Pub­lisher Ac­claim En­ter­tain­ment De­vel­oper Con­dor For­mat Mega Drive Re­lease 1995


“While we were mak­ing NBA Jam, Jeff got mar­ried and de­cided to move the com­pany to Texas. I didn’t want to move,

so I started my own de­vel­op­ment com­pany, which I named Con­dor and which even­tu­ally be­came Bliz­zard North. I had con­nec­tions from work­ing at Iguana. I knew Ac­claim, and I knew an­other com­pany called Sun­soft, and through that we were able to get game con­tracts and have work right off the bat. I formed the com­pany with two artists I’d met along the way, Max and Eric Schae­fer.

Sun­soft was try­ing con­vince us that we should do the Aero­smith game [ Rev­o­lu­tion X]. But we were stick­ing to our guns on this one, and wanted to do this DC Comics game called Jus­tice League Task Force. It was on the Ge­n­e­sis and was ba­si­cally a

Street Fighter clone, but you played as Su­per­man, Bat­man, Won­der Woman and Aqua­man. We knew very lit­tle about fight­ing games, but this was a real op­por­tu­nity for us. We cre­ated this com­pany, made all of our tools and tech­nol­ogy – as well as a code base that we could use in the fu­ture – and started mak­ing Jus­tice League. It was on time, on bud­get, and every­thing went well, but it was a new ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with DC.

We would have to take our hand-drawn an­i­ma­tion and sprites, then send the game, video and art as­sets to DC to be ap­proved. This was kind of a new thing for DC, too – they hadn’t done many li­censed prod­ucts at the time, so they were learn­ing as well. One of the batches we sent off while we were work­ing on Su­per­man came back and the notes said, ‘Su­per­man can’t kick.’ Like, what? What does that even mean? You know this is a fight­ing game, right? There are two things you can do: punch, and kick… They’re like, ‘Su­per­man doesn’t kick in the comics.’ We re­sponded, say­ing, ‘Yeah, he does. Here’s a bunch of ex­am­ples!’ But they just said, ‘We don’t care; he no longer kicks go­ing for­ward.’

That was a harsh les­son about deal­ing with [oth­ers’] IP. It can be won­der­ful in that you get this au­di­ence and pas­sion around a prod­uct, and you get to en­ter that world. But there are also a lot of re­stric­tions to it, and some­times they don’t make sense at all to you, be­cause there is a per­son on the other end and it is their job to judge your prod­uct wor­thy or not. The in­her­ent prob­lem with this is the per­son doesn’t get in trou­ble for say­ing no, so they don’t have the mo­ti­va­tion to say, ‘Oh, this is bet­ter for the game’ – their mo­ti­va­tion is to make sure that their job is safe, and so they’re not tak­ing the risks that they need to take. So we ended up with a game in which Su­per­man doesn’t kick, he just punches down or up or what­ever. It was weird at the time, be­cause ev­ery­one else was kick­ing, but in hind­sight it just doesn’t make any sense.

We were work­ing on the Ge­n­e­sis ver­sion of the game, but when we showed up at CES – this was be­fore E3 ex­isted and all the de­vel­op­ers would go to CES and sit next to the car stereos – lo and be­hold there’s a Su­per Nin­tendo ver­sion of the game there as well, be­ing de­vel­oped by a dif­fer­ent de­vel­op­ment com­pany. Nei­ther of us knew about the other one, but the games were strangely sim­i­lar. That’s how Bliz­zard met: they were Sil­i­con & Synapse, and we were Con­dor. They be­came Bliz­zard, and we be­came Bliz­zard North – that game is re­spon­si­ble for Bliz­zard.”

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