Yesterday, Blizzard posted a story I wrote for them for StarCraft II, the latest installment of the best-selling real-time strategy (RTS) of all time. It’s called “Lost Vikings,” and its about a unit of terran pilots who try to save their adopted planet by fighting off an alien (zerg) invasion, hoping to delay the attackers long enough for their friends and family to escape. They fly convertible starcraft called Vikings, which can serve double duty as both aerial fighters and ground-combat troops.
Sharp-eyed readers with long memories may recognize that The Lost Vikings was also the title of one of Blizzard’s first video games, a side-scroller that came out for the Super Nintendo (SNES) back in 1992. The story features a number of callbacks to that piece of gaming history. Even so, I’m not the first person working with StarCraft to do something like this. If you wander into the cantina of Jim Raynor’s ship Hyperion in StarCraft II, you can even find a standup arcade console in which you can play a video game called The Lost Viking.
I had a great time with the story, even though it involved one of the most rigorous editorial processes I’ve ever had my work run through. The Blizzard folks — especially James Waugh, Cameron Dayton, and Cate Gary — know their craft and their audience, and I appreciated every bit of the help. When millions of eyes may read a story like this, it pays to be both thorough and patient.
You can read the story for free on the StarCraft II website, along with other great tales by James and Cameron and Micky Neilson, plus SF luminaries like David Gerrold, Antony Johnston, and Alex Irvine. From the story’s page, you can also download a free, 32-page PDF of the tale and even a set of wallpapers featuring the story’s cover illustration.
It’s a great package for a fun tale, and I hope you enjoy it.