Designed to be the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game, StarCraft II will feature the return of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg races, overhauled and re-imagined with Blizzard's signature approach to game balance. Each race will be further distinguished from the others, with several new units and new gameplay mechanics, as well as new abilities for some of the classic StarCraft units that will be making a reappearance in the game. StarCraft II will also feature a custom 3D-graphics engine with realistic physics and the ability to render several large, highly detailed units and massive armies on-screen simultaneously.
The Thor project has been shrouded in mystery since its very beginning. Agents of the Umojan Protectorate were the first to uncover a trail of clues that the Terran Dominion was intent on creating some kind of new terror weapon. The Umojans' curiosity was aroused when they heard rumors that the huge Simonson munitions facility on Korhal IV had been placed under a complete security lockdown by Dominion forces. Something big was in the offing, so big that the workers at the Simonson plant had been virtually placed under arrest to prevent any information from leaking out.
The crack team of spies swung into action to search for leads that would betray the work being undertaken. Hacked cargo manifests showed deliveries of battlecruiser-weight neosteel armor plating extending back over a year. Passive sensors that the spies planted around the facility picked up occasional industrial-strength electromagnetic discharges and regular seismic shocks. An increasing flow of high-ranking Dominion officers was observed coming and going, indicating that the project was close to completion. Yet beyond these tantalizing pieces of the puzzle, the Umojan team drew a complete blank.
The Umojans began to be frustrated by their lack of progress, and frustration can lead to recklessness. A young operative on the team, Ulli Trey, offered to take the risk and try to infiltrate the facility. The team leader was reluctant but out of other options, and so he approved the plan. Trey's approach was flawless: she liquidated the driver of the Dominion commander and took his place. As she had anticipated, the rigorous security checks needed to get through the outer cordon around the facility were focused on the high-ranking officer instead of his lowly driver.
Once inside the facility, Trey released a clutch of nanotech micro-spies to trail the commander as he went deeper into the facility. From this point Ulli Trey could only sit and wait, hoping that the stealth capabilities of her miniature spy drones would be good enough to prevent them--and her--from being caught.
Within a few hours Agent Trey was free and clear, carrying vital information about the Dominion's most significant military development since the Brood War: Project Thor. The micro-spy images showed a huge bipedal war machine armed with two giant particle beams and a dorsal artillery battery that wouldn't be out of place on a battleship. Most disturbing of all was the demonstration that this monster could be built from the ground up by ordinary construction vehicles in an astonishingly short time frame. The Umojan team reported back to Protectorate, thoroughly shaken by their findings and praying that some counter could be found for such a beast.
StarCraft II will include a unique single-player campaign, as well as fast-paced online play through an upgraded version of Blizzard's renowned online gaming service, Battle.net®. In addition, the game will come with a powerful, full-featured map editor that will put the same tools used by Blizzard's designers into the hands of players.
Blizzard is developing StarCraft II for simultaneous release on the Windows and Macintosh PC platforms. Further information about the game, including details on the single-player, multiplayer, and map-editor features, as well as system requirements, pricing, and availability, will be announced in the months ahead.
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