Blizzard Entertainment is one of the computer game industry's most successful development studios. Originally founded in 1991 under the name Silicon & Synapse, they were closely associated with Interplay Entertainment
in their early years, producing ports of sundry Interplay games as well as several original titles developed primarily for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System
. After renaming themselves Blizzard and moving to computer games in 1994, the studio released a Real-Time Strategy
game called Warcraft: Orcs and Humans
. The rest, as they clichédly say, is history.
After the name-change, the studio has made very few games, but the ones that are published are usually very high-quality and instant best-sellers. Many attribute the success of Blizzard games to their "easy to learn, difficult to master" philosophy, which results in games that are simple and intuitive enough to appeal to casual gamers while also having enough depth and complexity to attract hardcore gamers. Warcraft 1
was followed by Warcraft 2
, the studio's first Game of the Year, which led to StarCraft
, the most popular RTS ever. Diablo
and its sequel created their own genre of Hack and Slash
RPGs and Warcraft 3
was a breakthrough in strategy game storytelling. And then there is World of Warcraft
Another notable quality of Blizzard's work is its elaborate, yet ignored, plots
. However, their storytelling is profitable enough to have spawned expanded universes
and sold thousands of novels and comics. See the Warcraft Expanded Universe
page as an example.
For a time, the company focused on three franchises: Warcraft
. At BlizzCon 2014, they announced Overwatch
, a Pixar-esque mutliplayer team-based shooter game, and their first new IP (that is, not based on a previous source) in nearly two decades.
Tropes that apply to Blizzard and its games:
- April Fools' Day: Blizzard makes it a tradition to release some preposterously bogus info on their new games during April Fools Day.
- Subverted when one of the jokes was about a new hero unit for Warcraft III, The Goblin Tinker. Even though it was a joke, they added the hero to the game anyway some months after.
- That was in addition to another joke about playable two-headed ogres in World of Warcraft, with some hints given that one of the two jokes was serious.
- Baa Bomb: Exploding critters are a given in any Blizzard game.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Warcraft I, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Starcraft: Brood War and Diablo I and II.... They are rather fond of this trope.
- Cutscene: While the games themselves are designed to work on weaker PCs, the cinematics are always state of the art.
- Cash Cow Franchise: All of them. Mainly because...
- Doing It for the Art: ...the company has very high self-imposed quality standards, and has flat-out cancelled games which weren't passing muster. And those that did often had a long development cycle.
- Downer Ending/Bittersweet Ending: Fairly common in Blizzard games.
- Diablo III also has a Bittersweet Ending: you've taken down Diablo and saved two worlds, but two of the franchise's most beloved characters are now dead (as well as a lot of other people throughout the course of the game), and the killer of one of them is still out there.
- Fallen Hero: More often than not, villains in Blizzard's games fit this trope. The scarlet crusade can be considered an entire faction of fallen heroes.
- First Law of Resurrection: Starting with World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, where Illidan comes back as a major villain despite the fact that he was believed to be killed by Arthas, Blizzard is frequently accused of abusing this trope. This is also the origin of the meme "X was merely a setback!", first said by Kael'thas Sunstrider the second time you fight him at the end of Magister's terrace in the same expansion. Blizzard themselves acknowledged and exploited this meme.
- Flavor Text: For every unit.
- Genre Savvy: Often Dangerously Genre Savvy.
- Large Ham: Blizzard games universally have the most flat out over-the-top voice acting you will find in a video game, or any other medium, really.
- Norse Mythology: A prominent influence in several of their games.
- Rated M for Manly: Diablo has specifically been described as "what happens when you give the RPG genre from the Japanese into the hands of meat-eating Americans." The other franchises show symptoms too.
- Schedule Slip: The Blizzard maxim for games is: "It's done when it's done." Most of the time it works out.
- It's hard to tell if they're being serious or not (Or even BOTH), but this press release seems to have the official company stance on "soon". Click for the Small Print
- Vaporware — StarCraft: Ghost provides the exception to the rule - over 10 years after its initial announcement, the last that's been heard on it is that it's been "postponed indefinitely" since 2006. The protagonist on StarCraft: Ghost however has went on to appear in its parent series' games and novels without her own game.
- Ditto Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, a point-and-click adventure game that was intended to bridge the gap between Warcraft II and Warcraft III. The game was canceled because Blizzard felt that it didn't live up to the company's high standards (the animations were done by the same people responsible for The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games), and the game's story was instead released as a novel.
- Again with Titan, a seven year project to make a next-gen MMO, that was canceled in 2014 due to not "find[ing] the fun".
- Secret Level: Blizzard loves sneaking secret levels into their games.
- Stop Poking Me: Invented in Warcraft and named in that same series. Used in almost all Blizzard games.
- Take That/Take That, Us: Blizzard is quite fond of this trope, fitting in various Take That jokes at themselves as well as their fanbase. Given the nature of their fanbase...it's pretty much a given.
- Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: Amongst the various things they're known for is having a higher turnover rate for community managers and forum moderators than the inventory in a bakery. As a result, a number of developers flat out refuse to speak to their customers, while others have had famous outbursts.
- It's not been truly confirmed, but there was some talk about their fans being one of the reasons they canned Blizz Con 2012.
- World of Badass: Hell, EVERYONE! They even chew the scenery a lot even by the over the top dialogues that they make.
- World of Ham: See World of Badass above.