Author: Blizzard North almost had a sports division

In last week's chat with author David Craddock about his upcoming book, Stay Awhile and Listen, about the behind-the-scenes look at Blizzard Entertainment, we learned that hardcore mode almost made it into the original Dianlo. This week, we turn back the clock a bit further to find out a bit about Condor, the company co-founded by Dave Brevik and Max and Erich Schaefer.

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In last week's chat with author David Craddock about his upcoming book, Stay Awhile and Listen, about the behind-the-scenes look at Blizzard Entertainment, we learned that hardcore mode almost made it into the original Diablo. This week, we turn back the clock a bit further to find out a bit about Condor, the company co-founded by Dave Brevik and Max and Erich Schaefer. Condor had published three games after it was formed in 1993. Two of those games were sports games, NFL Quarterback Club '95 and NFL Quarterback Club '96.

A 3DO M2 prototype

"Through a publishing contact Max and Erich had met earlier on, the Condor founders signed a deal with 3DO to create a football game for the M2, an add-on for the 3DO console that never materialized," Craddock said. "The lucrative deal was just what Dave Brevik and the Schaefers needed to continue funding Diablo--then a turn-based game--and hire on more programmers and artists. The football game was an arcade-style romp, much like NFL Blitz. Around the time Davidson & Associates acquired Condor, 3DO abandoned the M2 and sold off the technology, putting the football game out to pasture." When acquisition talks were under way in 1996 with Davidson, a surprise suitor for Condor materialized. "During negotiations, Trip Hawkins of 3DO made a pitch to acquire the company," Craddock said. "Condor and 3DO had already established a relationship working on the football game for the M2, but Condor turned down the offer because Hawkins wanted to fold Condor into 3DO, and Condor wanted autonomy." After Diablo was released, Condor, now known as Blizzard North, was trying to decide on its next project. "Many of the guys at North were sports fans, especially Dave Brevik and the Schaefers," Craddock said. "After Diablo was finished, the guys talked to Blizzard about starting a sports game division. The south branch thought they intended to create arcade-style titles in the vein of Blood Bowl, a fantasy football board game, but Dave wanted to do a simulation-style football game, an RPG-like experience where players started out in high school and worked their way into the pros. But both Blizzard North and South agreed that North should focus on Diablo, and work on a sequel began."

Diablo 2 almost had a smaller team working on the game.

Craddock said that Diablo 2 would have happened anyway, but that the sports division would have been a small slice of Blizzard North, not the full company. One team would have worked on Diablo while a smaller unit would have made sports games. Future stories from Craddock will include behind-the-scenes details on the Diablo games, StarCraft, the Warcraft series and World of Warcraft. Craddock and Shacknews will also bring you a week of book coverage during the week of October 29, featuring an in-depth interview with the author and a full chapter from his book.
Author David Craddock has been working on his book about Blizzard Entertainment since mid-2008. Entitled Stay Awhile and Listen, the unauthorized book talks to nearly 80 former employees, including those who used to work at Blizzard, Condor (later Blizzard North), and Silicon & Synapse (Blizzard's original name when it was founded), as well as people who had regular dealings with Blizzard head honchos Mike Morhaime and Allen Adham. Shacknews is pleased to offer a steady stream of stories from the book each Monday leading up to October 29. The book launches early next year. and will be published by Digital Monument Press.
Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 10, 2012 8:15 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Author: Blizzard North almost had a sports division.

    In last week's chat with author David Craddock about his upcoming book, Stay Awhile and Listen, about the behind-the-scenes look at Blizzard Entertainment, we learned that hardcore mode almost made it into the original Dianlo. This week, we turn back the clock a bit further to find out a bit about Condor, the company co-founded by Dave Brevik and Max and Erich Schaefer.

    • reply
      September 10, 2012 8:40 AM

      Part two of David Craddock's stories from his upcoming book on Blizzard.

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      September 10, 2012 8:52 AM

      One interesting part of the M2 football game is, its development happened in tandem to Diablo. All the guys working on the football game practically drooled with envy as Diablo came together and became more and more addictive. When Condor was acquired and 3DO dropped the M2, releasing Condor/Blizzard North from their contract, the ex-football game developers threw themselves at Diablo's task list, eager to do any work that needed to be done.

      One of Diablo's most iconic NPCs came about that way, actually. Which one? Well, I'll tell you. It was just kidding. Can't tell ya. ;)

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      September 10, 2012 10:55 AM

      Not all Shackers fear sports, right?

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        September 10, 2012 11:02 AM

        Diablo, Warcraft, or StarCraft were not in the headline ;)

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        September 10, 2012 11:41 AM

        I would suck a grown man's dick for a real sports game made by a legit PC dev. Dear Valve, hire a bunch of creative people and make a football game, pls.

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          September 10, 2012 1:26 PM

          Yes, I think its time for Madden to return to the computer at least. Madden 08 was the last version...

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      September 10, 2012 12:47 PM

      These articles are really cool. Can't wait to read the next ones!

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      September 10, 2012 1:11 PM

      the original "dianlo" eh? :)

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        September 10, 2012 1:27 PM

        Yes. Diablo's effeminate cousin.

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          September 10, 2012 2:05 PM

          I hate that I can't fix summaries. I edit my main story and forget to fix it in the summary (and the summary is what appears in Chatty)

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            September 10, 2012 2:14 PM

            Do you have any TV-related experience? If so you may be able to fix all your problems!

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      September 10, 2012 1:37 PM

      I'm really looking forward to this book.

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        September 10, 2012 1:45 PM

        Be sure to mark 10/29 on your calendar, then. :) Shack's got lots of content planned for that week, including a full chapter from the book.

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          September 10, 2012 4:51 PM

          Actually mark 10/29 - 11/2 on the calendar ;)

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