It's important to have someone like David trying to capture the history of our industry while it is happening. There are fascinating and important stories behind most every company and game that shed light on the drama that accompanies development. –Brian Fargo, founder of Interplay Entertainment and inXile Entertainment
Stay Awhile and Listen shows that there was a potent mixture of talent, opportunity, and personality that drove the meteoric rise of Blizzard Entertainment from its earliest days. –Julian Gollop, creator of X-COM: UFO Defense
Stay Awhile and Listen is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the storied history and development of Diablo and the early days of Blizzard Entertainment. A must-read for any fans of Blizzard's epic gaming franchises. -Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare
Break Out, David Craddock’s deep dive into the origins behind some of the most important games, will keep you riveted as you learn the wondrous stories of how these games came to be and how the industry started. –John Romero, co-founder of id Software, co-designer of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake
Classic roguelike games may seem like yesterday's news, but they inspire designers the world over to this day. Dungeon Hacks tells their story in compelling fashion and explains what they still have to teach us. –Warren Spector, director of Deus Ex and Disney's Epic Mickey
David Craddock's work to capture the trials and successes of the digital entertainment industry and the people who drive it is both inspiring and important. Capturing these stories, these struggles, allows us to reflect on where we have been and help shape the journey we will share into the future. –Richard "Lord British" Garriott, creator of Ultima
Stay Awhile and Listen tells how passion, maxed-out credit cards, and sleepless nights spawned a gaming phenomenon and unearths the game design secrets that made Diablo an enduring classic. –Tristan Donovan, author of Replay: The History of Video Games
What is Stay Awhile and Listen: Book II?
Stay Awhile and Listen: Book II – Heaven, Hell, and Secret Cow Levels is a documentary-style book that continues my trilogy chronicling the history of Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North. It picks up with the release of Diablo in 1997 and culminates at a crucial event in the summer of 2003 that saw Blizzard North co-founders David Brevik and Max and Erich Schaefer depart their company.
Over that six-year span of time, you'll read about the creative clashes between Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North, delve into the making of StarCraft and Diablo II, and explore facets of each studio's culture: the freewheeling style of Blizzard North, Blizzard Entertainment's push for more structure and process, and the grueling "death marches" that made working at both Blizzards as personally taxing as it was creatively fruitful.
Additionally, you'll get detailed looks at cancelled and never-before-revealed games such as Blizzard North’s mysterious “Project X” and the massively multiplayer rendition of Diablo III. You’ll also chart the rise of Blizzard Entertainment’s renowned cinematics department and go behind closed doors to witness what transpired on the day Blizzard North’s co-founders and two-thirds of their team were dismissed.
At its core, Stay Awhile and Listen: Book II is a story about people. The book is written in a novelistic style reinforced by extensive research and firsthand interviews. Over its pages, you'll meet the personalities behind some of the greatest games of all time and immerse yourself in the culture that made their work possible.
Interested in a sneak peek of Stay Awhile and Listen: Book II? You can read full chapters right now on Polygon, PCGamesN, US Gamer, and Shacknews before backing the book on Kickstarter, with more gaming outlets set to publish chapters as the crowdfunding campaign rolls on.
Hello! My name is David L. Craddock, and I've been an author and freelance writer for over 14 years. You can find my writing at outlets such as Waypoint/VICE Gaming, Shacknews, and Paste magazine. My publishing credits include Stay Awhile and Listen: Book I, Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution, Shovel Knight by Boss Fight Books, and Heritage, the first installment in my epic fantasy series for young adults.
What Happened in Stay Awhile and Listen: Book I?
Published in 2013, the first Stay Awhile and Listen explored the early history of the two Blizzards, with a focus on Diablo, Blizzard North’s groundbreaking action-RPG, and WarCraft: Orcs & Humans, the premiere installment in Blizzard Entertainment's seminal real-time strategy and MMORPG franchise. You can read excerpts using the links below. Pledge to the paperback tier of Book II's campaign, and you'll receive a DRM-free copy of Stay Awhile and Listen: Book I after the Kickstarter is successfully funded, giving you time to get up to speed before Book II's release.
• (IGN) "Inside the Secret Origins of Blizzard’s Diablo"
• (Wired) "Behind the Scenes of the Birth of WarCraft"
• (Escapist) "Stay Awhile and Listen to the Story Behind Diablo's Creation"
• (Shacknews) "Condor and Blizzard Lock Horns Over Diablo"
Why Did I Write Stay Awhile and Listen?
In 2007, I landed a job as a writer at a game studio where I worked alongside Blizzard North alumni Eric Sexton, Michio Okamura, Kelly Johnson, and Jon Morin. Eric and I became friends outside of work. As I drove home from his house one afternoon after hours of blasting bugs in Earth Defense Force 2017, I reflected on how cool it was to hang out with one of the designers who had made some of my favorite games.
You know, I thought, someone really should write a book about how the Diablo games were made. I’d read that. Then I remembered I was a writer. Eureka!
Eric, Michio, Kelly, and Jon agreed to interviews, and put me in touch with other ex-Blizzard Northers. Pat Wyatt, Blizzard Entertainment's second employee and the company's head of research and development for several years, was my first contact with the southern Blizzard. The snowball kept rolling, and before long, the project I'd envisioned as a single book multiplied into a trilogy to support the expansive scope of the story.
Diablo and Diablo II were made in an era before collector's editions of games came with art books and behind-the-scenes documentaries. That means many stories of how these games were made—and more importantly, the people who made them—have never told in full. In this case, bits and pieces of Blizzard's story have been told across interviews and retrospectives, but those accounts are fragmented, altered, and even in the case of official histories, flat-out wrong.
To write as accurate an account as possible, I checked and cross-referenced every anecdote and tidbit that came up in my interviews. When conflicting versions of events arose, I dug into all sides to discover what really happened. My end goal was to deliver a story equal parts entertaining and insightful so that fans of Blizzard's games—as well as aspiring and veteran game developers—will find knowledge that they can apply to their careers, and so readers of all backgrounds can tag along with these people over the course of their rags-to-riches story.
Risks and challenges
The book has been written, but needs to be put through its paces. I'm in the process of completing one last pass to tidy up typos, triple-check facts, and make sure I'm telling the story as completely as possible. After that's done, a professional editor will take a minimum of two passes through the book, accounting for line editing (prose, word choice, continuity) and copy editing (grammar, typos, and so forth). While that's going on, I'll be working out logistics with my printer/distributor.
Calculating fees for editing, cover artwork, printing, and shipping, I arrived at a funding goal of $12,000. I decided to limit the campaign to a few pledge tiers without any frills like t-shirts and coffee mugs in order to stay focused: Projects with more than three pledge tiers grow expensive, and distract creators from their main job—in this case, delivering a high-quality print and digital book.
Kickstarter video copyright (c) 2018 Amie C. E. Kline
Photo credits: Karin Seis, David Glenn
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