In the long battle between Blizzard's standards and the calendar year, the calendar again came out the loser today with the announcement that the studio's anticipated RTS sequel StarCraft II has been delayed into the first half of 2010.
Blizzard attributed the delay to needing additional time to produce the new version of Battle.net, its online gaming service. Though few details are available on the new portal, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick likened it to Xbox Live in its combination of gameplay and social networking features.
"Over the past couple of weeks, it has become clear that it will take longer than expected to prepare the new Battle.net for the launch of the game," said Blizzard in a statement. Added the company: "The upgraded Battle.net is an integral part of the StarCraft II experience and will be an essential part of all of our games moving forward. This extra development time will be critical to help us realize our vision for the service."
The shift of StarCraft II does not come as a huge surprise, as some analysts were already predicting the sequel might slip into the next year. Blizzard had previously stated the StarCraft II beta could last from four to six months, meaning that even if the beta had begun in August, it would have left a very tight window for Blizzard to work in.
While affirming the game was planned for release by the end of 2009, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime said in May: "But as always, we won't release it until it meets our standards and the expectations of our players."
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i am profoundly sad and completely unsurprised