Blizzard North

Last updated
Blizzard North
Industry Interactive entertainment
Products Justice League Task Force , Diablo , Diablo II , Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Blizzard North was the Bay Area division of Blizzard Entertainment, known for its Diablo series. The studio was originally based in Redwood City, California, before moving a short distance away to San Mateo, with Blizzard proper being based in Irvine, southern California.

San Francisco Bay Area Conurbation in California, United States

The San Francisco Bay Area is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun Bay estuaries in the northern part of the U.S. state of California. Although the exact boundaries of the region vary depending on the source, the Bay Area is defined by the Association of Bay Area Governments to include the nine counties that border the aforementioned estuaries: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, and San Francisco. Other sources may exclude parts of or even entire counties, or expand the definition to include neighboring counties that don't border the bay such as San Benito, San Joaquin, and Santa Cruz.

Blizzard Entertainment video game publisher and developer

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Irvine, California, and is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. The company was founded on February 8, 1991, under the name Silicon & Synapse, Inc. by three graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles: Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce and Allen Adham. The company originally concentrated on the creation of game ports for other studios' games before beginning development of their own software in 1993 with games like Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. In 1994 the company became Chaos Studios, Inc., then Blizzard Entertainment after being acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates.

<i>Diablo</i> (series) video game series

Diablo is an action role-playing hack and slash dungeon crawler video game series developed by Blizzard North and continued by Blizzard Entertainment after the north studio shutdown in 2005. The series is made up of three core games: Diablo, Diablo II, and Diablo III. Expansions include the third-party published Hellfire, which follows the first game, Lord of Destruction, published by Blizzard and released after the second game, and Reaper of Souls, which follows the third game. Additional content is provided through story elements explored in other media forms.



Blizzard North was founded in 1993 under the name Condor by David Brevik, Erich Schaefer and Max Schaefer at the request of Brevik. [1] David Brevik served as the president of the company between 1993-2003, while the Schaefer brothers held the Vice President positions in the company. The company was purchased and renamed as Blizzard North by Blizzard Entertainment's former owner Davidson & Associates about nine months before the release of their hit PC game Diablo in 1996. [2] [3] However, Blizzard North had complete autonomy from Blizzard Entertainment while David Brevik and the Schaefer brothers continued to manage the company respectively as the President and Vice Presidents. [4] Diablo was highly successful, and its 2000 sequel Diablo II even more so. An expansion pack, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction , followed the year after.

David Brevik American video game developer

David Brevik is an American video game designer, producer and programmer who served as the co-founder and president of Blizzard North. He is best known for the critically acclaimed Diablo franchise. Currently he serves as game designer and founder of his independent studio, Graybeard Games.

Davidson & Associates Defunct Education software developer

Davidson & Associates, Inc. was an American developer of educational software based in Torrance, California. The company was founded in 1984 by husband-and-wife Bob and Jan Davidson, the latter of whom led the company as president until January 1997. Specializing in the production of edutainment software, the company was acquired by CUC International in February 1996 and served as the base for CUC's CUC Software division, being made responsible for the sales and distribution of the combined company.

<i>Diablo</i> (video game) 1996 video game

Diablo is an action role-playing hack and slash video game developed by Blizzard North and released by Blizzard Entertainment on December 31, 1996.

By June 2003 two new games were in production. The first game in production was Blizzard North's version of Diablo III which later was scrapped and restarted by Blizzard Entertainment. The second game was Diablo-like game which would take place in space. On June 30, however, several key employees left Blizzard North to form two new companies. Eight moved to form Flagship Studios, including Blizzard North founder and president David Brevik, the Schaefer brothers and Bill Roper who was transferred from Blizzard Entertainment to Blizzard North in late 1996. Another nine employees left to form Castaway Entertainment.[ citation needed ] By the time the exodus concluded, around 30 employees had left the company.

<i>Diablo III</i> action role-playing video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment

Diablo III is a dungeon crawler hack-and-slash action role-playing game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment as the third installment in the Diablo franchise. It was released for Microsoft Windows and OS X in May 2012, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in September 2013, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in August 2014, and the Nintendo Switch in November 2018. In the game, players choose to play as one of seven character classes – Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, Witch Doctor, or Wizard – and are tasked with defeating the Lord of Terror, Diablo, as in previous games in the series.

Flagship Studios flagship project

Flagship Studios was a computer game company founded by Bill Roper along with Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, and David Brevik, former high level Blizzard North executives. The core personnel of Flagship Studios had been collaborating as a team since 1993 when they founded Condor Studios and in addition to creating the Diablo franchise many were key high level executives in the development of Warcraft, StarCraft and World of Warcraft games. Flagship Studios was formed following the resignation en masse of Blizzard North management following a dispute with Blizzard Entertainment parent company Vivendi regarding the potential fate of the company, development team, and titles, which were in doubt at that time. Flagship Studio's primary target platform for their games was the PC.

Bill Roper may refer to:

The resignations were partly due to a conflict with Blizzard Entertainment's owner, Vivendi, and partly due to employees wishing to start something new. Back at Blizzard North, however, the resignations had a common effect; of the two unannounced games that were in production, one was canceled. Blizzard Entertainment has since said the canceled game was a "Blizzard North kind of game."[ citation needed ]

Vivendi French media company

Vivendi SA is a French mass media conglomerate headquartered in Paris. The company has activities in music, television, film, video games, book publishing, telecommunications, tickets and video hosting service.

On August 1, 2005, Blizzard Entertainment announced the closure of Blizzard North. A key reason for the closure was Blizzard North's poor development of what was to be Diablo III, which did not meet Vivendi's expectations. Former Blizzard North staffers including Joseph Lawrence, Wyatt Cheng, and Matt Uelmen subsequently appeared in the credits of Blizzard's next retail release, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade . The work of former Blizzard North artist Phroilan Gardner was featured in editions of World of Warcraft: The Trading Card Game around the same time.

Matt Uelmen Video game composer

Matthew Francis "Matt" Uelmen is an American video game music composer and sound designer. He is best known for his work in Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo series, which was recognized with the inaugural Excellence in Audio award by the IGDA in 2001. He also worked as a sound designer for the real-time strategy game StarCraft, and worked on World of Warcraft's expansion The Burning Crusade in 2007. From 2009 until the studio's closure in 2017, Matt Uelmen worked as a member of the Runic Games team, as a composer and sound designer for the Torchlight games.

<i>World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade</i> expansion set for the MMORPG World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade is the first expansion set for the MMORPG World of Warcraft. It was released on January 16, 2007 at local midnight in Europe and North America, selling nearly 2.4 million copies on release day alone and making it, at the time, the fastest-selling PC game released at that point. Approximately 3.53 million copies were sold in the first month of release, including 1.9 million in North America, over 100,000 copies in Australasia, and nearly 1.6 million in Europe.

<i>World of Warcraft Trading Card Game</i> collectible card game

The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game was a collectible card game based on Blizzard Entertainment's MMORPG, World of Warcraft. The game was announced by Upper Deck Entertainment on August 18, 2005 and released on October 25, 2006. Players can fight against each other one-on-one, or can join others in order to defeat dungeon/raid bosses based on those in the MMORPG. In March 2010, Upper Deck Entertainment lost the license from Blizzard Entertainment. On March 24, 2010 Cryptozoic Entertainment announced the acquisition of the game's license and that planned card sets would be released.

A few employees from the Diablo team, including Eric Sexton, Michio Okamura, and Steven Woo, organized to launch a new company, Hyboreal Games. [5]

Michio Okamura Japanese video game designer

Michio Okamura is a computer game developer and artist. He was the lead artist for the popular computer game Diablo, and senior artist on Diablo II. He designed many of the game's characters, including the title character. He is currently the Creative Director at U.I. Pacific.


As Condor

As Blizzard North


See also

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  1. "Indie Insider Podcast with David Brevik".
  2. "Davidson & Associates, Inc. Signs a Definitive Merger Agreement With Condor, Inc". PR Newswire. 1996-03-06. Retrieved 2009-09-28.[ dead link ]
  3. "Merger Madness Continues". GamePro . No. 94. IDG. July 1996. p. 16. Condor's name will change to Blizzard North as it finishes up Diablo, an eagerly awaited RPG due next month.
  4. "Escapist Magazine - The Rise of Blizzard".
  5. Hyboreal Games Q&A - Shacknews - PC Games, PlayStation, Xbox 360 and Wii video game news, previews and downloads Archived October 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine