- What is StarCraft II?
StarCraft II is the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game, and the sequel to the hit original, StarCraft. The game will include three completely distinct and balanced races, the protoss, terran, and zerg, which have been overhauled and re-imagined with a number of new units for each, as well as new tricks for some of the classic units that are returning.
- When is the game coming out?
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is scheduled to be released on July 27, 2010.
- How will StarCraft II be different from StarCraft?
StarCraft II will run on a vibrant new 3D-graphics engine capable of rendering beautiful landscapes as well as massive army sizes. The speed, responsiveness, and epic-scale battles that made the original StarCraft such a memorable game are all realized in 3D with this brand-new engine.
We're also introducing a number of distinct new units to the protoss, terran, and zerg, and some of the familiar units that return in StarCraft II will have new tricks up their sleeves, which will give the game its own unique flavor. The maps themselves will also offer new interactive elements that enhance the strategic nature of the game and create more tactical points of interest for players to contest. One example of this is the Xel'Naga watchtower structure—when captured, it reveals line of sight over a large area of the map, creating an advantage for the player in control of the tower.
In addition, Battle.net will be overhauled with some new and exciting features to enhance online play and competition, while the single-player campaign will also offer some unique aspects for players to enjoy.
- How many cinematic cut-scenes will be included?
We know that StarCraft II players will expect to see some Blizzard-quality cinematic content in the game, and we have definite plans to include multiple pre-rendered cinematics, starting with the intro movie. StarCraft II's advanced 3D engine also allows us to create numerous in-engine cutscenes to help tell the game's epic story. The Blizzard cinematics team is working closely with the StarCraft II development team to ensure that these in-engine cutscenes are as enjoyable and compelling to watch as the pre-rendered cinematic scenes.
- How many races are in StarCraft II?
In StarCraft II, players will see the return of the protoss, terran, and zerg races. Our goal is to ensure that all the factions in the game play even more distinctly from one another than in the original StarCraft, while still maintaining the fine balance that helped make StarCraft a classic. We're also introducing a number of new units to each race, as well as modifying some of the familiar units returning in StarCraft II. With these design refinements and the new features we have planned for the single-player and multiplayer elements of the game, StarCraft II will offer a next-generation StarCraft experience.
- Can you give some examples of the newest changes that you've put into the BlizzCon 2008 build of StarCraft II?
We're trying out some cool new mechanics, such as giving zerg ground units a movement speed bonus whenever they're on creep, the slimy base upon which the zerg create their structures. We've also made some changes to the protoss mothership. A new ability called vortex allows it to trap a group of units, rendering them unable to move or attack until the effect ends. The terran aircraft previously called the nomad is now called the nighthawk. It's gotten a visual facelift with an all-new unit model and a brand-new ability called "seismic thumper,” which slows nearby enemies and prevents zerg from burrowing. One thing to keep in mind is that we're trying out new mechanics and abilities all the time, so what you see here at BlizzCon is just a snapshot of where we're at right now and is all still subject to change.
- It seems like there are sweeping balance changes almost every time I read about StarCraft II. What are the reasons for the changes?
As we go through various testing stages, the development team experiments a lot with the game balance. This can include adding, removing, and/or modifying various units, buildings, and special abilities within the game. Frequent changes to units and abilities are a natural part of our iterative development process as we strive to make StarCraft II as balanced and fun as possible.
- What can you reveal about StarCraft II's single-player component?
The game's plot will pick up several years after the events of StarCraft: Brood War. Familiar faces will return—such as Jim Raynor, the reluctant terran hero from the original StarCraft—and new heroes and villains will emerge. The single-player campaign will allow players to interact closely with these characters while determining their own course through the game via mission choices and technology upgrades.
- What is the StarCraft II Trilogy?
The StarCraft II Trilogy consists of the base StarCraft II game and two subsequent expansion sets. StarCraft II is subtitled Wings of Liberty (working title) and will include a lengthy single-player campaign that focuses on the terrans and puts players in the role of Jim Raynor, one of the series' main heroes. The first expansion set, Heart of the Swarm (working title), will follow later and include a single-player campaign focusing on the zerg and Kerrigan, Queen of Blades. The second expansion set, Legacy of the Void (working title), will continue the story experience with a single-player campaign centered on the protoss.
- Will we still be able to play multiplayer matches of StarCraft II with all three races?
Yes! From the beginning, StarCraft II will be a fully featured multiplayer game, and all three races will be available for competitive play.
- How will the expansion sets impact multiplayer gameplay?
The expansion sets will add new content to each race for use in multiplayer matches. This could include additions such as new units, abilities, and structures, along with new maps and Battle.net updates.
- If I buy StarCraft II but don't buy any of the expansion sets, will I still be able to play online?
Yes. This will work similarly to Warcraft III and the original StarCraft, which maintained separate online gaming lobbies and ladders for expansion set players and players with the base Warcraft III or StarCraft.
- How long is each of the campaigns?
StarCraft II's terran campaign will consist of approximately 26 to 30 missions, and each expansion set will include a similar number of missions. This means that the complete StarCraft II Trilogy will include as many as 90 single-player missions. This allows us to create a truly epic story experience with a great variety of unique missions and gameplay types.
- Why did you decide to release each race's campaign separately?
We're aiming to push the boundaries of storytelling and character development in RTS games through the unique single-player campaign design of StarCraft II. Players will be able to choose their mission path and technology upgrades for their army as they advance through the campaign. In order to make these choices meaningful while creating an epic story and well-developed characters for each faction, we needed to focus on a single race for a large number of missions.
The Trilogy also allows us to create more in-game and prerendered cinematics to tell the story in between missions. There will be more interactive sets and elements for players to explore during each campaign, along with other interesting design elements to differentiate the single-player game from multiplayer matches. For example, the technology choices within the terran single-player campaign will include special upgrades and unit types that are unique to the single-player game. These could include the ability to purchase classic units such as the wraith or firebat to add to Jim Raynor's army.
- Are these three separate games? How much will all of these games cost?
The StarCraft II Trilogy will consist of the base StarCraft II game and two expansion sets. Pricing on these games hasn't been determined at this early stage; however, we've always charged an appropriate price for the content the player receives, and we will continue to release high-quality games that offer great value.
- How long will it take to ship each expansion set in the Trilogy?
We're still focused on developing the base StarCraft II game, and all the content associated with the terran campaign, including the missions, cinematic cutscenes, and interactive sets. It's too early to provide an estimate on how long it will take to develop each of the expansion sets in the trilogy, but as always, we will take as much time as is needed to create the best possible gaming experience with each expansion set.
- Will Battle.net be overhauled? Will there be new features?
There will be some exciting new changes and features to Battle.net that will help us ensure that StarCraft II will be the ultimate competitive online real-time strategy game. Some of the areas we're looking into include features that support online tournaments, eSports, and enhanced communication between players. We're not quite ready to go into further detail about Battle.net at this time, but we look forward to doing so in the future.
- Will we still be able to play the original StarCraft on Battle.net after StarCraft II is released?
Yes, you will.
- What steps are being taken to prevent cheating in multiplayer games?
We don't want to tip our hand to the people who may try to cheat on Battle.net, so we can't go into too much detail, but rest assured that security is one of our top priorities as we redesign and overhaul Battle.net, and we will take every precaution to ensure fairness in our online games. We've taken an aggressive stance against cheating in all of our games, and our players have overwhelmingly supported us in that, so we don't have any intention to make any changes in that regard.
- Will there be a closed or open beta? How about a trial or demo version?
StarCraft II will have a beta test period in the future. However, it's still too early to determine the exact nature and timing of the beta. We also haven't decided yet whether there will be any trial or demo versions, but we'll be happy to share the news once final decisions have been made.
- What are the system requirements for StarCraft II?
We'll have more details on specific system requirements closer to the release date.
- Will StarCraft II include a map editor?
Yes, it will. We'll have more details on the features of the StarCraft II map editor at a later date.
- Will there be a console version of StarCraft II?
StarCraft II is being developed for Windows and Mac. We have no current plans to bring the game to any console platform.