zerg's destruction, Tassadar, Zeratul, and the remaining protoss unite their strengths with human Jim Raynor and attack the Overmind itself. They succeed in destroying it because Tassadar sacrifices himself to destroy it using Dark Templar energy.


StarCraft culture


StarCraft has achieved a cult-like status in the computer gaming world. Due to the complexity and depth of the strategic possibilities, StarCraft, especially in its online multiplayer form, remains very popular, even years after its original release. The game's popularity in South Korea has been unexpectedly high, with nationally recognized tournaments, and intense training groups sprouting up across the country.[15] There are even a couple of cable-access channels that often televise tournaments live with the top players competing against each other, cheered on by enthusiastic spectators and fans. The top StarCraft players enjoy mild celebrity status.

Even as of 2005, StarCraft is still one of the most popular online games in the world. The game itself has its own culture, similar to Slashdot's and Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) communities.

Also of note is the infamous Operation CWAL (Can't Wait Any Longer). Operation CWAL formed in 1997, as a writers group, in the StarCraft Suggestions Forum in an attempt to "liberate" a final copy of StarCraft, which appeared obviously completed despite numerous delays on the part of Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard Entertainment has gone as far as to give special thanks to this group in the manual for StarCraft, as well as including their name as a cheat code in the game (typing "operation cwal" during a single player game will dramatically decrease the time required to build units). While not very active today, Operation CWAL remains as one of Blizzard Entertainment's older and more loyal fan groups.

In the early 2000s, the game became extremely popular among South Korean online gamers, to the point of being exaggeratedly referred to as the national sport of South Korea by avid gamers, and the majority of StarCraft players now come from that country. The origin of this unusually high level of popularity is likely a combination of StarCrafts suitability for competitive multiplayer and the fact that it was released during the beginning of the boom in popularity of "PC baangs" in Seoul, resulting in a perfect opportunity for the game to catch on.

Professional Competition

In South Korea, StarCraft professional gamers, known by their pseudonyms such as Lim_Yo-Hwan aka SlayerS_`BoxeR`, Iloveoov, [Oops]Reach, [ReD]NaDa, [NC]...YellOw, and Nal_rA are celebrities: their games are broadcast over the television channels MBC Game and Ongamenet. A selected few have made substantial monetary gains through this. For example, one highly successful player, "[Red]Nada", signed a 3-year, $500,000 contract in 2004. Another example is "SlayerS_`BoxeR" who can, if all goes well, make $780,000 in the next 3 years, making him the highest paid StarCraft player ever. Some players can earn a decent to good living from TV-contracts and sponsoring and tournament prizes. However, the lower-echelon pro players tend to subsist on relatively small wages. Many pro gamers playing StarCraft use every minute of their spare time to play, in order to maintain preparation for the highly competitive leagues. Superior StarCraft and Warcraft III players are often referred to as "gosu". Less than average skilled players are often called hasu. Professional gaming in South Korea is an example of how e-sports can attain a social status similar to physical sports.

Replays, RWAs, VODs and Battle Reports

StarCraft enables the player to record a game and save it as a replay, which can then be viewed with any other copy of StarCraft, displaying the entire course of the game. As of 2005, there are many websites that host replays of players with different skill levels, though pro-level replays are relatively rarely released, for reasons of team secrecy and pro-league policy.

The RWAtools are a set of freeware tools, that create valid replay files, additionally containing an Ogg audio stream. They allow gamers to comment their own games while they play them and comment replays of other players. During replay the commentary is kept in sync with the game. This can be particularly interesting for people new to the game, who can learn from more experienced players pointing out things about a replay they would not have seen on their own, or simply for entertainment.

BWChart is a program used to analyze a player's actions in order to teach the viewer how a given player plays.

Lasgo's Observer Pack contains, beside other things, a tool that allows you to see the results of the recorded player's actions as if you played yourself (except the mouse pointer and the selection boxes).

VODs (from "Video On Demand") are videos that show the screen of a commentator (or sometimes player) during a (usually) pro-level game. They are (legally or not) available from a variety of websites, and are ripped from Korean television or Internet streams. They usually come in the ASF video file format for Windows Media Player, which plays them with seeking disabled, or in the Windows Media Video format. Because they are compressed with an MPEG-4 codec and the file size needs to be small, there is a significant quality loss in comparison to watching a replay. VODs are usually accompanied by enthusiastic announcing from the Korean commentators, and the occasional crowd shot.

StarCraft Campaign Editor and Custom Scenarios

Main article: StarEdit

The game comes with a campaign/map editor (practically a "Game Creation System" in itself) called StarEdit. StarEdit has many features, including a trigger system that allows one to make radical changes to the way that map works, readily giving gamers the ability to create custom map scenarios (also called MOD's). Hundreds of custom scenarios are created everyday, giving the game a refreshing variety. The StarCraft map-making community has also constructed additional editors or functionalities that grant the user even more power to modify the game.

Scenarios are created with entirely different sets of rules, objectives, and units. More popular user created scenarios include Evolves, Golem Madness, Turret Defense, Sunken Defense, Nightmare RPG, and the ubiquitous Tower Defense.

There is another type of map circulating in the online communities: StarCraft Diplomacy. There have been multiple versions of this game produced. The version was inspired by the board game Diplomacy.

Maps set in the story lines of popular television shows are also widely used. Android Menace is a particularly developed example, taking place in a large portion of the Dragon Ball Z story line. Maps with infinite minerals are also very popular, examples including "Fastest Map Ever" and "0Clutter." Many real-world events, including the Napoleonic Wars, World War I, World War II and the American Civil War, have also been used as a base for StarCraft maps. There have been recent StarCraft maps depicting single or multiple scenes from books and movies, such as Troy and The Lord of the Rings. These maps include The Battle for Pelennor Fields and The Battle for Helm's Deep. In addition, a large amount of StarCraft players are also engaged in large, multi-player "Lord of the Rings"-type based maps, with each player controlling and developing a whole nation, complete with heroes and units. Instead of the building their forces from the ground up, players are given control of pre-built cities and armies. Units are periodically created at a special point, called the "spawn point". The purpose of these maps is usually to destroy a certain building that, when destroyed, disables an enemy's ability to spawn units. These maps range from the traditional Lord of the Rings v. Last Alliance (LA) to newer maps such as The Rings of Power (TRoP) and After Lord of the Rings (After-LotR). Older maps include Lord of the Rings version GOLD, which many accept as the origination of the "castle building" idea, and Middle Earth version Pre Lord of the Rings, which introduced the concept of hero units that were dauntingly stronger than the units in a standard army, shifting the focus of the game from large-scale battles to single unit strategy. This includes the strategy of operations, or "opping", which involves using one hero unit to achieve a goal, such as the destruction of an opponents spawn(s) or heroes

The popularity of custom maps is not limited, however, to only online gaming. Because StarEdit allows the mapmaker to "link together" several maps, single player "campaigns" (which are long scenarios played out over several maps, hence the name "campaign") have become prominent in the community. Popularized by the revolutionary Antioch Chronicles, many campaigns even come with "MODs" that feature new "heroes" (i.e. the mapmakers create new art files to be imported in to StarCraft, thus creating completely new units and characters - something StarEdit alone could never do). Popular player-made campaigns include Campaign Creations' Legacy of the Confederation, Life of a Marine, The Antioch Chronicles, and's official campaigns: The Shifters and Fields of Ash.

In addition, some other map editors exist. These include the "StarCraft X-tra Editor," and have other features not in StarEdit. One of the possibilities included in some editors include "stacking" buildings and minerals, placing many one on top of the other. The ability to change player colors has been left to some of the more advanced editors, including "SCMDraft" and "StarForge," which were introduced after editors such as "GUEdit" and SCMToolkit" were becoming obsolete after barriers were broken and newer limits set. Most serious map creators now prefer "SCMDraft2," "StarForge," "PROEdit," and "uBeR@TiOn," because they give the user in-depth capabilities, such as the ability to use hidden AI scripts, protect maps from common theft, running sizeless sounds directly from the StarCraft disc, changing the color of text, compressing their map, and in more advanced areas, place raw sprites, sprite-units, extended players, disabled units, etcetera. Most of these editors (excluding "StarCraft X-tra Editor") are designed from scratch, eliminating most of the limits of the original StarEdit, the "StarCraft Campaign Editor." Many of these 3rd party programs have revolutionized StarCraft map making and new discoveries as to what different sprites or unit numbers do to the game, or as the most effective way to cloak certain units are discovered virtually every day. Many websites including, Staredit Network, and StarCraft Index have been built around the capabilities of these impressive StarEdits.


"Nineteen years after StarCraft’s release, it remains popular around the world. With such enduring appeal, it’s tempting to assume that the game’s development was a closely choreographed ballet of art and design. In reality, it was more like a bar brawl."


"We'd done high fantasy twice already by then. And we all really loved sci-fi. We’d watched Starship Troopers, we’d watched Aliens, we’d watched Star Trek. We wanted to leave the earth and go out into space."

The concept for StarCraft game emerged after the completion of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. While it was expected that Warcraft III would be the next logical step, Blizzard's art team wanted to work on something different. Designers still wanted to make another RTS, but it was decided that this time, it would be in a sci-fi setting.[16] Chris Metzen has voiced the opinion that the game was a reaction to the Warcraft series, and as such, from the outset, was intended to be more gritty and realistic.[17] The choice to go future sci-fi was at least partly influenced by the success of the Command and Conquer franchise, which at the time, utilized a modern military setting. The idea was that StarCraft would be an expansion set to Warcraft II—not in the literal sense, but rather as branching out from the formula/mechanics already established.[18] Much of the concept of the game revolved around the idea of three races, and finding a balance between the three.[19] At the time of the game's development, Blizzard employed around 50 people;[20] the StarCraft development team itself was composed of around twenty people.[21]

Numerous ideas were thrown around,[22] including the possibility of working with LucasArts to make a Star Wars-themed RTS.[16] At some point, the talks fell apart.[23] Over time though, it was developed into its own setting;[22] according to Rob Pardo, the decision to make a new IP was made as it would allow Blizzard full control over the setting.[24] The game received the name "StarCraft." Chris Metzen originally reacted negatively to the name, due to its similar title with the Warcraft series.[19]

Goliath ShatteredNations Art1

Walkers from Shattered Nations that would form the basis of goliaths

Prior to/during the development of StarCraft, Blizzard was working on at least two other sci-fi strategy games. One of these was Shattered Nations, a post-apocalyptic game where factions had to scavenge technology. The game was canceled in favor of StarCraft, but there is evidence that some aspects of Shattered Nations made it into its successor—the goliath design for instance bears great resemblance to a mech that was in Shattered Nations, and was relabeled as such by gaming magazine PC Champ.[25] Unlike StarCraft, Shattered Nations was a turn-based isometric game,[26] similar to the Civilization games[23] (though has also been compared to XCOM). Shattered Nations was cancelled in 1995, mere months after being announced. The team members were regrouped to quickly work on a new project with a 1996 release date.[27] The game's art style would go on to influence that of StarCraft, being more gritty than the previous Warcraft games.[28]

Another sci-fi RTS Blizzard worked on was Pax Imperia II, a sequel to Pax Imperia. In 1997, Blizzard sold the rights to THQ, and the proposed sequel was released as Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain.[29] It has been stated however that StarCraft was a single project game.[30]

Blackthorne has been cited as an influence on the game, namely "the sci-fi frontier and apostrophe-filled names" (of the game).[31]

After StarCraft was released, a rumor began to circulate that it had been based on Warhammer 40,000. This, however, is false. Outside of Blizzard's own internal development, the IPs cited as the biggest influences for StarCraft are Aliens, Starship Troopers, and Ender's Game.[32]

Subsequent Development

"There wasn’t a lot of thought process. It was more of—let's put this in, and boom. That’s our Siege Tank. That’s our Battlecruiser. There was no going back, no 'Hey, can we redo this?' There was no desire for that. It was cool, just as it was."

StarCraft ended up having three races—terrans, protoss, and zerg. The terrans were the first and easiest race to develop, while the zerg were fleshed out late in development. Each race had a single unit that would serve as the humping off point for the rest of the faction. These were the marine (terran), hydralisk, and dragoon.[28]

A set of general guidelines for the three races was quickly settled on. Terran structures would be square and clunky, protoss would have elegant and round structures, while zerg structures would be vaguely triangular, covered in spikes. The models of units were rendered out to tiny images at each of the angles. However, Blizzard's cinematics team began production on the game long before the rest of it had been solidified. This led some confusion as to how units would appear in cinematics, versus how they might appear in the game engine.[33]

In 1995, Blizzard contracted the development of Warcraft II's expansion, Beyond the Dark Portal, to Cyberlore Studios, so that they could focus their own team on StarCraft. However, during a milestone check-in with Cyberlore, however, Blizzard’s managers had deemed the work sub-par. They cancelled the contract and finished the add-on pack themselves. The experience soured Blizzard to outsourcing work to outside developers.[34]

The announcement of StarCraft came before the development of its game engine.[35] The game was originally planned as a one year project.[19] It was originally anticipated that the game would be shipped in December 1996, with the thought of the game being a one year development cycle[22] Blizzard didn't want a long gap between releases—Warcraft I had been released in 1994, Warcraft II in 1995, and StarCraft in 1996. While some have commented that the idea of a one year development cycle seems ludicrous in hindsight, Allen Adham was under pressure to continue growing Blizzard's revenue.[27] In things turned out, StarCraft was released in March 1998.[22]

Per its sci-fi setting, the developers shifted away from the greens and browns of Warcraft, and initially went for "putrid pinks, bright blues, and garish greens."[18] At E3 1996, the game got a poor reception, earning its "orcs in space" moniker due to its similarities with Warcraft II. According to Samwise Didier, the reason for this was that work hadn't yet begun in earnest, and the showing was the result of tight deadlines. After E3, the team set out to overhaul the game.[33] At E3, the developers saw another sci-fi RTS called Dominion, and felt that its 3D art style would be a good template for how a sci-fi RTS should look.[23] For a while, though, StarCraft took the back seat to development of Diablo,[33] members of the development team were temporarily shifted to work on the game.[19] Over the next two months, Bob Fitch overhauled StarCraft's game engine, while its members were steadily transferred to Diablo .[33] The original game engine had been the same one as Warcraft II, but it didn't generate the effects that Blizzard was looking for, such as burrowing, cloaking, and the carrier's interceptors.[36] All of Blizzard ended up working on Diablo prior to the game's release, and its positive reception led Blizzard to re-evaluate its existing projects, including StarCraft. Diablo had made the Warcraft II engine seem outdated.[37]

Work on the game restarted in January 1997, after Diablo's release. By this point, Fitch had rewritten the game's engine. This afforded the developers more opportunities than the old Warcraft engine, but it made the artwork, AI, and pathfinding harder. It was also at this point that the old "orcs in space" concept was ditched. Also in this period came the idea of rock-paper-scissors idea for the factions. Warcraft II had previously used mostly symmetrical factions. Likewise, the team had noted that while the Command and Conquer series had shifted away from the Dune II paradigm of identical factions, the differences between GDI and Nod were still minimal. Thus, Blizzard wanted to try something different, going for three races. Four were considered, but this was decided against due to limited people, time, and the risk that four races could spread out the developers' ideas too much.[18] Diablo had a knock-on effect due to its financial and critical success. StarCraft would be the first Blizzard game to embrace the company's philosophy of not releasing games until they were ready. The game was effectively rebooted. On one hand, given the success of Diablo and Warcraft, Blizzard were no longer underdogs in the PC gaming landscape. On the other, in 1997, there were over eighty RTS titles in development. The developers knew that whatever they made would have to stand out.[27] The team hoped that the "tech reboot" of StarCraft would only take a few months, and that the full game would be released in summer, 1997. This didn't occur.[37]

The game's "crunch period" began in August 1997. It lasted about six months before the game shipped in April 1998.[36] According to some sources, the game's "crunch period" drew development from Nomad (another Blizzard game,[38] though others state that work on Nomad began after StarCraft.[39]

StarCraft crashed frequently during development right up until release.[27]


A problem during development was that at this point in time, game studios were starting to utilize 3D graphics, while Blizzard still hand-drew their models. The game's artists began experimenting with 3D, but at least at first, the results were less than promising. To deal with the problem, the art team made the models wider and thicker, resulting in a distinctive over-the-top style.[33]

Another problem was that other studios were getting into 3D graphics, and Blizzard still hand-drew their models, pixel by pixel. Didier and the other artists began experimenting with 3D—though the results, at least at first, were less than promising. To deal with the problem the art team made the models wider and thicker, resulting in a distinctive over-the-top style. This concept stemmed back to Warcraft, to go against photorealism. For StarCraft, this translated into a clunky aesthetic. This was the beginning of the "Blizzard Style," taken from technical necessity. On a related note, the game could only feature 15 colors per model.[33] The designers ended up making all the units in 3D before rendering them out as sprites.[28] Shape language theory was used for the three races' structures, with terran structures being rectangular, protoss structures being elliptical, and zerg structures being triangular.[40]

The art style of the game was intended to give the setting a definitive look. It was decided that the game's art style would be less cartoony and styalized than Warcraft, but not as realistic in scale as Diablo. The game fell (and still falls) between the above-mentioned IPs, delivering "a blend of epic proportions somewhat grounded in realism".[41] The game was intended to have a hybrid photorealistic but still stylized look.[40] Rob McNaughton has stated that the influences for the game's artstyle came from 70s/80s films and comics.[28] Influence was also taken from Rock N' Roll Racing, when it came to the game's terrain and planet aesthetics.[42]

Music and Sound

"Cowboys in Space! At least for the Terran this was the idea, but [it was] also a major influence overall, in the main menus, and in the cinematics. What would country and rock music sound like in the future, after humans had conquered interstellar travel?"

The game's soundtrack was composed by Glenn Stafford. A suite of external synthesizers and outboard hardware utilizing more traditional recording techniques were used in the game's composition.

The terran soundtracks extensively used slide distortion and electronic guitar. Stafford would later describe this as a "homecoming" for himself, as his background lay in progressive rock, whereas the music of Warcraft II was more orchestral.[43] Country and rock were influences for the terran OST, with the question being how country and rock wound exist in a setting where humanity had achieved interstellar travel.[28]

The protoss OST was designed to be "deep, powerful, and cerebral."[28] It was more orchestral than the terrans, and Stafford focused on instrumentation that would keep them feeling extremely distinct from Warcraft, taking inspiration from Jerry Goldsmith's score to the movie Alien. Wary of parallel development, he purposefully avoided the film Starship Troopers.

For the zerg, Stafford went for ambient electronic music, ominous and dark, with expansive sounds. The zerg OST was co-produced by Derek Duke.[43] The zerg OST has been described as being "future and retro at the same time. Earthy and organic yet laced with the strange and otherworldly, drawing on evolution and advanced bio-technologies."[28]

Many of the units in the game were voiced by Blizzard employees, but were "tweaked beyond recognition" in the recording process. Voice and mouth sounds, like whispers, hisses, and breathing were a big contributor to creating source material to be processed into various strange effects, sweeteners, ambiences and even in the music.[28]


Main articles: StarCraft alpha and StarCraft beta

During the development process, there were great efforts to steer the game away from being simply "Warcraft in Space," and eventually the entire game engine had to be rewritten to allow the developers to achieve the desired result. Unlike Warcraft, where both the Alliance and Horde played identically bar spells, it was intended that StarCraft possess a rock/paper/scissors style of balance, partially inspired by Magic: The Gathering.[16]

The game's resource system was finalized four months before the game's release.[33]


"StarCraft’s world was born in a whirlwind of creativity. When we made these races, we just threw a bunch of crap at the wall and saw what stuck. We knew that our Terrans were going to be rough and dirty. We knew we wanted the Protoss to be—not savage, exactly, but primal, and powerful. And we knew we wanted the Zerg to swarm."
SpaceVampire Bloodlines Cncpt1

The old "space vampire" concept

The initial storyline of StarCraft was in a sense, a science fiction spin-off of its counterpart franchise, Warcraft. More of an action shooter, it featured clans of 'space vampires' in a sci-fi setting.[22] Concepts for the setting were worked on by Chris Metzen and Nick Carpenter. The original pitch was a science-fantasy epic, with "a story told in a far-out universe with a huge world and different factions." Other members of the development team reacted negatively however.[19] Metzen's work on the setting later led to the three races paradigm, completely abandoning the original "orcs in space" concept.[18]

As design on StarCraft shifted towards an RTS game, it was decided to simplify things into recognizable traits; spidery aliens and psychic brain aliens would be easily recognizable to an audience.[44] Humans would feature in the game, but the developers didn't want to do the "Galactic Good Guys" trope, instead going with "Surly Space Cowboys That Were Prisoners."[23] It was decided that the terrans would be "rough and dirty," the protoss "primal and powerful," and that the zerg would swarm their enemies.[33] While the terrans were to represent "the familiar," the zerg would be monsters, and the protoss the race possessing advanced technology and mysterious motives.[21]

Orcs were present during development, with the idea of copying the set-up of the first Warcraft game, Orcs and Humans. This idea was later abandoned.[22] Influences for the game's setting came from Starship Troopers, Predator, and Battlestar Galactica.[23]

ZealotMarineHydralisk SC1 DevArt1

A promotional image from an early story blurb

The terrans, protoss, and zerg made it to the final product, but they differed from early conceptions. In early concepts for the game (which originally took place in the 28th century), the terrans had ruled the stars for 600 years, but now possessed just a fragment of their early territory. The zerg (or "zurg" as they were originally known) were a bio-mechanical race rather than a purely organic one.[45] The protoss were openly hostile to the terrans and in the game's original backstory, carried out a massacre of terrans on one of the planets of Tau Ceti.[46] A promotion closer to the game's release listed a story slightly closer to the final result, but with differences. Here, the Terran Confederacy was apparently the sole power within the Koprulu sector, and, experiencing resource and fuel shortages, looked to the protoss worlds for new resources. At the same time, the zerg were rampaging through protoss space, destroying everything in their path.[47]

Initially, the storyline was broad, the key events such as the fall of the Terran Confederacy and the invasion of Aiur not being implemented until work began on the single player campaign.[44] Cinematics were created before the fleshing out of the story, designed so that they could easily fit in—the intro cinematic is an example of this, designed to sell terrans as "rednecks."[22] Characters and topics were almost chosen on a whim, and were designed to be self-contained.[33] At the time, Blizzard looked at what other companies were doing with their cinematics and sought to go to "the next level" from Warcraft II.[18] Only a handful of characters appear in the cinematics, the main reason being that they didn't exist while they were being created. A recurring theme in the cinematics was the lack of a clear victory, with triumph always coming at a cost, with the price being paid by the "poor bastards" (terrans) being sent to the frontlines.[37]

During development, Chris Metzen went back to the cinematics, incorporating them into the campaign's flow. This led him to change some elements of the story so that they would better fit the cinematics. The exception to this was Tassadar's sacrifice at the end of the game, which was specifically requested by the game's design team to be the game's finale.[48]

The game's characters were developed on the fly, inserted into the story as required. For instance, Jim Raynor was created so that the player would have a character they were invested in. However, Raynor needed someone to talk to, and thus Sarah Kerrigan was introduced.[37]

The terran campaign was written before the zerg campaign. In developing the latter, the writers hit a snag, as there were only a few sentient creatures in the Swarm, and the Overmind "was not exactly the charming sort." The character issue was sorted by going back to the terran campaign and thinking about its consequences, namely the "death" of Kerrigan at New Gettysburg. In the original version, Kerrigan was "dead-dead." However, the zerg campaign needed a character players could get invested in, so the discussion returned to Kerrigan, the idea of her not only being captured by the zerg, but becoming their queen. How would she interact with her former friends and allies? In the words of Chris Metzen, "it felt so crazy we couldn't help but run with it."[37]

When developing the game's zerg campaign, Metzen gave the campaign "a Shakespeare meets Old Testament kind of vibe." The decision to make Kerrigan the Queen of Blades was to allow the zerg campaign to be seen through a human lens, thus her infestation at the end of the terran campaign.[19]

The protoss campaign is the third and final campaign of the game's storyline. In terms of structure, the first two campaigns are part of a story direction that reaches climax with the protoss, as the player gets to see the downfall of the Protoss Empire.[37] By the end of development, the game's overall storyline dealt with the conflict between the zerg and protoss, with humanity in-between, while the Raynor-Kerrigan dynamic would provide a human element, and a means to draw players in emotionally.[40]

Certain elements of the canceled Blizzard game Bloodlines were ported into StarCraft,[49] though others (such as its space vampire concept) were cut.[44]


StarCraft sold well, which Blizzard was prepared for. What wasn't expected was the reception in South Korea. It was the first Blizzard game to begin pushing the company in a global direction.[50]

StarCraft was the best selling computer and video game of 1998.[51] An estimated 9.5 million copies were sold (4.5 million copies in South Korea) by 2004.[52] In 2009, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized StarCraft as the best-selling RTS game at 9.5 million copies sold.[53] Video Game Canon ranks StarCraft as one of the best video games of all time.[54]



StarCraft on the Walk of Game.

StarCraft has been nominated for GameFAQ's 10 best games ever, and Sony's Walk of Game.

Guinness World Records awarded StarCraft the records for "best selling strategy game for PC"[55] and "longest-serving eSports game" on 1 November 2010.[56]

External links

The next article in this series is StarCraft: Brood War.
The next article in this series is StarCraft: Ghost.
The next article in this series is StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.


  • According to Kevin Dong, data collected by Blizzard indicates that players of Blizzard RTS games tend to focus either on PvE or PvP, with little overlap between the two audiences.[57] In the context where this data was given, this presumably includes StarCraft.
  • When StarCraft was released, variant box covers were used, each showing a different face of one of the three playable races, with the other two in the background. This led to entire wall sections in stores being dominated by StarCraft with the faces lined up. Although each game was the same, some people bought all three variants. The idea for this came from comic cover variants, and the 'face staple' was later used by other Blizzard games.[40]



This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at StarCraft

The list of authors can be seen in the page history of StarCraft.

Wikipedia content was licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License prior to June 15, 2009 is. Wikipedia content from June 15, 2009, and StarCraft Wiki content, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported).
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  • Metzen, Chris and Samuel Moore. “StarCraft: RevelationsAmazing Stories no. 596 (Spring 1999): 20-27.
  • Neilson, Micky. “StarCraft: HybridAmazing Stories no. 601 (Spring 2000): 70-75.
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