StarCraft II to be released as three separate games and other Blizzard news

Blizzard announced at Blizzcon that StarCraft II will be released as three separate games, one for each race. The first shipping “race” will be the Terrans. There will likely be a year or two between each release, so if you want to play all three single player campaigns you’ll have to wait four or five years at least from the date the first one ships.

What does this mean to me? Not much, really- I didn’t play the original StarCraft a decade ago, and I’m unlikely to be interested in StarCraft II either. I never really got “hooked” by the whole real time strategy genre, although I did play the original Warcraft. But for anyone who is a serious fan of the StarCraft series, waiting even longer to get the whole second release has got to be a bit frustrating. You can read the opinions of some game bloggers on the IGN website, but the truth is it will be released however Blizzard wants it.

There is no release date yet, by the way, for the first (Terran) “chapter” of StarCraft II- probably late 2009/early 2010 if you believe the rumours. That means you’ll own the full StarCraft II experience by about 2015, give or take a year. Scary thought: I’ll be fifty one years old in 2015.

Diablo III, another much-anticipated Blizzard release, is at least three years in the future, in case you are wondering. The growing rumours indicate that it will likely also be released on consoles like the XBox. And Blizzard has a “next generation” massively multiplayer game in development, and no, it isn’t a replacement or “upgrade” of World of Warcraft. My bet is on “World of StarCraft”. That would be in keeping with Blizzard’s tendency to milk their intellectual capital for all it’s worth. Apparently this “future MMOG” will also be released on consoles, but probably not “current” consoles- likely for Playstation 4s and XBox 720s (or whatever they name the next generation of consoles): expect to see it around 2013 or 2014.

To be honest, I don’t care much about Diablo III’s release. Diablo was fun, Diablo 2 looked like the exact same game as Diablo but with smaller pixels, and Diablo 3 looks like Diablo 2 but with new World of Warcraft style artwork. Similarly, I liked the original WarCraft, and felt no real interest in playing Warcraft 3: it looked like more of the same. And if they are going to release a new MMOG in seven years or so, hurray for them- I guess I don’t worship at the altar of Blizzard.

I’m waiting impatiently for Fallout 3 and Fable 2, though- so it isn’t that I have a problem with sequels. If I really, really enjoy a game, the sequel is something I *must* have. So, even though I’m not a Blizzard fanboy, I do understand the sentiment.

5 thoughts on “StarCraft II to be released as three separate games and other Blizzard news”

  1. Looking at it as an outsider (not having played StarCraft), splitting up the game seems like an odd decision. There are a couple of pieces of “good” news though, Oblivions: apparently, you’ll get all three races to play in multi-player with each release, and the single player campaign for each race will be as big as the entire 3-race campaign was in the original game.

    Fallout 3 and Fable 2 have both been released to production: I’ll have both of those to play within a few weeks 🙂

  2. You know, I just can’t get excited about a game release that’s 5 years in the future. I mean the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs all took place in the span of 9 years. I can get interested about say, designing and building a new Airliner, and can see why it will take a long time, and can follow milestones along the way.

    But a game?
    A movie?
    A book?


    About the most I can work up is a “that’s nice, I’ll have to remember to look that up if it comes out.”

    And I really think game developers need to rethink their announced timelines. I mean how many gamers are going to get tired of waiting, actually get social lives, have sex and be too busy taking the resulting spawn to 1st grade to buy anything by the time the game actually reaches market? 😉 😀

  3. I agree with your sentiments, Chris. In five years a person can change completely: how can something like a game be so important in that big of a span of time? I guess some companies with “dynasties” like Blizzard might think they are serving their fans by providing them early glimpses. But if it is more than a year or two away I’m not sure that it really provides much benefit.

    Most developers will have a little announcement when development kicks off, then go into silent running mode for a couple of years until the release date is (theoretically) less than a year away. But companies like Blizzard rarely hit their early delivery targets, and seem to take great pride in releasing games “when they are done”. So why not release information “when it is done” as well?

    That said, the first “episode” of StarCraft II will be released in a couple of years, more or less. So one could argue that Blizzard isn’t really pre-announcing as far in advance as my post suggests. But it boggles my mind that over ten thousand people attended Blizzcon to find out the latest information on what classes will be in Diablo 3… a game that, at best, they will be playing in 2011.

    There is no doubt that computer games interest me a lot more than the do other folks- probably quite a bit more than they interest you, Chris. But even I only keep a sort of vague awareness of what games are coming, and maybe check up on things that interest me once every six months or so. Until they get close to going gold, I don’t really “anticipate” them very much: that last six months or so is when I start to get excited, not when I first hear the developer has launched the project.

    In the average three to five year development cycle of a triple-A computer/console game, a lot can change. Probably at least one in five never even make it to release, and at least three out of five are changed so radically during development that the resulting game bears little resemblance to what the developer was talking about when they started. Games are a big part of my life, but I can find a better use for my time then getting all worked up about something that doesn’t even exist yet. For example, I can play games that *do* exist 🙂

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