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StarCraft 2 Single Player: In-engine Briefing Room, Dialogue Trees, Cash Upgrade System

During a demonstration of the StarCraft II single player campaign, several new features were shown that significantly increase the scope of the story and gameplay, including the ability to choose your own mission progression through a star map display.

Beginning with an in-engine cutscene, the camera pulled backward through space, pushing through the bridge of a Terran Battlecruiser. The BC was revealed to be the Hyperion, with a grizzled Jim Raynor standing around a briefing display, amongst others. The characters were very highly detailed, and a Blizzard representative noted that they had cooperated with the Blizzard cinematic department to achieve that level of effect.

In a surprising development, the demonstration took a turn for the adventurous--with a click of the mouse, a dialogue tree was opened between Raynor and the marine from the StarCraft II trailer, Tycus. The player can interact with characters in the briefing room as in an adventure game, with storyline advances and gameplay information both being provided as a result. As missions progress, these cutscenes and discussions will revolve around current events.

Clicking on an elevator saw Raynor traveling down to the Hyperion's armory, but not before an encounter with a disgruntled crew member, who complained about some recent development. Raynor soon pushed passed the jerk and had a chat with Chief Engineer Swan, a gruff grease monkey who will provide technical information and sell upgrades. Yes, units and abilities can be unlocked through a cash-upgrade system. Players will earn the cash through mission completion.

Raynor then accessed a map of the solar system, which laid out the surrounding planets, as well as the planet the Hyperion was currently orbiting, Mar Sara. By clicking on Mar Sara, the player can learn ancillary story information through text and narrated slide-shows.

The crowd was finally left with one last scene, as Raynor walked down an empty hallway. The lights blacking out in succession, a sharp musical note revealed Zeratul, a character from the original game. "I bring tidings of doom," said the Protoss warrior. "The Xel'Naga have returned. The cycle nears its end. The artifacts are the key."

"To what?" Raynor said, to which Zeratul replied, "The end of all things," before falling to his knees, apparently wounded.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 3, 2007 6:47 PM

    Hell yeah.

    Except for this cash upgrade system. I don't understand why there's an external system of upgrades when the ones in the game work so well. More information is needed!

    • reply
      August 3, 2007 7:10 PM

      I would assume it's to make the single player game feel more coherent... I'm sure you'll still do in-game tech tree upgrades in multiplayer, but I would think this would allow them a bit more freedom in level design and scripting...

    • reply
      August 3, 2007 7:12 PM

      For example, you would purchase the ability to generate battlecruisers instead of Mission 12 adding that ability. You could customize the way you want to advance in the game this way and gives it a different level of replay.

      When you get inside the game, you would still need the requirements to produce the Battlecruiser- starport, tech lab, etc.

      • reply
        August 3, 2007 7:21 PM

        Are you guessing or is this how it works? That sounds dumb and eerily close to the stupid system of equipment/upgrades that they had for heroes in Warcraft 3.

        • reply
          August 3, 2007 8:08 PM

          I only saw the cash selection screen. It either works throughout the whole campaign, or mission by mission. For example, mission by mission might give you a cap each mission on what you can buy. Over the campaign, you would get to keep your purchases.

          I think it's an interesting idea allowing you to customize your single player experience.

          Multiplayer didn't appear to have this cash system nor would I expect it to.

          • reply
            August 3, 2007 10:23 PM

            That's exactly how it works (persistent in the campaign). Rather than the map makers just deciding to give you a certain piece of tech on a certain map, you can decide what to purchase and upgrade.

    • reply
      August 4, 2007 4:44 AM

      Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends has a such a system. You get points after completing missions and conquering land, which you can then use to unlock new units, heroes, and special abilities. I think it's pretty cool.

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