Monday, July 26, 2010

Know Your Roots: Starcraft


So, I had originally written something else for today, but I found this article on Gamespot this morning. It talks about the origins of Starcraft (and Warcraft), and how Blizzard borrowed a couple pages from the Warhammer and Warhammer 40k universes. I just thought it would be a nice piece to share since Starcraft 2 comes out tomorrow, which I will be getting. Anyway, Before we go any further, go ahead and read the article if you haven’t already… but then come back and finish reading this one, eh?
Link: http://www.gamespot.com/users/subyman/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25848490&om_act=convert&om_clk=soapbox&tag=soapbox%3Bsubject%3B1&page=1

Now, this isn’t a chicken/egg scenario, because Games Workshop obviously came before Blizzard. In Blizzard’s defense, they did manage to salvage a half made game, in terms of Warcraft, because you’re not going to spend a lot of work on something and then throw it away, right? They also managed to turn it into their own thing, and it paid off REALLY well for them. That’s Warcraft’s excuse though; I have no idea what Starcraft’s is, because it seems just a little bit too coincidental. However, I do love me some Starcraft.

I knew and played Starcraft before I knew anything about Warhammer 40k. I didn’t even know that 40k existed until about 2 years ago when I got into 5th edition of tabletop. Now, after doing some research into Games Workshop and 40k on Wikipedia when I started playing, I learned the truth that we’re discussing now; that Starcraft is a copy of 40k, and the Warhammer/Warcraft fiasco. Obviously, it was a bit of a shocker, knowing that something near and dear was a clone of something else. Then I thought though, who gives a shit? Why can’t they both exist? Both companies and games do really well with their IP. Once you take away their similarities is when you notice their differences. This is true more so on the 40k side though, because it just has so much more. Such as the other races that inhabit the 40k, and it’s grim dark universe. Although, Starcraft can be just as grim dark with what happened to Jim Raynor and Kerrigan in the first game.

Anyway, the point that I want to bring across is that just because Starcraft borrows a lot from 40k, it’s no right to hate it. They can exist independent of each other. A lot of stories and ideas are often borrowed from another source that came before it. So, it’s better not to think of it as copying, but as inspiration or homage. Just as Starcraft was inspired by 40k, 40k was inspired by Starship Troopers, written by Robert A. Heinlein. If anything, Starcraft is a giant love letter to Warhammer 40k. If you really enjoy Starcraft, I would highly suggest that you look into Warhammer 40k. If not, then at least remember the truth and educate others, because now you know your roots!

P.S. Enjoy Starcraft 2, I know I will be.
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