Blizzard Entertainment’s next big game will be “Starcraft 2.”

The folks over at Blizzard Entertainment, producers of the ridiculously popular World of Warcraft, have been teasing fans all week long with a new splash page on their official home page about an announcement to be made today in Korea about what their next major game release will be. Today they finally made the announcement after generating just tons of speculation on the Internet and the next game to be released will be:

Starcraft 2 was a safe bet considering where they were making the announcement because Korea is just crazy about the original Starcraft which was release in 1998 and is still updated and maintained with patches as recently as two days ago. The original game isn’t just popular in Korea, it’s a national obsession with professional gaming competitions that are carried live on national television in that country with the same level of fandom that football and baseball attracts in this country.  Blizzard was there hosting a Starcraft World Wide Invitational so it figured it would see if it could cause an entire nation to explode from the sheer joy of a new version of their national treasure being announced.

Blizzard promises that the sequel will live up to the expectations of the original and, as is the trend with real-time strategy games these days, the game engine will be all new and in 3D. Charles Onyett from IGN.com was there live blogging the announcement with a few more details on the game. Looks like they’re staying true to the original game as much as possible while still offering up some new stuff. No release date has been announced yet. Shakey Cam footage of both the cinematic trailer and gameplay trailer are embedded after the jump, but you can get much better looks at the Official Starcraft 2 Website so it’s best just to go there and check it out.

I’m very excited about this announcement in part because I was a big fan of the original Starcraft so much so that I pulled it back out not too long ago to get used to playing again because my good friend Bob is planning on hosting some Starcraft LAN parties in the not too distant future. The almost ten-year old game stands up very well to any recent release considering the amount of time that’s passed since it first hit shelves. Blizzard has never released a bad game and I doubt this’ll be the first. It’s good to see that they’re not going to sit back and just rake in the cash on World of Warcraft for the rest of time. Of course rumor has it they’re already deep in development on World of Starcraft

22 thoughts on “Blizzard Entertainment’s next big game will be “Starcraft 2.”

  1. It really is about time. I’ve been waiting to hear this for nine years. Hopefully it’ll be good. Metroid Prime was worth the wait as well.

  2. Korea? That’s kind an odd place for a major release announcement.

    Considering the fact Korea is known to be a haven for Starcraft gaming.

  3. I probably don’t have a PC that could run the game and then there’s the deal-breaker that it’s Blizzard, a company that’s been on my blacklist ever since they sued the bnetd.org guys.

  4. I liked Starcraft.  I still play it occasinally, but although a year or so ago, I might have got excited about this, I’m getting turned off of rts games these days.  Maps are too small, AI too weak, resource control is either big-time micromanagement or non-existant and multi-play is a joke.  I withold judgement on SC2 until I see more, but I really don’t think there will be anything to get upitty about.  Too many sequels have fallen on their face for the name Starcraft to carry itself onto my desktop.  Sorry.

  5. I wonder if this means that Starcraft 1 will finally stop taking up a massive amount of the shelf space at my local Target. I go to the computer game aisle and I see the latest 3 Nancy Drew games, an entire shelf of Starcraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III battlechests a half of shelf full of WoW & expansion and then a bunch of shitty Bob the Builder games. If they’re are going to stock classics like Starcraft, they could have at least carried the new editions of all of Sierra’s Quest games (King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry).

  6. I didn’t like Warcraft 3 as much as 2.  I like being able to do “horde” combat in those games, and 3 didn’t give a good enough view of the battleground.  Not to mention having to manage each hero’s specifics in mass combat.  It’s good for small party stuff like Diablo.  That’s what I want to get another sequal.  More random map generation, though.  That was seriously lacking in the second. 

    And sound editors!!!  Being able to put Beavis&Butthead, Monty Python, Southpark, etc soundbytes definately extended the play life of Warcraft 2 and made Worms hilarious.

  7. Geeze, I will rather them work on Diablo! That’s the best game that Blizzard ever made! Starcraft was good, but Diablo nailed it

  8. Y’know, I didn’t know about the bnetd issue, Elwed. Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve been around PvPGN and other setups that didn’t work too bad, but they were never a mainstay.

    Part of the reason for that is as Swordsbane suggests – entirely too much focus on too few traits. I’d like to think I still play WC3 from time to time, but after playing the campaigns and playing multiplayer seriously (as a study) for about 6 months, I had an epiphany.

    The limits of the gameplay system become evident way too late – it takes a ton of learning to challenge any given opponent on their level.

    Also, the game takes the form of the community that drives it – random matches and custom games have imploded so bad that you can’t make the slightest mistake without someone acting the part of a prick. They’ve done this, I think, because it brings a greater contrast to the abilities of those that play the game the most. That’s repelling, and as the community shrinks, this problem worsens.

    I figure this is true of huge numbers of games, across genre and age. Yet the big pull of most RTS’ is the online community; RTS games that only offer LAN access won’t make it to the shelf.

    If there’s big changes to gameplay that informalize it a little, I might consider purchasing it for occasional use. But I’ve no reason to believe SCII takes me anywhere I haven’t already been.

  9. I’ll have to agree with Pat on WC3.  The community for it sucked and the game engine was innovative and new but lead to serious problems with balance and strategy.  RTS has started to involve more speed and pattern than any form of thinking.  For example; I can’t stand the C&C formula.  All it is about is speed and masses, speed and masses.  No creativity can be used in 10 minutes games.  When I play I expect a 30-45 minute game of give and take with enough time for mind games to start really effecting play.  The trend for speed just turns me off.  Build orders and openers are okay, they form the foundation of your strategic direction but now the build orders ARE the strategy.  Bloody frustrating.

    Certain games seemed to have broken the mold.  I’m currently a Company of Heroes junkie when not on WoW (that game that WAY more time than the learning curve of any RTS).  Supreme Commander is another recent game with is against the mold.  The former ties in macro management with macro nicely, the AI is amazing for the unit path finding (cept tanks) and you really get the feel for a front line.  Supreme Commander is all macro intensive and its scope makes it very original.  Getting to my point eventually.  Nice little rant there.

    The greatest standard for a RTS however always was Starcraft.  Starcraft is widely considered the most perfect RTS, with a practically infinite learning curve.  You can always develop new tricks with Starcraft.  Had a few downfalls but the design was robust enough to bypass them.  Makes me wonder how they are going to top Starcraft.  Screw up the design just a tweak and EVERYONE returns to the original.  Starcraft 2 will be a failure if it can’t meet or exceed the original, this point has been frequently reinforced.  Also will it be original in its approach and make it worth switching over?  If anyone can design this it would have to be Blizzard.  No matter how bad Blizzard may be, their callousness has yet to even register near the greed which characterizes EA.  Only company with in game ads remember.  However if Blizz fails here, that is it for its reverence by many a RTS player and others will come to secure the market.  Relic is looking really good as of late.  Can’t hide behind WoW.

    Also for a great RTS community I found http://www.gamereplays.org to be a outstanding place.  Always some jerks but there are a lot of good people there.

    Did I actually say anything relevant back there?  High Templars FTW…zerglings go POP!

  10. I’ll have to agree with Pat on WC3.  The community for it sucked and the game engine was innovative and new but lead to serious problems with balance and strategy

    We’re on like, 1.20e right now, right? How many of those were content changes (not just bugfixes) because of gameplay imbalances? I agree with that, overall, I mean, I’d rather play a game that was balanced by experiment. Overall, WC3 is still a solid RTS. But there’s no place in it for a guy that only plays once in a while, or that hasn’t kept up with game statistics (attack, attack type, attack speed, armor, armor type, ability interactions, FOR EVERY UNIT). Then there’s heroes, and….

    The greatest standard for a RTS however always was Starcraft.  Starcraft is widely considered the most perfect RTS, with a practically infinite learning curve.

    Here’s where you and I aren’t on the same page. The following is uncharacteristic of me; it’s ideal-driven. Play along. The way I look at a learning curve is “how long it takes for the game to become an extension of your mind”. To be fair, a lot of games have trouble with that – mastery of anything takes time. But ideally, knowing the system you play in shouldn’t take long. Making games more complicated hurts that. On the other hand, you want to make a game where creativity and freedoms prosper, because you don’t want every battle to be the same. Additionally, making games rapid point-and-click gets very discriminatory very fast, and anyone not young or wired finds the whole damn business too stressful.

    This ties into a second issue, approachability. Approachability of a game varies, and it depends on the community a lot. It also depends in part on the design, as above. Games that are not intuitive (or outright tedious) turn people away – like comparing Wii Sports to Civ 4. Chess is a game where the limitations of the system (what you can do) become clear very easily. It quickly becomes a battle of minds. But getting your ass hard wrecked by an experienced player is still sorta rough. Having access to players of your level, or experienced players who are eager teachers, becomes important.

    SC had a lot less micromanagement (no food/unit concerns, for instance). To its credit, it seemed to be a much simpler game than WC3; I know a lot of people that still play it. To top SC, I see a few things. One, simplify the interface as much as possible, and some gameplay too. Being able to command large squads of people very easily (minimal number of point-and-click), and not getting the player too lost in individual unit controls is kinda big. Dawn of War did some good work on that – different types of units still get their abilities on an individual basis, but you don’t have to manage the units like you were their therapist. There’s probably more, I just can’t think of it right now.

  11.   The greatest standard for a RTS however always was Starcraft.  Starcraft is widely considered the most perfect RTS, with a practically infinite learning curve.

    Here’s where you and I aren’t on the same page. The following is uncharacteristic of me; it’s ideal-driven. Play along. The way I look at a learning curve is “how long it takes for the game to become an extension of your mind”. To be fair, a lot of games have trouble with that – mastery of anything takes time. But ideally, knowing the system you play in shouldn’t take long. Making games more complicated hurts that. On the other hand, you want to make a game where creativity and freedoms prosper, because you don’t want every battle to be the same. Additionally, making games rapid point-and-click gets very discriminatory very fast, and anyone not young or wired finds the whole damn business too stressful.

    I never said that Starcraft was the perfect RTS.  The scope and depth of it is great but its accessibility is quite lacking in many respects.  It takes quite a bit of practice to get the advanced tactics down, something I never really had the chance to do.  The requirements just to be good sometimes were mind boggling.  Fast Gas, Reaver drops, cracklings, lurk D; all exact different maneuvers and strategies which one had to be aware of to play effectively.  The problem with an infinite learning curve is that it starts off very steep.  Starcraft is the industry standard because of its massive success and popularity.  In many ways it has gotten it right but it takes a while for it to “flow” and sometimes you can get bogged down.  I never was a fast player, my APM was pretty low and I always forgot to do critical things.  “You must build additional pylons” and “Spawn more overlords” still haunts my sleep.

    Let me put it another way; many games besides RTS have a poor inherit accessability.  The worst example that comes to mind is WoW (Sorry Les).  In order to enter the best dungeons and get the best gear one had to have a extensive array of add-ons to improve your chances.  Threat meters, damage calculators, percent drop knowledge, guild loot timetables, raid set up parameters before the dungeon, required potions and buffs.  The list is mind boggling.  I can’t even see my friends character anymore when he raids with his guild, there are too many menus.  The player base inheritly made it much more complex than it ever was.  In FPS, the same thing of increasing complexity occurs.  Another one of my friends is hoping to play Counter Strike competitively and so spends hours learning how each gun sound sounds throughout the map so he can tell instantly where the fighting is at and footsteps to shoot his enemies before they barely turn the corner.  Games now are incredibly complex and mastery and learning the limits of the game now takes a lot of study to do.  Personally I find RTS a little more manageable in terms of learning the parameters and the depth of the playing field than other genres.  It took just 12 straight losses online to really start getting somewhere in Starcraft however I still can’t wrap my head around Wow.

    Starcraft is considered the industry standard in comparison to many of the other releases in the market however that does not make it the perfect RTS.  Who is to say that the RTS genre can every really reach a form of perfection, maybe it will be replaced with something else.  I agree that is can be very stressful in game and speed is over emphasized and that complexity is a problem but that complexity can be a inherit problem of human nature as many different people compete to be the best.  People will push the system as far as they will go, crunching all them numbers for this craft and once these people reach the limits of the system they will move on.  Such occurred with WC3.  This makes everything very daunting at the casual levels.  It’s like sports, I’m no Tiger Woods at golf but I still love to play with my friends and see which body of water we hit next.  I guess it takes finding the right game and enjoying what you can do with it.

  12. Starcraft is considered the industry standard in comparison to many of the other releases in the market however that does not make it the perfect RTS.

    Of course, of course, I don’t think there ever will be a “perfect” RTS; my reason for thinking that is that, generally, the more complex the game is, the more players push the bounds of gameplay mechanics. In general, I think that complexity of game mechanics and accessibility work against oneanother. But I’m not sure that a game with a long learning curve has to start out steep – part of what I’m hoping to find in design is that point where the game is easy to learn, but increasingly difficult to master, to such a degree that casual players will be enticed to the game, but never be so seperated from other players that they are discouraged from playing by community or design.

    My favorite strategy games of all time isn’t an RTS; it’s a board game, called Settlers of Catan.

    You guess that it takes finding the right game. I wonder if what is right game is truly subjective.

  13. You guess that it takes finding the right game. I wonder if what is right game is truly subjective.

    That’s pretty much what supports the market.  Everyone has a slightly different take on things.

    Settlers of Catan looks interesting.  I personally am a big fan of highly competitive Risk tournies, using a specialized set of house rules that makes for a slower but much more strategic game (was nicknamed Traitorous Brent).  Found the original to be too focused on cashes and so developed a system where positioning played a role, you could set up a defense that could last and could survive as a horde without a continent if played right.  May have to pick up that game and set it out for my friends.  Looks interesting from the wiki article.

    I do agree with you there Pat in that the skill difference shouldn’t be so great that the idea of n00bs should exist.  Advanced play should be advanced but the system should be intuitive and easy to pick up on intermediate aspects as well as the basics of playing.  That in itself will be a strategy achievement.  Just curious, has a board game achieved this?

  14. Advanced play should be advanced but the system should be intuitive and easy to pick up on intermediate aspects as well as the basics of playing.  That in itself will be a strategy achievement.  Just curious, has a board game achieved this?

    Not that I know of. Gaming is becoming ingrained in our society, however, and that means that what is considered intuitive may change in that direction. Until then, I wonder that a board game (or any number of other media) are simply unfit for the role. Traditionally, sports filled that gap fairly well – training your body to do things that are not intuitive was the tough part – balancing a soccer ball on your head or perfecting that top-corner wrist shot.

  15. I wanted to address a couple of comments in this thread before it got too far along…

    Elwed: …there’s the deal-breaker that it’s Blizzard, a company that’s been on my blacklist ever since they sued the bnetd.org guys.

    As was their right to do and I can understand why they did when I look at how long the game has been around. While I don’t think the bnetd.org folks posed a huge risk to Blizzard, they were still infringing on Blizzard’s IP.

    That said Blizzard is easily one of the most fan-friendly game developers out there. The folks who make the WoW Model Viewer, for example, haven’t heard a peep from Blizzard and that tool has become integral in more than a few WoW machinimas which Blizzard actively encourages.

    Psychromorbidus: Let me put it another way; many games besides RTS have a poor inherit accessability.  The worst example that comes to mind is WoW (Sorry Les).  In order to enter the best dungeons and get the best gear one had to have a extensive array of add-ons to improve your chances.  Threat meters, damage calculators, percent drop knowledge, guild loot timetables, raid set up parameters before the dungeon, required potions and buffs.  The list is mind boggling.  I can’t even see my friends character anymore when he raids with his guild, there are too many menus.

    Not sure what you’re apologizing to me for, not like I’d be personally offended if you think WoW is too complex, but I do want to address your comments on all the add-ons you listed.

    I disagree with your assessment that WoW is the worst of the lot when it comes to accessibility. I’ve introduced a lot of casual players to the game and they seem to have mastered the learning curve pretty well. It helps that Blizzard designed the game to start off slowly with only a few abilities at the start to get you running and slowly adding in things as you go along. For example you can’t spent a single talent point until level 10 so that you can concentrate on just getting the basics down.

    Sure there’s a ton of add-ons available for the game and the hardcore players often have a huge amount installed. I consider myself a more casual player and yet I also make use of a dozen add-ons when I play, most of which are informational in nature. That said I leveled my first character all the way to 60 before I ever installed my first add-on so your suggestion that they are necessary to play the game is simply not true.

    The biggest proof of WoW’s accessibility, however, is the fact that it has 8 million subscribers worldwide. No other MMORPG even comes close to that number and you don’t get there by having a game that’s inaccessible to the casual gaming population. The game is very casual friendly (some hardcore fans would say too friendly) and they’ve even made changes with the release of the first expansion pack to make it possible for casual players to get an epic armor set.

    There’s always going to be a hardcore group of gamers for every game that’s going to master it to a level a casual player can never hope to. This is as true of The Sims 2 as it is Starcraft or World of Warcraft. This doesn’t mean that casual players can’t find their niche in the community. I’m in a guild in WoW that’s composed entirely of casual players. It’s called Running Naked because they don’t require members to install any particular add-ons or schedule raids weeks in advance. We help each other out and we have a good time, but we’ll never be at the top of the charts and we’re not particularly concerned about that.

    Had more to say, but it’s time to head to work so I’ll have to save it for later.

  16. As was their right to do and I can understand why they did when I look at how long the game has been around. While I don’t think the bnetd.org folks posed a huge risk to Blizzard, they were still infringing on Blizzard’s IP.

    Les, the details aren’t fresh in my memory, but my recollection about the technical details is that they reverse-engineered the protocol and Blizzard alleged a violation of the license and made DMCA claims. At the time, I have consistently perceived Blizzard’s claims as specious.

    As I recall, the sticking point at the time was that an alternate version of bnetd contributed to piracy by giving unlicensed copies a place to play online. I believe the lawsuit was ultimately settled in disfavor of bnetd.org.

    I do wonder, though, how PvPGN is getting away with what they’re doing, but chances are the profits of WoW keep Blizzard happy. The WoW Model Viewer that you mentioned helps the Wow bottom line, so why would they complain? And if you imply that the WoW viewer infringes on Blizzard’s IP, then they’re hypocrites…

    The bnetd.org episode left me with an indelible bad impression about Blizzard and it’ll take some convincing before I’ll ever buy one of their products again. You may beg to differ, of course wink

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