As the newly released World of Warcraft was dominating the 2000s, Blizzard's then-president had his own priorities—working on StarCraft 1 patches

 Mike Morhaime talks to a reporter. .
Credit: Neville Elder/Corbis via Getty Images

Update: Blizzard co-founder and former CEO / President Mike Morhaime got back to PCG shortly after publication.

"Feargus [Urquhart] and I worked together many years ago when he was a producer at Interplay," writes Morhaime. "Blizzard did a lot of work in the early days with Interplay. I ported Rock N’ Roll Racing to the Sega Genesis, and Feargus was my producer. We’ve kept in touch and still connect for lunch every so often.

"For the first few years after StarCraft was released I worked on all the patches. In addition to bug fixing, I was the one running the build scripts to create the patches and uploading the patches to I wasn’t doing much programming post Warcraft III, but I do remember years later, the team reaching out to see if I wanted to look at a graphical bug in some of my code, and I remember looking into it. The bug was related to certain building animations not playing properly. I always enjoyed working directly on our games. That’s probably what I was talking to Feargus about.

"I am very proud of how we continued supporting our games for years after release."

Original story: PC Gamer recently sat down with Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart during the summer game showcases in Los Angeles, and in a wide-ranging interview briefly talked about game preservation, and what studios can do with their older titles to keep them playable as long as possible.

During a chat about a recent Pillars of Eternity patch (and the sad revelation that Obsidian is not working on an Unreal Engine 5 version of Alpha Protocol, darn), Urquhart recalled an anecdote about Blizzard in the 2000s. Obsidian itself came out of the closure of Black Isle Studios and, like Blizzard, is based in Irvine, California, with plenty of staff moving between the studios over the years.

The talk about the various Unreal Engines "reminds me of how there were still Warcraft 2 patches or Warcraft 3 patches coming out," said Urquhart, "but Starcraft 1… What people don't know about StarCraft 1 patches is that, OK he stopped doing it at one point in time, but for a long time [Blizzard CEO] Mike Morhaime was still a programmer on StarCraft 1 doing patches."

Mike Morhaime is one of the three co-founders of Blizzard Entertainment and, until his departure in 2018, acted as company president and CEO. In other words, this is probably the single most senior figure at the company, in the years after World of Warcraft became the biggest game in the world, working on patches for a strategy game released in the late 1990s.

I would have lunch with him, and he's like 'I'm working on StarCraft.'

"Wow, I mean, this is years and years ago he stopped it," laughs Urquhart, "but I would have lunch with him. And he's like 'I'm working on StarCraft'. I actually know World of Warcraft was already out, because I remember at that lunch they'd just put into effect the feature where you could move a character from one server to another server. So that must have been 2005-2006?

"And StarCraft 1 was released in 1998 or something like that. Yeah, so Mike probably was working on StarCraft patches for like six or eight years at least," laughs Urquhart, "and he's the president of Blizzard."

The making of StarCraft is a story unto itself, but one thing that's always been clear is that these games were a labour of love for Blizzard. Sadly, with development on StarCraft 2 ended several years ago, there's no news of what future (if any) there is for one of the world's great RTS series. Mike Ybarra said it may even return as a different genre (no thanks).