After nearly since 20 years its release, the popular game StarCraft has been made free. Along with this original game, Blizzard has also made the Brood War expansion free for both PC and Mac. If it weren’t free, it would cost you $10 to $15.

StarCraft Free
Image Source: StarCraft/YouTube (screenshot)

What the 1.18 patch includes

The news that the game will be made free came a couple of weeks ago when Blizzard said the original version of both StarCraft and Brood War would be made free in April, alongside a new 1.18 patch. At that time, the company also announced a face-lift for the classic RTS (StarCraft Remastered) and its Brood War expansion.

On Tuesday, Blizzard released the 1.18 patch, which included long-standing bug fixes, some changes to back-end code, better compatibility with Windows 10, a borderless windowed mode, and more. Along with the patch, the company also made the games free. You can find the details here.

However, according to PCWorld, the 1.18 build lacks the custom hotkey feature. It’s probably being withheld for the Remastered version over the summer, or it could make its way out via another patch. 1.18 is the first patch in about eight years, and it applies to the Brood War expansion also.

StarCraft: a classic game

When StarCraft was launched in 1998, it became a massive success in South Korea. It almost gained the status of a national sport in the country, as, “Professional teams, tournaments, and TV channels sprung up around the game,” according to The Verge. A sequel to the game was released in 2010 and further pushed up the interest in e-sports.

“StarCraft is a pure distillation of Blizzard’s DNA—its story, its balance, and all the little details reflect our long-running commitment to epic entertainment, and it’s been a staple in competitive gaming and esports for almost 20 years,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard, according to Express.

Talking of StarCraft: Remastered, the CEO said, “We’re modernising the original game’s visuals, audio, and online support to ensure that players can enjoy StarCraft for another 20 years and beyond.”

Why is Blizzard making it free now?

One may wonder why after almost 20 long years, the company is making the game free. The answer could be that Blizzard will release a remastered version of the game with overhauled graphic and sound systems to better meet the current tech. StarCraft Remastered promises full 4K graphics as well.

So these updates will make the original version very outdated. By making it free, the company wants to encourage gamers who have not yet tried the game to give it a shot and hopefully win over a few new fans, notes TechCrunch. It’s also good news for players who always wanted to play this popular game but were not able to.

According to Blizzard, owners of the original game and the Remastered version will be able to play each other online. There is still no information on the exact release date or price for StarCraft Remastered.