After months of speculation on what Blizzard’s next big title will be, it was revealed today at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in South Korea that StarCraft would indeed be getting a sequel. StarCraft II was announced in front of thousands of attendees at the special event, who received a presentation that included a StarCraft II cinematic trailer and a gameplay demonstration by the development team.
Rather than go down the massively multiplayer route that Blizzard’s fantasy world has gone, StarCraft II is designed to follow in the footsteps of the original – to be the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game. In addition to the requisite online play through Battle.net, StarCraft II will include a single-player campaign. In addition, the game will come with the same map editing tools used by Blizzard’s designers so users can create new maps.
StarCraft II will feature the return of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg races, overhauled and re-imagined with several new units and new game play mechanics. The single-player campaign is to pick up where StarCraft: Brood War left off, though Blizzard was tight-lipped on revealing any part of the new story.
While Blizzard has created a 3D engine system for Warcraft III, and to an even greater extent for World of Warcraft, the developer says that StarCraft II will feature a custom 3D graphics and physics engine with the ability to handle “several large, highly detailed units and massive armies on-screen simultaneously.”
“With StarCraft II, we’ll be able to do everything we wanted to do with the original StarCraft and more,” stated Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We recognize that expectations are high following the long-running popularity of the original game, but we plan to meet those expectations and deliver an engaging, action-packed, competitive experience that StarCraft players and strategy gamers worldwide will enjoy.”
No release date came with the announcement, but Blizzard did confirm StarCraft II will simultaneously release on Windows and Macintosh PC platforms. Despite recent successful efforts by other RTS franchises to move to home consoles, Blizzard says it has “no current plans to bring the game to any console platform.” Further information about the game, including details on the single-player, multiplayer, map-editor features and system requirements will be announced in the months ahead. Screenshots, trailers and other media can be found on the official StarCraft II website.
Although Blizzard is a U.S.-based game developer, the StarCraft franchise is unquestionably the most popular amongst gamers in South Korea – a likely reason for the location of the announcement. According to the Korea Times, nearly 4 million copies of the original StarCraft have been sold in Korea alone since its debut in 1998, making up about 42 percent of its global sales of 9.5 million copies.
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