Blizzard North is a game development house based in San Mateo, California and is best known for creating the Diablo franchise. They are one of the branches that form the Blizzard Entertainment company, one of the best known game developers, ever. Blizzard Entertainment in turn is a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal. Note that the main branch of Blizzard Entertainment, responsible for the Warcraft / Starcraft franchises, is commonly referred to as Blizzard South. It is based in Irvine, California.
In September 1993, David Brevik, Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer founded the company known as Condor. Their first project was "Justice League Task Force" for the Sega Genesis. As luck would have it, Blizzard (then known as Silicon & Synapse) was developing the SNES version of the game. In spring of 1994, David Brevik met with the Blizzard cofounder, Allen Adham, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago. The two companies had not spoken at all regarding the development of the same game until then.
At the show, Allen showed off his company's PC title - Warcraft.
"There was this instant bond between Allen and me," explains Brevik. "Allen asked me to come and look at his new PC game, so we went into this rinky-dink suite with wobbly walls and Allen showed the game. It was Warcraft and it looked amazing."
Condor was wanting to leave the console market, as it was too risky. After being turned down by multiple companies at the CES, they pitched the idea for Diablo to Blizzard. Blizzard was pleased, and was willing to publish the game. In February 1996, Condor was acquired by Blizzard, and was renamed to Blizzard North.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Diablo became a monster success, and its sequel, Diablo II, was another record-breaker.
Diablo II (2000)
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (2001)
Key People at Blizzard North
David Brevik - Cofounder, Project/Design Lead (Departed)
Erich Schaefer - Cofounder, Design/Graphics/Sound Lead (Departed)
Max Schaefer - Cofounder, Design/Graphics/Sound Lead (Departed)
Rick Seis - Project/Design Lead
Michael Morhaime - Producer
Matt Uelmen - Music
In June 2003, the three founders of Blizzard North left the company, along with Blizzard Entertainment VP Bill Roper. They were concerned by the fact that corporate parent Vivendi Universal was attempting to sell off its assets in order to alleviate their enormous debt. The four are expected to form a new development company together.
After the resignations, Rick Seis, formally lead programmer, has been promoted to the job of project and design lead.
Blizzard Website (http://www.blizzard.com/)
Blizzard 10th Anniversary Feature: "Blizzard North: Condor and Diablo"
Gamespot Feature: "Eye of the Storm: Behind Closed Doors at Blizzard"
MobyGames Rapsheet: "Max Schaefer" (http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,11645/)
Gamespot News Article: "Cofounders leave Blizzard North" June 30, 2003 (http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/diablo2/news_6030882.html)
Gamespot News Article: "New Blizzard North team lead announced" July 11, 2003 (http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/diablo2/news_6071481.html)