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Real Time Strategy (Games) Games

Starcraft 2 To Be a Trilogy 253

Posted by Soulskill
from the three-is-better-than-one dept.
The Starcraft 2 gameplay panel was an eventful one at Blizzcon today. The developers faced an obstacle when designing the game; the plans they had were just too massive to implement in a single game on anything approaching a reasonable timeline. Their solution was to divide the game up into three separate, stand-alone titles: Terran: Wings of Libery, Zerg: Heart of the Swarm, and Protoss: Legacy of the Void. Read on for further details.
Each campaign will have on the order of 26-30 missions. The path players take through the missions can vary — the storyline branches frequently — but they will end in the same place. The games will run alongside each other; there will not be cliffhanger endings leading from one to another, and each game will focus on a different part of the story. The Terran campaign will focus on Jim Raynor, and the Zerg campaign will be all about Kerrigan. Multiplayer functionality will be in place for all three races from the start.
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Starcraft 2 To Be a Trilogy

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  • Shenanigans. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alaren (682568) on Friday October 10, 2008 @07:52PM (#25334299)

    Well, no link to read, so I'm going to go with the summary.

    This is stupid.

    "...the plans they had were just too massive to implement in a single game on anything approaching a reasonable timeline..."

    Ludicrous. The "no cliffhangers" thing suggests that these will be released more or less simultaneously, which means the decision to package them separately has nothing to do with how long it would take to make them. It's a naked grab for cash.

    Now, it's entirely possible that they've put so much money into this that they really do need most customers to buy the whole game for $150 a pop. Let's face it, video game pricing hasn't really kept up with the cost of making games. I'm happy to acknowledge that. But do they really need to pretend this is somehow mandated by the "massiveness" of the game itself?

    I haven't really been into RTSs since Starcraft 1, and I was kind of looking forward to coming back. But this really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Boo.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sparton (1358159)

      [...] they really do need most customers to buy the whole game for $150 a pop.

      Where did it say that they were charging full price for each one? For all we know, they could charge $50 for the first game, and $20 for each "expansion" campaign you buy (or some other form of arbitrary numbers).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nog_lorp (896553) *

      I do not see how "no cliffhangers" logically leads to "simultaneous release".

      If you remember Starcraft 1 at all, you should see how easily the game could be broken up like this, and yet how badly is would affect the story telling to force it into cliffhangers. Part of what was great about StarCraft 1 was how the different plot lines wrapped together.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bonch (38532)

      What I don't understand is, if each game is going to include the full multiplayer component (the primary draw for Starcraft), that means the last two titles are just single player missions that won't include new units or buildings. Doesn't that just make them mission packs that shouldn't cost more than $15-20?

      I just don't understand why they would part out the least wanted aspect of the game as if it's the most important. Multiplayer is the primary feature people are waiting for.

      • Information Here (Score:5, Informative)

        by Alaren (682568) on Friday October 10, 2008 @09:51PM (#25335437)

        Well, looks like further information is available here [kotaku.com], though it's about as clear as mud.

        It looks like the "expansions" will be released one at a time, not all at once. And they will change the multiplayer experience, like Brood War, but also have a "full" (which apparently means 1/3) single-player campaign included as well.

        I'm beginning to think that the biggest problem here is not Blizzard's greed (though that is a contributing factor!) but rather their apparent inability to communicate clearly just what it is they are trying to pull here.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          What Blizzard, it is just a front for Vivendi. The release of this storey seems more like a feeler so they can see what they can actually get away with. One thing they have to be really careful is the whole startcraft game play style has been done to death since starcraft originally came out and that game play style has become pretty dull and boring. Just dressing up the graphics and then dumping that same old same old, game play style really wont cut it, let alone trying to increase the returns on the eng

          • by Zironic (1112127)

            If it has been done do death since, why is starcraft and warcraft 3 still the most played RTS's in the world?

        • by Zironic (1112127)

          They're not communicating clearly because they haven't decided yet. SC2 is still far from release and the 3 games is still on the idea stage.

    • by ZorbaTHut (126196)

      That's not how I interpret it at all. I suspect that the three plotlines are running in parallel - there's no cliffhangers because they all run from the beginning of the Starcraft 2 plotline to the end of the Starcraft 2 plotline, they just focus on different races.

      I'm going to invent some hypothetical plotline here: perhaps one part of the Terran side's ending involves some allied Protoss buddies showing up and saying "hey hey, we successfully managed our side mission, which we're not going to talk about i

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Probably not.
      Think about it. You 50 bucks usually buys about X amount of hours.
      There making x times 3 amount of hours. Three games.

      Of course, if each game is 10 stinkin' hours, then yeah there just milking there fan base.
      I have a high degree of confidence they will be over 10 hours each.
      Blizzards quality has earned my confidence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Walkingshark (711886)

      Meh. I don't even like RTS games that much, though I enjoy certain aspects of single player. I hate multiplayer RTS. That said, I _LOVE_ the first three titles in the Warhammer 40k Dawn of War series. When they gave up on making content for their expansions and started bulding the bulk of the gameplay out of their skirmish mode I stopped playing, but those guys know how to make a fun RTS.

      They're also the ones who made Company of Heroes, which I never would have tried if I hadn't played DoW first, and which

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zironic (1112127)

        >And certainly better than some overbloated Blizztard crap that, despite their assurance it doesn't end with a cliffhanger, will >most assuredly end in a cliffhanger, just like every other game they've ever made.

        How can you call starcraft bloated after being a fan of CoH and DoW.

        The whole game design is specifically anti-bloat where if a unit is not important enough to gameplay it gets cut so the number of units per team stay near the ideal number of 12.

    • Re:Shenanigans. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zironic (1112127) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @05:27AM (#25337861)

      According to http://pc.ign.com/articles/918/918895p1.html [ign.com] they're planning to have a 1 year gap between games.

  • by lowlymarine (1172723) on Friday October 10, 2008 @07:55PM (#25334329)
    "We at Blizzard Entertainment value you, the wallet mounted on the back of an entranced magpie. As such, we wanted to ensure that StarCraft 2 was the highest quality money sink possible, while still extracting money from you soon. As such, it will be released in installments for the low, low price of $59.99 each. Naturally, each new installment will break multiplayer with previous ones. We hope you enjoy playing our games as much as we enjoy taking your money!"
  • by rk (6314) * on Friday October 10, 2008 @07:58PM (#25334379) Journal

    Those jackholes are going to make me shell out 150 to 200 dollars for this game, aren't they?

    God, Blizzard is evil!

  • pricing: (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    each installment is yours for $65 or grab the extended super amazing battle.net chest gold version for $200 with a collectors mouse pad and protoss boxers*

    * for a limited time only.

    • by mqduck (232646)

      Damn, each unsubstantiated claim of retail price has built on the last one so far. First, it was $150 for all three. Then "the low, low price of $59.99 each" and now $65. If we keep this thread going, the price will grow so massive that it collapses in on itself and we can afford it again.

  • For those of you whining about "whaaaa 300% markup"..

    Each campaign has 36 missions. That's more than the original Starcraft. Further, the campaign will be branched (ie, you'll have choices that actually effect what happens, which missions are selected, what happens). It might also feature co-op multiplayer, not sure on that one yet.

    Or, what they announced, was a game called Starcraft II and the following two expansions to it. You know that's how it'll work. They won't just ship new missions and charge you retail for it, it will feature new units, balance, etc.

    Starcraft was released, people were happy. Brood War was released, and people didn't whine about Blizzard "ripping them off" because hey, this expansion also had content.

    Starcraft II is exactly the same, and yet, people are whining now...? Am I missing something?

    • by denzacar (181829) on Friday October 10, 2008 @09:15PM (#25335137) Journal

      Starcraft was released, people were happy. Brood War was released, and people didn't whine about Blizzard "ripping them off" because hey, this expansion also had content.

      Starcraft II is exactly the same, and yet, people are whining now...? Am I missing something?

      SC
      Starcraft came out and turned out to be a success.
      People wanted more, Blizzard saw that it was selling, Blizzard made more of SC to sell.
      With more story, better AI and strategy, tweaks and new units.

      SCII
      Blizzard announces game.
      People say "Well its about time" and "Give it to us".
      Blizzard says "Hey! How about instead of 1 disk, we sell you 3 disks instead? We got the idea even before the game was completed. And which we have fluffed-out enough with video and audio so it fits onto 3 discs instead of 1, so that you could buy 3 discs instead of 1."

      Its a strategy game.
      There is no practical reason why all 3 of it's announced campaigns should now be able to fit on a single disk and come out at the same time.
      Its not like there are months or years of development left once they release the first one. Its a bloody MAP PACK!
      Multiplayer being "functional from the start" and "games running alongside each other" means no new units or functionality with campaign 2 and 3.

      They are making 3 of them JUST SO they could sell 3 of them, 3 times.
      Plain and simple.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScytheBlade1 (772156)

        > Blizzard says "Hey! How about instead of 1 disk, we sell you 3 disks instead? We got the idea even before the game was completed. And which we have fluffed-out enough with video and audio so it fits onto 3 discs instead of 1, so that you could buy 3 discs instead of 1."

        Blizzard says, "Hey! This is going to take a long time to produce to meet our quality expectations, and quite frankly designing a massive branching campaign with multiplayer in mind is a challenge.. we can either take from here until som

        • by SL Baur (19540)

          Blizzard says, "Hey! This is going to take a long time to produce to meet our quality expectations, and quite frankly designing a massive branching campaign with multiplayer in mind is a challenge.. we can either take from here until some time in 2015 to complete all three campaigns for one game..."

          Dang, I just posted the same thing above and did not see your comment.

          You are exactly correct. No Duke Nukem Forever IIs from Blizzard ...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bogjobber (880402)

        But if each one of those has a full game's worth of content, and the second two are priced like expansions/upgrades, then it would be worth it to most people. I don't understand the indignation when we don't even know the pricing scheme. Blizzard isn't stupid, they're not going to price themselves out of this. They want Starcraft 2 to sell 10 million copies.

    • by dunezone (899268)
      Actually, some people were pissed at Blizzard when Broodwar came out. When they started hacking Starcraft they found traces of I believe the Lurker in the code and I believe a few other of the six new units.

      So some people actually believe they held back units for an expansion.
      • Perhaps not "held back", maybe the units were just not ready, and they wanted to release? Would you have preferred a buggy SC1 with lurker?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SL Baur (19540)

      Starcraft II is exactly the same, and yet, people are whining now...? Am I missing something?

      You're new here. Whining is a way of life with us.

      What people are not thinking about it is that the real reason Blizzard is breaking this apart into pieces is prevent it from becoming Duke Nukem Forever II, instead of Starcraft 2.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well, it's all a big ripoff of Warhammer 40k, so they might as well take even more inspiration from Games Workshop by soaking their loyal customers for triple damage in the wallet.

  • Linux Support? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scott Lockwood (218839) * on Friday October 10, 2008 @08:30PM (#25334755) Homepage Journal

    I have intentionally stayed the hell away from anything about the game in the press. I loved SC1 and _still_ play it. Does anyone know if there will be Linux support this time around? I haven't had a box running Windows for many, many years. I don't want to have to buy Cedega on top of it, but I guess I may have to.

    Also, is there a release date yet?

    I ask here because I DON'T want to go to the website and get everything spoiled before I even get the game.:(

    • Errrr, how are you playing Starcraft - WINE, right? What makes you think SC2 won't run in WINE?

      • Well, there are a few games these days with native Linux support, and some others with *official* Wine support. I doubt SC2 will have either one, but it would be nice. And I imagine it will run on Wine, but it may be a while before it works well.

        There is really no reason to buy Cedega anymore, wine is getting pretty good. If anything, buy Crossover Games, as they actually give back to Wine, unlike Cedega's broken promises.

      • by tepples (727027)

        What makes you think SC2 won't run in WINE?

        Since the first StarCraft came out, Microsoft has added new API calls to Windows. These may not have a counterpart in current Wine. If StarCraft 2 uses any of these, it won't work in Wine. Or were you claiming that Blizzard has tested SC2 for Windows in Wine alongside Windows XP and Windows Vista?

    • by SL Baur (19540)

      Does anyone know if there will be Linux support this time around?

      I submitted that question in the Ask Blizzard at Blizzcon article recently.

      Blizzard supports Mac OS X out of the box. The support is *outstanding*. So there is no reason why they could not support a native Linux install with little additional cost to them.

      Anyone who is seriously interested in breaking the monopoly on computer gaming, should buy Blizzard games and play them on Macs or Linux with Wine and make sure Blizzard knows that. I have done that.

      Blizzard is #1 at the moment and they are receptive to

      • Blizzard is #1 at the moment and they are receptive to us, so if you care, vote with your pocket book.

        I'll wait to vote with my pocket book until there's either 1.) a native client for Linux, or 2.) I know for sure that it'll work ok in Wine. I'm not going to pay first, then hope it'll work when I get it home.

        • by SL Baur (19540)

          I'll wait to vote with my pocket book until there's either 1.) a native client for Linux, or 2.) I know for sure that it'll work ok in Wine.

          There's never going to be a native client unless we demonstrate support. And this is a chicken and egg thing.

          As for 2), check out the Wine web pages. They devote a lot of effort into classifying programs that run under Wine and you might find they have already classified what you want to try as supported.

          We are never going to win this thing with the Stallman approach - "you give me exactly what I want or fuck you". We can win it by giving as much encouragement as we can to our potential allies.

          We also ha

    • by mqduck (232646)

      With WOW, Blizzard has a history of working with the WINE (well, Cedega) people to make it more or less "compatible" with GNU/Linux (perhaps we can call it WINE/GNU/Linux). Probably due to Blizzard's working with Cedega, the game is such that it runs well on WINE anyway. From from a guarantee for SC2 though.

      Also, I agree about not wanting to pay for Cedega. It's a matter of principal. Me, I hope they go out of business.

    • It sounds like it's going to be native Windows and OS X only. However, Blizzard has gone out of there way to ensure WoW runs great in WINE, even though Linux isn't an officially supported platform. I'm not a Linux guy myself, so I can't speak from experience, but every report I've read says that WINE runs WoW pretty much flawlessly. Hopefully, Starcraft II will end up the same way.
  • by Satanboy (253169) on Friday October 10, 2008 @08:33PM (#25334783)

    Now that Blizzcon is in full swing, I can look forward to every announcement by blizzard being slashdotted and front paged for the next few days. . . .

    • by SL Baur (19540)

      I can look forward to every announcement by blizzard being slashdotted

      Ur, Blizzard has a vastly larger customer base than Slashdot has readers. More likely, a link from www.worldofwarcraft.com would bring down slashdot.org. Inverse slashdotting?

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Friday October 10, 2008 @10:43PM (#25335775)

    Part of the inherent coolness of StarCraft was that you got to experience all three races with very three different play mechanisms across the game.

    Now they want to make each campaign a separate game? It just doesn't sound nearly as interesting to me, no matter how big the campaigns are or what sort of "metagame" they add to it. It won't cover for the fact that, conceptually, it still feels like a step down.

    Obviously, the world isn't coming to an end here - but I wonder if Blizzard's near perpetual success is leading to a bit of disconnect here with the fans. When you can do no wrong for so long, you might start to believe that you can do no wrong even when you're doing wrong.

    • Well, wait until they're all out then? Maybe they'll allow you to play the missions in chronological order or at least a more mixed campaign experience.

  • by Stickerboy (61554) on Friday October 10, 2008 @10:52PM (#25335857) Homepage

    I can see the conversation now at Blizzard's headquarters:

    Bean counter: "Hey, we're making money hand over fist with World of Warcraft! How can you justify diverting money into an expensive new project without subscriptions?"
    Developer: "We could put subscriptions into multiplayer."
    Bean counter: "No, that could take away from our golden cash cow."
    Developer: "We... could split the single player into three map packs and charge for all three?"
    Bean counter: "Won't consumers feel gipped? Could that cut into sales?"
    Developer: "We'll add more 'mine X resource, build Y units and rush the enemy base' missions to fluff it out. Total gameplay hours will be 3 times as long!"
    Bean counter: "Brilliant!"

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You know, they could cut 2/3rds out of each one and sell one half ass game.

    • Where's the part where some kid named nm1AzNboi screams "desu desu desu!" and kills me before I get marines? That was always my favorite part.
  • I'll buy em all (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chrysrobyn (106763) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @12:53PM (#25340183)

    I loved Starcraft. Played it regularly for many years, often going through bouts where my girlfriend, later wife, and I would play every weekend for 8-10 weeks in a row. We played through the single player, and it certainly was compelling, but multiplayer was "where it's at". I've put more time into Starcraft than any other game, hands down. Possibly more than every other game I've played put together, although you might have to take Starflight [wikipedia.org] and its sequels [wikipedia.org] out [wikipedia.org].

    I can easily look at Starcraft 2 and justify buying all three races the same way a WoW player can say "$15/month is cheaper entertainment than anything else I can do". I am totally sold on the new visual direction they're going in, even making single player more muted and dirty than bright and easy to distinguish multiplayer. I love the characters I'm supposed to love and I have the characters I'm supposed to hate.

    I just wonder how much money this is going to cost me in babysitting and white chocolate mochas at my local wifi-enabled coffee house. 3 discs may be the cheapest part.

  • by Gothic_Walrus (692125) on Saturday October 11, 2008 @10:12PM (#25343131) Journal

    Starcraft (and Brood War) came out in 1998. Since then, Blizzard's been providing online play AND a continued stream of patches and updates, completely free of charge. Even if you paid full price for each piece back when they launched (let's say $50 each), I think you've gotten your money's worth out of the game over the past decade.

    Yes, Starcraft 2 may cost more up front by being packaged this way, but if Blizzard's past is any indication, the game's going to give you years of play, with the online support free for the duration. This, of course, is on top of the game itself, which (again, judging from the past) is going to be polished, balanced, and a blast to play.

    Blizzard's doing the smart thing here - if they were to rush the game and risk the content being broken or unbalanced even slightly, they'd get ripped apart for this. Even if people bitch now, giving the chunks of the game more development time will lead to a better product...and let's face it, probably 95%+ of the people here whining are going to buy the game and its expansions as soon as they're able to.

    And for the record, Starcraft was March '98, and Brood War was November '98. The game and its expansion pack were eight months apart - that's not exactly a long time between the two of them, and, given how long development and marketing take, I'm willing to bet that Brood War wasn't conceived after they'd had time to digest the sales figures from Starcraft for a while. Same goes for Retribution and Insurrection - more content, sold separately, mere months after the release of Starcraft.

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