StarCraft's revival needs to be a priority for Microsoft, according to Windows Central readers

Starcraft Ii Hero
Starcraft Ii Hero (Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently purchased Activision Blizzard, thereby gaining access to all of the bought company's beloved intellectual properties.
  • We polled readers to find out which franchise needs a revival (or dust-off) ASAP.
  • Readers have spoken: StarCraft is of the utmost importance, followed by Spyro and Guitar Hero.

The readers of Windows Central have spoken: StarCraft needs Microsoft's and Xbox's attention, stat.

Over the weekend, following the news that Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard, we hosted a poll asking people which Activision Blizzard property they wanted to see Microsoft revive right away. As of this posting, the vote total sits at 1,115. StarCraft owns the lion's share with 24.39% of those votes (272 votes).

Spyro came in second with 18.3% (204 votes), and Guitar Hero managed 12.29% (137 votes). Fourth place went to Prototype, fifth went to "other" (Activision Blizzard holds a lot of beloved IPs), sixth went to the idea of rebirthing Call of Duty as a better franchise, HeXen locked seventh place, and last came Tony Hawk with just 5.83% (65 votes).

Down in the comments, where the coolest of cool readers are, we got a glimpse of what people were hoping for when they voted "other" in the poll.

"Infocom redux and X-men Legends 2 plz," requested techiedude007. "The possibilities for Game Pass are staggering."

Enigmaraff also chimed in with ideas. "I'd like to see a new Zork game and a remaster of Crash Bandicoot Wrath of Cortex," they said.

Meanwhile, fjtorres proposed not only Activision Blizzard revivals but also Microsoft revivals. "Some of the Activision studios might want a crack at some of the dormant MS IPs like Conker or Fusion Frenzy (King?)," they stated, reminding us to never count out Conker, the forgotten adopted son of Microsoft.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

18 Comments
  • Yes indeed. I was hoping for another of the Battlezones (the First Person Tank Shooter / RTS reboot in the late 90's early 2000's), but I read those rights were given up.
  • Oh wow, I completely forgot that Infocom was part of Activision. Those were some of my main games in the 1980s. These were originally all text-based adventure games, but some of the later ones added graphics. They had the best and most memorable puzzles of any games I've ever played. I find the "modern" (also ancient now, but the approach would definitely work fine updated for today's graphics) graphical update with Return to Zork was the best combination of puzzles and UI in an adventure game ever made (not Zork Nemesis, which came out after Return to Zork; Zork Nemesis was not good). There are no mainstream studios that make adventure games these days (not with the same meaning "adventure game" had 30 years ago). Part of that might be because it's so easy to look up the answers on the Internet and hard to avoid spoilers, which could ruin a game based purely on puzzles. Nevertheless, I would love to see a revival of those games. Here's my pitch to MS and Activision management: Adventure games are generally much more tightly scripted than an open world game, and therefore cost a small fraction of what other games cost to make -- you only need to build the parts of the world relevant to the story and puzzles, which is usually quite small and tight. There is currently no real competition for this market. I recognize that's in part because gamers moved away from the genre, but nostalgia and lack of competition could make for a big hit with the right release. If you release it and it's a hit, with the Infocom brand, you are in a position to own the genre. Further, the very reason these fell out of favor with gamers makes them a perfect fit for GamePass: they're very much play once and done, so a plan for a new one every few months on a small budget would fit perfectly for GamePass and for adventure game players. I would come out of game industry retirement to help manage this, if MS wants me. :-)
  • Passion for Infocom games sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole on this. Unfortunately, per Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infocom), Activision no longer owns the Infocom brand, just the individual games and their trademarks and copyrighted characters and place names. So, MS could do a new Zork or Planetfall, but unless they buy back the Infocom name, they might not be able to re-launch Infocom games using the Infocom adventure game brand. If there is any interest in this, they should buy back the brand.
  • I love StarCraft. I am now going to get hammered for what I am going to say next. StarCraft is too hard a game for Millennials. It has a steep learning curve that needs a lot of time to master, and PVP is tough because it is usually 1v1, and at most 3v3. Strategy games are complex, with layers of 'strategy'. To be good requires commitment, and a firm grasp of game mechanics which is time consuming and not instantly rewarding. I would love nothing more than StarCraft 3 to be a reality, but I have my doubts they will be able to maintain the same RTS core gameplay of times past.
  • I absolutely love starcraft and voted for it, and was my favorite games as a child a d starcraft 2 was, I think, the first game I ever played online. Thst being said I don't agree with what you say because games like age of empires exist and aoe4 just came out and got amazing reviews. Starcraft is not more complex than aoe
  • 1- Is it that more complex than Games of Empire or Flight Sim?
    2- Even granting it is niche, Gamepass can accomodate niche games just fine as long as they encourage deep engagement. Bear in mind that we're not talking physical media anymore, when games made most money while they stayed on store shelves so it was either either launch big or die. Subscriptions don't care if a subscriber spends their time on easy games or hard games, one game or ten, new or old. (That's the first benefit MS gets out of these deals.) All that matters is the number of subscribers and keeping them playing enough to justify keeping the subscription. Think of all the old BC games; they're already paid for so it doesn't matter how many folks play them. Ditto with a new game. Any new game. At worst they might only do a new Starcraft every ten years. As long as the people who play it like it they'll be cool with even a niche game. But trust the gamers.
    Not everybody wants pretty picture button mashers. And MS wants *variety* so the answer to which of the above games they'll bring back is most likely "all of the above".
  • You do realize that the oldest millennials are 40 years old now right? I played StarCraft as a teenager. I think you are confusing the spoiled youth of gen Z with us older ones of "The Oregon Trail Generation".
  • Yes, my mistake. I was thinking of my kids, all early Gen Z, and none of them play RTS games because it is 'too slow and boring'. I was thinking of the complexity of Starcraft with the need to create macro's especially in competitive PvP. Most RTS games allow for the 'brute force' method to win, but that never works with Starcraft.
  • In order, in terms of RTS games, once the deal goes through, I would love to see Starcraft, Halo Wars 3 and then Age of Mythology. One game every three years from their respective developers should keep everyone happy.
  • No love for Gears Tactics? 😏
    Wouldn't a four year cycle result in better games?
  • We could play this hypothetical with any arbitrary amount of time. "Five-year cycle is better," or, heck, let's go "decade+ cycle is better" like Rockstar and Bethesda enjoy. There is no set timeline that makes a project good.
  • Now that is ripe for discussion. 😏
    All games aren't created equal in engagement time. Agreed?
    Folks are still buying and playing Skyrim ten years after release (I played MORROWIND on XBOX for 2 years) while many games are one-and-done in a week. COD VANGUARD just reported 36% lower than COD: Black Ops Cold War which outsold everything else in 2021, suggesting COD's peak sales window is over a year and engagement is comparable so an annual cadence has COD competing with itself. Sub-optimal. Now, post deal, MS will own *four* popular RTS games. So a three year cycle means dropping one or competing with themselves. Hence my suggestion that four is better than three for *MS*. Developers might prefer five, gamers might prefer something else, but for Gamepass purposes (keeping a fresh RTS active at all times) four fits. Gamepass redefines the entire gaming business model and since one advantage subscription services (video, music, ebooks, and gaming) have is the platform holder *knows* to the minute, how long each subscriber consumes what consumes they'll know each game's average engzgemdnt length and its appeal from release onwards and any spikes from DLC. From that they'll know the optimal release cadence for the games and DLC. Keeping users engaged is job one.
    Keeping the catalog fresh with regular releases is only job two.
    Since different people have different tastes and different games have different engagement windows MS is going to need different cadences for the major genres and franchises. Four RTSs, a horde of shooters, RPGs, and assorted casual games. They're going to need years and years of data. But with 35 studios and over 50 teams (plus second party teams) to work with they should be able to maintain monthly releases and address most of the dormant IPs while creating new ones. Not a fun job scheduling the pipeline circa 2026 when all the studios are engaged in new content, though.
  • For me, StarCraft hasn't gone anywhere so I don't see how it can "come back" there are still plenty of people playing that game online. And it is constantly evolving with tweaks and balances.
  • I just want to see RTS games on Xbox with 7keyboard & mouse support. I loved the Age of Empires series when I was younger and really wish I had the ability to play AoE IV.
  • Wait a bit.
    It is rumored on its way.
  • Starcraft 3 with console controller support
  • Pitfall. All day Pitfall
  • This is not new and I'm sure other people feel. The same way, but new games take too much time and energy. Everytime I take a break from spiderman or God of War, I have to relearn the whole damn game when I go to play. Titles like spyro and crash and Mario are so simple you can come back after months and just pick up and play. There are so many titles from. The 90s and 00s that fit this need perfectly. More than anything, I just want msoft to take the time to just get these older games to simply run on windows 11 and let people play these classic games as they are.