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Information about StarCraft IIStarCraft II is a trilogy of military science fiction real-time strategy games currently under development by Blizzard Entertainment as a sequel to the award-winning 1998 (19 years ago) video game StarCraft. StarCraft II, originally envisioned as a single game, was announced to be a trilogy at BlizzCon 2008 (9 years ago), consisting of the base game and two subsequent expansion sets, entitled Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void respectively.
Unlike the original series, where each game had three 8–10 mission campaigns, one for each race, each game in the StarCraft II trilogy will have only one 26–30 mission campaign centered around a single race. The Terrans will be the focus of the first campaign, followed up by Zerg and Protoss races in the expansions. The first game in the trilogy will have all races available to play during the skirmish and multiplayer modes.
StarCraft II is being developed for concurrent release on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The release date is based upon the game meeting the company's quality standards. While no official release dates have been announced for the trilogy, according to an Activision Blizzard financial report, the company anticipates Wings of Liberty to be released in the first half of 2010 (7 years ago).
GameplayAccording to its creators, StarCraft II is designed to be the "ultimate competitive real-time strategy game", building on the successes enjoyed by its predecessor, StarCraft. It features the return of the three races from the original game—Protoss, Terran, and Zerg; Blizzard states these are the only playable races in the game. StarCraft II is also designed to focus more heavily on the multiplayer aspect, when compared to the original StarCraft. The changes include overall improvement in Battle.net, a new competitive "ladder" system for ranked games and new matchmaking mechanics—designed to "match-up" players of equal skill levels. In addition, the replay function, which allows players to record and review past games, is being improved. Blizzard has also stated they have made some changes to the game that were suggested by fans.
StarCraft II continues its predecessor's use of pre-rendered cinematic cut scenes to advance the plot while also improving the quality of in-game cut scenes within the levels themselves, which are rendered on-the-fly using the same game engine as the graphics in the game proper. Blizzard states that with the new graphics engine that StarCraft II uses to render the gameplay, they "can actually create in-game cut-scenes of near-cinematic quality".
Most Protoss and Terran units, and some Zerg units, have been shown on the StarCraft II official website, and in several video demonstrations held by Blizzard. Improvements include advanced scenery allocation and more detailed space terrain, such as floating space platforms with planets and asteroids in the background. Small cliffs, extensions, and even advertising signs were also shown to have been improved and refined.
The single-player aspect of StarCraft II has also been altered substantially from the original game. The Terran campaign shown at BlizzCon 2007 (10 years ago) replaced the original StarCraft briefing room with an interactive version of the battlecruiser Hyperion, with Jim Raynor, now a bitter and hard-drinking mercenary captain, as the central character. In a departure from previous Blizzard games, the campaign is non-linear, with Raynor taking jobs for money and using that money to buy additional units and upgrades. Although each playthrough will vary, the end result will remain consistent keeping the storyline linear. Vice president Rob Pardo has stressed that each campaign will function very differently. The Terran campaign, Wings of Liberty, will place players in a mercenary style campaign, as Terran rebel Jim Raynor performs missions for cash. The second release, the Zerg campaign Heart of the Swarm, will have RPG elements. The player will level up the Queen of Blades, Kerrigan, throughout the missions. The last expansion, the Protoss campaign Legacy of the Void, the dark templar Zeratul will have to employ diplomacy between Protoss tribes to acquire units and technologies for each mission. Each campaign should span 26-30 missions.
Lead Designer Dustin Browder, has discussed with Shacknews some of the unique missions that may be included in the Wings of Liberty campaign. In one level, lava floods the battlefield every five minutes, forcing the player to move their units to high ground or watch their units get destroyed. In another mission, enemy units will only attack the player at night. In another mission, the player tries to influence the tide of an AI controlled battle with only a single unit, a Ghost. The single player missions will be highly customizable. In between missions, players can choose units, buildings and upgrades that are not available in the multiplayer missions.
Scumedit, StarCraft II's campaign editor, will be more sophisticated than StarCraft's StarEdit and WarCraft III's World Editor for creating custom maps and mods. Units from the original StarCraft not in the multiplayer version of StarCraft II, along with units and abilities that were scrapped during the development process, will be available in the editor. Chris Sigaty, Lead Producer, has also stated that the editor will give players the ability to create RPG, Hero-type units and structures resembling those from WarCraft III.
DevelopmentThe development of StarCraft II was announced on May 19, 2007 (10 years ago), at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, South Korea. StarCraft II is being developed, under the codename Medusa, for concurrent release on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Blizzard has not yet announced a release date. Development on the game, initially delayed for a year by the temporary reassignment of Blizzard's resources to World of Warcraft (20 walls), began in 2003 (14 years ago), shortly after Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne was released. According to Rob Pardo and Chris Sigaty, development for StarCraft II was put on hold for a year in 2005 (12 years ago) due to the assistance needed for World of Warcraft.
StarCraft II will support the DirectX 9 (Pixel shader 2.0) software and will be fully compatible with DirectX 10 as well, although the development team has not yet decided whether to add exclusive DirectX 10 graphic effects. The Mac version will use OpenGL. The game will also feature the Havok physics engine, which allows for more realistic environmental elements such as "debris rolling down a ramp". Additionally, there are plans to implement VoIP into the game.
Since the announcement, fans have also been able to participate in the development of StarCraft II through feedback and questions on fansites and forums. Periodically, Blizzard Entertainment provides Q&A batches, web pages about the units, buildings, and lore, podcasts (titled "BlizzCast"), and posts from Blizzard employees on forums.
At the Jun. 2008 (9 years ago) Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, Blizzard Executive Vice President Rob Pardo was quoted as saying that development of the campaign was one-third complete. He also said that StarCraft II is to be released as a trilogy of games, starting with Wings of Liberty, focused on the Terrans, followed by Heart of the Swarm, revolving around the Zerg, and finally Legacy of the Void, devoted to the Protoss. Since May 6, 2009 (8 years ago), it is possible to sign up for the betaphase of the game. On Feb. 25, 2009 (8 years ago) Blizzard announced the Blizzard Theme Park Contest where prizes would include two beta keys for Starcraft II. In the updated news and updates page of battle.net for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne it states the top 20 players from each realm will be given a SC2 Beta Key.
Rob Pardo indicated in a Jun. interview that LAN support would not be included in StarCraft II. Their reason was to make players use Battle.net, and to help fight piracy. This has created a large amount of protest mainly in the form of online petitions. It has been reported that Blizzard is considering implementing a system whereby a LAN connection is possible after first authenticating with Battle.net.
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