WarCraft Was Originally Conceived in Part as "Lost Vikings Meets RTS"... And Lemmings

WarCraft Was Originally Conceived in Part as "Lost Vikings Meets RTS"... And Lemmings

And that's how a genre is born.

How do build a brand new genre? You mash a couple other genres together (see: League of Legends, PUBG, and a whole lot of other things). And that's exactly what happened with real-time strategy, which has been enjoying a moment in the sun this week courtesy of StarCraft Remastered.

While WarCraft: Orcs and Humans wasn't the first RTS ever—that honor goes to Westwood Studios and Dune 2—it was still a very new idea when Blizzard set to work on their first RTS back in 1994.

In Kotaku's history of WarCraft, Patrick Wyatt talked about the team playing Dune 2 and wanting to develop their own version, but as a multiplayer game.

But long-time Blizzard employee Bob Fitch, who later joined Wyatt as a programmer, recalls an extra wrinkle. Having just finished The Lost Vikings, they wanted to make something like it as an RTS. And they were further inspired by how cool it was to direct hordes of Lemmings.

"It was originally based on Lost Vikings meets RTS. I know that for a fact," Fitch recalls. "We also liked the Lemmings game. We just went, 'Oh it's so cool when you see lots of Lemmings all over the place. Why don't we have lots of Vikings all over instead, and then the Vikings can fight each other."

From there, he says, it steadily evolved into the fantasy RTS that we all know and love. Of course, while Fitch denies any of the persistent connections to Warhammer, Wyatt has said that the art was indeed inspired by the Games Workshop property. Success has many inspirations, it seems.

WarCraft has since grown to encompass three main games, an MMORPG, a popular CCG, and one middling feature film. And it all started in part because Blizzard thought it would be cool to mash-up The Lost Vikings and Lemmings with Dune 2.

As for Fitch, he's still at Blizzard, having worked on everything from Death and Return of Superman to Hearthstone. I talked to him about his early days working on StarCraft, which will be going up later this afternoon. Stay tuned!

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

Read this next

Kunai Is The Best Feeling Platformer I've Played Since Dead Cells

This tiny robot samurai wins with precise platforming action.

What's Your Favorite Console Revision?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | The Switch Lite is out today, so let's look back on the history of console revisions.

FIFA 20 Review: This Year's Version Takes to the Streets, But It's Strongest on the Pitch

A brand new mode and some much-improved gameplay highlight an ambitious update for FIFA.

Spiritfarer's Art Director on Encouraging Relaxation, Exploration, and Just Chilling on a Boat

How Spirited Away led to a cozy management sim about the afterlife.

Borderlands 3's First Limited-Time Event Will Be a Free Halloween Ghoul Hunt

All Borderlands 3 players will have a few weeks to scoop up some creepy loot and take down a boney boss.

Apple Arcade Brings Game Pricing Concerns Back to the Forefront

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Will successful subscription services turn into their own walled gardens?

More News

Spiritfarer's Art Director on Encouraging Relaxation, Exploration, and Just Chilling on a Boat

How Spirited Away led to a cozy management sim about the afterlife.

Borderlands 3's First Limited-Time Event Will Be a Free Halloween Ghoul Hunt

All Borderlands 3 players will have a few weeks to scoop up some creepy loot and take down a boney boss.

Street Fighter 2's Creator on Why Blocking Was Once a Controversial Issue

A creator and a pro sit down to talk blocking in fighting games.

More on PC

Kunai Is The Best Feeling Platformer I've Played Since Dead Cells

This tiny robot samurai wins with precise platforming action.

FIFA 20 Review: This Year's Version Takes to the Streets, But It's Strongest on the Pitch

A brand new mode and some much-improved gameplay highlight an ambitious update for FIFA.

Spiritfarer's Art Director on Encouraging Relaxation, Exploration, and Just Chilling on a Boat

How Spirited Away led to a cozy management sim about the afterlife.

Borderlands 3's First Limited-Time Event Will Be a Free Halloween Ghoul Hunt

All Borderlands 3 players will have a few weeks to scoop up some creepy loot and take down a boney boss.

Apple Arcade Brings Game Pricing Concerns Back to the Forefront

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Will successful subscription services turn into their own walled gardens?

Untitled Goose Game Review

What if Agent 47 was a rude goose who was down to clown?