Blizzard announces StarCraft II

Blizzard Entertainment on Saturday announced its newest game in development — StarCraft II, the long awaited sequel to the legendary real time strategy game. It’s currently in development for Mac OS X and Windows. Blizzard didn’t offer a release date for the game, only saying that it will be released when it’s ready.

StarCraft II is a real-time strategy game that revisits the world of Terrans, Protoss and Zergs — three mighty starfaring races that clash for interstellar domination. The three species that make up the game have been “overhauled and re-imagined,” according to Blizzard, and the game is being built using an entirely new 3D engine. Each race will feature new units and new gameplay mechanics, as well as new abilities for units that experienced StarCraft players will already be familiar with.

Mike Morhaime, Blizzard’s president and cofounder, said that StarCraft II will let the company do everything it wanted to with the original StarCraft and more. “We recognize that expectations are high following the long-running popularity of the original game, but we plan to meet those expectations and deliver an engaging, action-packed, competitive experience that StarCraft players and strategy gamers worldwide will enjoy,” said Morhaime.

The announcement is the culmination of weeks of buildup in the game community. Rumors first appeared that indicated Blizzard would make an announcement, and in recent days the company replaced its Web site home page with a placeholder that showed a timeline displaying the evolution of its games since the first Warcraft game hit shelves.

If the timing seems a bit strange, Blizzard announced the game at the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational event in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea represents one of Blizzard’s biggest markets, and has been a perennial hotspot for StarCraft activity ever since the game was first released in 1998. Many credit StarCraft’s popularity in South Korea with helping to spawn professional tournament gaming.

The StarCraft II Web site features more details about the game, including artwork and movie trailers (encoded using DivX, but Mac-compatible). Look for more coming soon — a gameplay trailer is expected to be posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007.

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