The long-rumored StarCraft remaster is real, and the original game will soon be free for everyone.
Last summer, a rumor made the rounds that Blizzard was working on a StarCraft remaster, and earlier this month, that rumor popped up again. Over the weekend, the rumors ceased, because Blizzard officially confirmed that it is planning to release the remaster this summer.
The StarCraft remaster will do most of what you'd expect from an updated version of the game. There will be 4K graphics and 1080p cinematics, along with upgraded audio. The mission introductions have been redone as comic book-style shorts, and the game will support Blizzard friends and matchmaking (yeah, it's not called Battle.net anymore). Most importantly, there's one big thing Blizzard isn't changing: the gameplay.
Blizzard Classic Games senior producer Pete Stilwell said of the remaster, "Updated graphics, modern amenities, and other new features won't matter if we ruin gameplay. Replays from 1.16 still work in SC Remastered. That's how true we've been."
Stilwell went on, saying, "StarCraft remains very popular, especially in Korea. It's doing so despite legacy Battle.net's aging infrastructure, and from the client perspective, graphics, compatibility, and online features that are not up to modern standards. We decided this was going to be our love letter to the SC diehards. So while the team dusted off the repos, rebuilt the pipeline, and rediscovered the codebase, we also spent hundreds of hours connecting with passionate and proactive folks all over the globe: The ones who have been keeping this game going. They gave us insight into the add-ons, game servers, and defined what made Brood War, Brood War."
While the news of a remaster is exciting, Blizzard is also going to be releasing a new patch for the original Starcraft and Brood War at the end of March. That patch will update the game to version 1.18, and it will make the main game and the expansion completely free. While that's cool on its own, there's something even better. StarCraft: Remastered will be multiplayer compatible with the original, so even if you don't buy the remaster, you can play with your friends that do. Moreover, you can pick up the remaster at any time and your campaign progress will carry over.
Of course, this news will make fans of classic Diablo and Warcraft games wonder when they're going to get a little love from Blizzard's Classic Games team. Stilwell addressed that, saying, "Now that StarCraft: Remastered is announced, we want to think about classic Blizzard games as a service, and to that end we're primarily focused on StarCraft for now. We don't have announcements to make about other classic games at this time."
Blizzard expects to have StarCraft: Remastered out sometime this summer. They've revamped the official Starcraft website with all the news and info. You can check it out, and make sure to see the differences in the comparison shots below.