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16 years after its release, 'StarCraft: Brood War' returns to TV

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StarCraft: Brood War was supposed to be long dead.

The 1998 expansion to Blizzard's hit real-time strategy game StarCraft, and the original king of South Korean eSports, Brood War was phased out of competition in 2010, when StarCraft 2 was released to worldwide acclaim. Brood War’s legendary televised leagues shut down or shifted to StarCraft 2 games. Many of the professional players and fans moved on as well.

Even as StarCraft 2 became the biggest eSport in the world in 2010, hardcore Brood War fans have kept their game’s flame burning over the years in online tournaments. Now, 16 years after Brood War’s release, it’s coming back to television.

GomTV, the South Korean streaming service that has hosted StarCraft 2’s top Korean leagues since the game’s release, recently announced the inclusion of Brood War in its 2014 schedule. The event is planned as a one-off depending on fan feedback. If viewership and enthusiasm is high, there’s a good chance Brood War could see the GomTV spotlight again.

"There are still many StarCraft 1 fans and we couldn’t look down on their passion,” said Kwack Jungwook, GomTV’s CEO. "I think that if somebody takes upon themselves to do StarCraft 1 it should be we who are steadily progressing StarCraft 2 to take care of the StarCraft 1 fans.”

Brood War occupies a special place in eSports history. Long before any other game had truly professional competitive circuit, Brood War players were television celebrities with six figure salaries and even bigger fan clubs. The game has since been surpassed on many levels by new titles, such as League of Legends and StarCraft 2. But all the major eSports of today stand on the shoulders of Brood War.

GomTV’s 2014 plans include three seasons of the Global StarCraft League, a Global Championship event in April, and the Hot Six Cup in December. The fate of the Global StarCraft Team League, StarCraft 2’s top team league, is still being decided.

The Brood War tournament, the Gomtv Classic, is scheduled for Feb. 9 to March 9.

H/T Team Liquid | Screengrab via Gavin Anderson