Rock & Roll Days of StarCraft
I interviewed Mike Morhaime, Samwise Didier and other Blizzard legends to support a longform development retrospective for the StarCraft: Remastered site.
The year was 1997, and Blizzard art director Samwise Didier’s ’65 Mustang was producing an alarming amount of smoke. The ancient vehicle was held together by little more than duct tape and prayer, and by the time Didier pulled into his garage one sunny Southern California afternoon, it was clear that neither countermeasure would suffice for long.
Didier popped the hood and assessed the situation. His car was on fire. He leapt into the driver’s seat and backed out of the garage, identified the flaming component, extracted it, and stomped it out on the pavement.
“Guys would get new cars, or they’d wreck them, and they’d need a ride to work, so they’d be driving with you for a month,” Didier says. “It was always through neglect. ‘Oh, I forgot to put oil in it.’ Just dumb, stupid stuff. It was always happening.”
They were a ragtag bunch of twenty-something friends working sixty hours a week, plus half-days on weekends. They played Street Fighter and Samurai Shodown, jury-rigged beat-up cars, jammed out on electric guitars, blew off steam at karaoke bars and concerts. They didn’t know it yet, but the sci-fi game they were building, one wild improvisation at a time, would become a landmark in the real-time strategy genre and a fixture of global esports. The name of the game was StarCraft.