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: We’re currently aiming to release before the end of 2009. But 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 capable of rendering beautiful landscapes as well as massive army sizes. The speed, responsiveness, and epic-scale battles that made the original StarCraft such a memorable game are all realized in 3D with this brand-new engine.
We’re also introducing a number of distinct new units to the protoss, terran, and zerg, and 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. The maps themselves will also offer new interactive elements that enhance the strategic nature of the game and create more tactical points of interest for players to contest. One example of this is the Xel’Naga watchtower structure—when captured, it reveals line of sight over a large area of the map, creating an advantage for the player in control of the tower.
In addition, Battle.net 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 to enjoy.
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 pre-rendered cinematics, starting with the intro movie. StarCraft II’s advanced 3D engine also allows us to create numerous in-engine cutscenes to help tell the game’s epic story. The Blizzard cinematics team is working closely with the StarCraft II development team to ensure that these in-engine cutscenes are as enjoyable and compelling to watch as the pre-rendered cinematic scenes.
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: Can you give some examples of the newest changes in StarCraft II ?
A: The most significant changes we’ve made recently are some new game mechanics that impact the economic efficiency of each of the races. The Protoss can create a structure called the obelisk that has a few useful abilities. One of these is called “proton charge,” which temporarily speeds up the rate at which probes can harvest minerals. If used consistently, this ability can noticeably increase the Protoss’ income.
The Terrans have a new unit called the “mule,” which can be summoned from the orbital command building. Mules harvest minerals much like SCVs, but at a much faster rate – however they only last for a specific amount of time. Since the ability costs energy, Terran players must decide how much of their energy to spend calling down mules, and how much to save for the orbital command’s other ability – the comsat scan.
Finally, the Zerg can boost their production capability with the help of a new ability from the queen. By casting “spawn larvae” periodically on hatcheries, Zerg players can significantly increase the rate of larvae production from their hatcheries, allowing them to quickly field large armies.
Q: It seems like there are sweeping balance changes almost every time I read about StarCraft II. What are the reasons for the changes ?
A: As we go through various testing stages, the development team experiments a lot with the game balance. This 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 four years after the events of StarCraft: Brood War. Familiar faces will return—such as Jim Raynor, the reluctant terran hero from the original StarCraft—and new heroes and villains will emerge. The single-player campaign will allow players to interact closely with these characters while determining their own course through the game via mission choices and technology upgrades.
Q: Will Battle.net be overhauled ? Will there be new features ?
A: There will be some exciting new changes and features to Battle.net that will help us ensure that StarCraft II will be the ultimate competitive online real-time strategy game. Some of the areas we’re looking into include features that support online tournaments, eSports, and enhanced communication between players. We’re not quite ready to go into further detail about Battle.net 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 Battle.net, 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 Battle.net, 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: When will you begin the beta test for StarCraft II ?
A: We’re aiming to release a closed, multiplayer beta for StarCraft II sometime this summer.
Q: What are the system requirements for StarCraft II ?
A: We’ll have more details on specific system requirements closer to the release date. For now, we can say that the game will require a graphics processor that is Pixel Shader 2.0 compatible.
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: Will there be a console version of StarCraft II ?
A: StarCraft II is being developed for Windows and Mac. We have no current plans to bring the game to any console platform.