Browder shines on ‘Starcraft II’

Blizzard designer gets rockstar treatment on launch

On a recent July day in Paris, game developer Dustin Browder was living like an international rock star, doling out autographs and chatting with fans.

The lead designer on Activision-Blizzard’s “Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty,” one of the most anticipated vidgame titles of the year, was in the City of Light for one of many midnight launches held worldwide for the game. Nearly 1,500 people showed up in the rain there to buy the game the instant it went on sale, July 22, and to get Browder to sign their copy.

Browder oversaw the sequel to a game that has remained popular for the past 12 years — in South Korea two TV networks are dedicated to airing “Starcraft” tournaments.

Browder not only oversaw the making of “Starcraft II,” he also stars in it — kind of. His face was the inspiration for an in-game character: the Spartan Co. Goliath.

A 15-year vet of the gaming industry, Browder became interested in making games at age 10, when he got a copy of “Dungeons and Dragons.” Top sellers among his credits include “Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth,” both for Electronic Arts.

In 2005, Browder jumped at the chance to join Blizzard, seen by many as the industry’s top developer. Besides EA, he had also worked for Activision and for Simon and Schuster Interactive.

“I wanted to make great games,” he says. “And I always felt like I was struggling in other organizations to do that. There were financial and calendar goals that exceeded quality goals.”

Besides, how many companies let you be your own Goliath?

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