Blizzard Announces StarCraft 2

By Nick Breckon, May 18, 2007 11:12pm PDT During opening ceremonies at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, Korea, Blizzard Entertainment today announced that the sequel to its phenomenally successful real-time strategy game StarCraft is currently under development.

Blizzard has issued a few details about the game, most importantly noting that it will utilize "a custom 3D-graphics engine with realistic physics and the ability to render several large, highly detailed units and massive armies on-screen simultaneously." StarCraft II will also apparently ship with many of the core features of the original: a single player campaign, online multiplayer via Blizzard's service, as well as a "full-featured map editor."

"With StarCraft II, we'll be able to do everything we wanted to do with the original StarCraft and more," said Mike Morhaime of Blizzard in a press release. "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."

StarCraft II will presumably continue the storyline of its predecessor. Using mission briefings and scripted sequences, StarCraft--along with its expansion StarCraft: Brood War--told a story of intergalactic war from the perspective of three separate civilizations: the human colonies of the Terran Federation, the alien worlds of the enlightened Protoss, and the infested hives of the insect-like Zerg. The sequel promises to further distinguish each race with new units, abilities, and gameplay additions.

Over the past few days Blizzard's official site had seen the addition of a splash image which updated nightly. The images each featured a major game release from the company's past, beginning with the 1994 real-time strategy hit, WarCraft: Orcs and Humans. Following the addition of the recently released World of Warcraft, the image was left with a question mark, indicating an announcement was imminent.

Speculation on the sequel's development had been brewing for months, finally coming to a head when a new Blizzard product announcement was confirmed for the Seoul gathering. The original StarCraft has sold over 9.5 million copies worldwide, with 4 million of those sales being attributed to Korean fans. Still wildly popular in the country, professional StarCraft players compete in widely-televised matches, with some earning hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

Blizzard has also released a batch of StarCraft II artwork as well as a StarCraft II cinematic trailer and artwork/gameplay trailer, available on FileShack.

No release date for the game has been mentioned. A post on the official site reads, "We will take as much time as needed to ensure the game is as fun, balanced, and polished as possible."

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