Not content to provide a single graphic redesign of the 1998 StarCraft classic, last month's publisher, Blizzard, released StarCraft: Cartooned, a second remaster that presents the seminal RTS in an adorable 2D aesthetic. A collaboration between the animators of Blizzard and YouTube, Carbot Animations, the project began in mid-2018, drawing and animating Carbot every image of recreation from the ground up.
The company was discouraging for the young animation studio. He had contributed to various versions of Blizzard, including Heroes of the Storm, but Cartooned was a project of a new scale. Of course, Carbot has shown up, reinventing the story of StarCraft in a fun way for both old and new players – and also inspired the holding to production of a game apart .
"Blizzard immediately took care of us – it was just me at the time – and they presented us on their website," says Jonathan Burton, founder of Carbot Animation. "It happened very quickly. In the first month we had 25,000 subscribers and from there we continued to grow. "
As an animation student at Sheridan College in Ontario, Burton decided to start creating videos on YouTube in the summer of 2012. A staunch StarCraft player, he directed a weekly series of short films titled "StarCrafts" that quickly spread through friends who shared them in Twitch and other discussions. Soon, Blizzard knocked on his door and asked to work together. From then on, the situation continued to grow – including the hiring of half a dozen part-time and full-time animators.
Three years after the first episode of StarCrafts, Carbot funded a mod for StarCraft 2 integrating its animations to the game. The campaign was a success, the mod was a success in the community and the team proved that it was a great success. she could do more than produce short videos. According to Burton, it was at this point that Blizzard decided to do something more substantial with Carbot's drawings.
As the twentieth anniversary of StarCraft loomed on the horizon, Blizzard arrived in Burton a few months before the release of StarCraft: Remastered with the proposal to suspend the celebrations with a second remastered designed by Carbot. Burton has jumped on the occasion, but redesigning a whole game is not easy, especially a game that is decades old.
"StarCraft is built very clumsily. They did a lot of things to save space, "says Burton. "In a walking cycle, each image has a different size because it would literally cut out any extra space to save memory. This means that executives move technically to the center [on] where is the character. Fortunately, I did not have to deal with this; they did it. I just had to create the art and then they had to implement it. "
I'd love to do our own game by parodying Blizzard's IP address – maybe someday
In addition to minor restrictions (blood was banned from complying with China's stricter classification laws), Mr. Carbot was given carte blanche to produce a complete redux of assets while Blizzard was in charge. of engineering. This allowed the team to come up with their own idea: "At the installation levels of the campaign, marine bodies were torn apart, with marine parts on the ground," says Burton. "Instead, we put a group of marines and ghosts that fainted because they were having a party too loudly. There is a lampshade on one of them, there are drinks in their hands, things like that.
Cartooned has been tested by StarCraft pros, whose reactions, fortunately, have been minimal. Some units, such as Zealots and the High Templar, have been modified to give a more distinctive look to congested battles. Burton's team took the opportunity to add more flair and, overall, feels that it finds the ideal compromise between bringing a new look and that everything visibly matches its older counterpart.
As a fan of the old school, the concert gave Burton the opportunity to incorporate jokes into the countless hours spent playing with his brothers. "We always thought that the robotic installation looked like a group of vacuum cleaners," he recalls. "That's what we did; if you look at the Cartooned version, it's a group of vacuum cleaners sitting on a disc. And also the Fleet Beacon, it seems like there's a giant gun coming out of it's side, so I made a giant gun coming out of the side. "
Working with Blizzard was seamless. When Carbot proposed to create a trailer that differentiates between Cartooned and realistic graphics, Blizzard immediately gave the green light to the model. Initially, it was planned to reproduce the trailer of Brood War, then to move to 2D, but it was decided to shorten the steps and present the caricature models earlier than expected, which gives the tape announces a unique style.
Burton talks a lot about his team's relationship with Blizzard, which is refreshing in a sector where big companies do not always show commitment to their customers, not even their full-time employees. Burton is more than ever ready to fulfill his childhood dream and create his own game – and he always has ideas for every time Blizzard calls again.
"I'd love to play BlizzCraft: The Game, or something like that," he laughs. "Have our own parody Blizzard IP game. It would be really cool to do it – maybe one day they would like to see it. "