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StarCraft II

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: Blizzard
Developer: Blizzard
Release Date: July 27, 2010

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'StarCraft II' Developer Q&A

by Rainier on Aug. 6, 2007 @ 12:48 a.m. PDT

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.

Q: What is StarCraft II?

A: StarCraft II is the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game, and the sequel to the hit original, StarCraft. The game will include three completely distinct and balanced races, the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg, which have been overhauled and re-imagined with a number of new units for each, as well as new tricks for some of the classic units that are returning.

Q: When is the game coming out?

A: At this point, it’s too early to provide an initial estimate on the release date. As with all Blizzard games, we will take as much time as needed to ensure the game is as fun, balanced, and polished as possible.

Q: How will StarCraft II be different from StarCraft?

A: StarCraft II will run on a vibrant new 3D-graphics engine that will be capable of rendering beautiful landscapes as well as massive individual units and army sizes.

We’re also introducing a number of distinct new units to the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg, and even some of the familiar units that return in StarCraft II will have new tricks up their sleeves, which will give the game its own unique flavor.

In addition, will be overhauled with some new and exciting features to enhance online play and competition, while the single-player campaign will also offer some unique aspects for players who enjoy single-player content. We’ll have more details on all these aspects in the months to come.

Q: Will StarCraft II include a map editor?

A: Yes, it will. We’ll have more details on the features of the StarCraft II map editor at a later date.

Q: How many cinematic cut-scenes will be included?

A: We know that StarCraft II players will expect to see some Blizzard-quality cinematic content in the game, and we have definite plans to include multiple cinematics, starting with a cinematic intro. We’ll provide further confirmation once final determinations have been made.

Q: How many races are in StarCraft II?

A: In StarCraft II, players will see the return of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg races. Our goal is to ensure that all the factions in the game play even more distinctly from one another than in the original StarCraft, while still maintaining the fine balance that helped make StarCraft a classic. We’re also introducing a number of new units to each race, as well as modifying some of the familiar units returning in StarCraft II. With these design refinements and the new features we have planned for the single-player and multiplayer elements of the game, StarCraft II will offer a next-generation StarCraft experience.

Q: StarCraft II has some big shoes to fill—is there added pressure in developing a follow-up to one of the most beloved games of all time?

A: We recognize that the bar is set pretty high, but this type of pressure is not new to us. Warcraft III had to follow in the footsteps of Warcraft II, and Diablo II had to follow the original Diablo. Creating a StarCraft game that’s bigger and better than the original is definitely a big challenge, but it’s one that we fully intend to meet and exceed.

Q: Will the game be released in multiple countries? Will the release be simultaneous? Which countries and what languages will the game be localized in?

A: Our goal is to release the game simultaneously across the world in multiple languages. As we get closer to release, we’ll have more details to share.

Q: Will there also be an expansion, and if so, what features will it contain?

A: Our focus has been and will continue to be on developing and refining the core StarCraft II experience, so we haven’t really had much time to consider what types of things we would include with an expansion for the game if we were to do one.

Q: Will there be a console version of StarCraft II?

A: StarCraft II is being developed for the PC. We have no current plans to bring the game to any console platform.

Q: What are some of the new features of the Terrans?

A: In StarCraft II, the Terrans have a number of elements that make them a force to be reckoned with. For example, the Viking, one of the new Terran vehicles, can attack ground units in its assault mode and also transform into an airborne fighter with the ability to attack air targets. This makes the Viking strong at hit-and-run attacks and allows Terran players to respond to a variety of different enemies.

The Terrans can also upgrade their Command Centers into Planetary Fortresses, armed with laser cannons. This technology enhances the Terrans’ fearsome defensive capabilities. In exchange for this firepower, the Planetary Fortresses are unable to lift off and fly away as most other Terran buildings can.

Another unique addition is the Thor, a massive assault mech that is specialized for attacking enemy structures and heavily armored enemy units. The Thor is so large, it must be constructed by an SCV on the battlefield. Its massive size is also its Achilles’ heel, as the Thor moves and turns at a relatively sluggish rate.

The Terrans have even more new features than these up their sleeves, and a great deal of information about them can be found on the official StarCraft II website, which will continue to be updated regularly.

Q: Can we consider what was shown at BlizzCon to be the full and final list of Terran and Protoss units?

A: We’re still very early in the development of StarCraft II, so nothing that was revealed at BlizzCon 2007 is set in stone. We’ll continue to do lots of testing and make balance tweaks that may result in changes to specific units, abilities, and structures in the game.

Q: How many players will StarCraft II multiplayer games support?

A: Currently we are planning on supporting up to eight players in multiplayer matches. The BlizzCon 2007 playable build was limited to four players because the maps we provided for play at the show were designed for up to four players.

Q: I noticed that there have been changes with certain units/abilities since I last read about StarCraft II. What are the reasons for the changes?

A: As we go through various testing stages, the development team will be doing a lot of experimentation with the game balance. These can include adding, removing, and/or modifying various units, buildings, and special abilities within the game. Frequent changes to units and abilities are a natural part of our iterative development process as we strive to make StarCraft II as balanced and fun as possible.

Q: What can you reveal about StarCraft II’s single-player component?

A: The game’s plot will pick up the epic saga several years after the events of StarCraft: Brood War. Familiar heroes such as Jim Raynor, the reluctant Terran hero from the original StarCraft, will return, and new characters will also appear and make their mark on the story. The single-player campaign will allow players to interact closely with these characters while determining their own course through the game in terms of mission choices and technology upgrades.

Q: What is the role of heroes in StarCraft II? Will they be the same as in StarCraft?

A: StarCraft II campaign heroes will work similar to how they did in the original StarCraft single-player experience, but they will have even more unique abilities compared to standard units, and they will be more innovatively integrated into the single-player campaign.

Q: What can you tell us about the Zerg race?

A: Intelligence on the new Zerg mutations has been sparse at the moment - few of the reconnaissance sorties sent to spy on them have returned. We hope to have more information to share about the Zerg in the not-too-distant future.

Q: Will players be able to select multiple buildings simultaneously?

A: We are directing much attention to polishing and improving the user interface. On that note, players will definitely be able to select and build from multiple buildings at the same time. In addition, buildings can be added to a control-group for ease of unit production.

Q: Will we be able to select more than 12 units at the same time?

A: Currently, unit selection is unlimited, but this may change with further development and testing.

Q: Will the speed of StarCraft II multiplayer play match that of the original StarCraft?

A: We decided to lock the BlizzCon 2007 build of the game to the “fast” speed setting to ensure it remained accessible to BlizzCon attendees who might not have had previous StarCraft experience. However, StarCraft II will ship with even faster settings - which will mimic the speed of the original StarCraft - and we’re already playtesting matches internally at these faster speeds.

Q: Will be overhauled? Will there be new features?

A: There will be some exciting new changes and features to that will help us ensure that StarCraft II will be the ultimate competitive online real-time strategy game. We’re not quite ready to discuss those features at this time, but we look forward to getting into more detail in the future.

Q: Will we still be able to play the original StarCraft on after StarCraft II is released?

A: Yes, you will.

Q: Will there be clan management?

A: We’re not quite ready to discuss specifics related to at this time, but we look forward to doing so in the future.

Q: What steps are being taken to prevent cheating in multiplayer games?

A: We don’t want to tip our hand to the people who may try to cheat on, so we can’t go into too much detail, but rest assured that security is one of our top priorities as we redesign and overhaul, and we will take every precaution to ensure fairness in our online games. We’ve taken an aggressive stance against cheating in all of our games, and our players have overwhelmingly supported us in that, so we don’t have any intention to make any changes in that regard.

Q: How much will StarCraft II cost? Where can I buy this game?

A: Pricing and availability will be determined and announced much closer to the release date.

Q: What will StarCraft II’s rating be?

A: We are aiming for a T-rating in the US, and similar ratings elsewhere in the world, but those details won’t be finalized until we get closer to release.

Q: Will there be a closed or open beta? How about a trial or demo version?

A: Decisions related to beta testing and trial or demo versions are usually made further along in the development process. We don’t have any details available on these topics at the moment, but we will be happy to share the news once final decisions have been made.

Q: Will there be a collector’s edition?

A: Decisions related to the types of retail packages available will be made much closer to the game’s release date.

Q: What are the system requirements for StarCraft II?

A: We’ll have more details on specific system requirements closer to the release date.

Q: Will the game run natively on Windows Vista?

A: StarCraft II will be fully compatible with Windows Vista, as well as XP. We’ll have more details on system requirements closer to release.

Q: Will StarCraft II be available on Mac simultaneously with PC?

A: As with all of Blizzard’s recent releases, StarCraft II will ship on both PC and Mac simultaneously.

Q: Will StarCraft II take advantage of DirectX 10? What other graphical goodies are included?

A: The game will be compatible with DirectX 10, and we’re still considering whether there will be exclusive DirectX 10 graphic effects, but the graphics engine will also be very scalable to ensure that a wide range of different systems will be capable of running StarCraft II. The new engine is also capable of rendering very large units, as well as large numbers of units on screen together. Havok physics have been integrated into the engine for added realism as well.

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