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Microsoft’s Sarah Bond nourishes StarCraft fans’ hopes at TGS

The StarCraft community, for one, welcomes its new overlords
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If there is one group of gamers that unequivocally welcomes the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, which recently cleared the hurdle of a provisional approval by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) in the United Kingdom, it’s the community of StarCraft. Long have fans of the real-time strategy franchise felt neglected by the company’s leadership, whereas Microsoft has actively invested into Age of Empires with the release of Age of Empires 4 and the continued support of older titles in the series.

Naturally, StarCraft’s fans hope that some of that attention will fall to the IP they love once the deal has been completed. Not without reason: Microsoft is investing into more old-school PC genres and series to bolster its PC Game Pass offerings. One representative of the company told me at gamescom 2023 that the support of Age of Empires and the development of 4X turn-based strategy title Ara: History Untold are two of the cornerstones of this strategy – and adding StarCraft to this must seem like a no-brainer from Microsoft’s perspective. As one of the most iconic RTS series in the history of video games, a revival of the IP would score easy sympathy points.

Xbox and Activision Blizzard logos in white on top of a collage of game characters from Activision Blizzard games.

Microsoft has been diligent about including neglected Activision Blizzard IP in its messaging.

Corporate VP at Xbox, Sarah Bond, seemed to agree with this sentiment during a Q&A round at Tokyo Game Show 2023. When asked which series or game she’d like to see a revival the most, Bond stated: “Well, it’s not me so much, but especially since I’ve been here this week, a lot of fans – and I’ve had a lot of people ask me about it in interviews – have said StarCraft.”

“So, I know a lot of you want that, which is what’s most important,” she said while gesturing towards the audience. “It’ll be fun to see if that’s something that we can do in the future.”

Best hold off on the hopium for now, since the Activision Blizzard acquisition is not quite through at this point, but the signs and portents all seem to indicate that StarCraft won’t rest in the grave forever.

As for Microsoft’s current RTS ambitions, Age of Empires 4 is soon to get a brand-new expansion called The Sultans Ascend, which will introduce the concept of Variant Civilizations.