Starcraft 2 is finally unveiled
The run up to the announcement of a sequel to Blizzard’s 1998 RTS was the slowest builder on this list (Five years, no less), but by the time the inertia really gathered this year the rumor was moving fast enough to blast through the side of an elephant. While the developer’s other ‘craft has spun out into many a sequel and expansion over the years, World Of Warcraft being possibly the most planet conquering game around these days, the much-loved Starcraft had only earned a handful of expansion packs and an aborted action game previously to this year.
In 2002 talk of a sequel had been quickly quashed by Blizzard, but the rumour-mill was given new fuel in 2006 when the company issued a job advertisement requesting a game balancer who had “Played Warcraft 3 and/or StarCraft competitively”. At that year’s Leipzig Games Convention, Blizzard CEO Paul Sams also told IGN that “there is no doubt that we will continue the StarCraft and Diablo franchise, and trust me, I will be the happiest person in the world when we announce StarCraft 2.” He added that a major announcement was on the way in 2007. And yes, that was a “when” you saw just then, not an “if”. The rumour-mill accelerator nudged a little closer to the ground.
That pedal was nearly floored in January of this year when Blizzard’s Itzik Ben Basset proclaimed at the London launch of WOW expansion The Burning Crusade that “I hope it's not a decade, and we launched StarCraft in 1998, before I'm standing here again, celebrating the next game in the series.”. That would make it one year to go then, if things went as he “hoped”. Could you have been more obvious Mr. Basset? Starcraft 2 was then all but confirmed in April when a story came from Korean site Fighter Forum claiming that info about the game had been leaked by Blizzard staff. An internet leak story from an obscure foreign wouldn’t usually hold much sway, but coming from Korea? Where Starcraft is virtually the national sport? Lots of sway.
Then in May Blizzard put a timeline up on its site detailing the history of its main game releases, lighting up another one every day in the run up to its World Wide Invitational event in, yes, Korea. There was a big question mark at the end of the timeline, but by that point it may as well have been a big flashing “!”. With “Starcraft 2” preceding it. The game was announced at the event as expected and is now very much on the way. If it hadn’t been, Blizzard’s HQ would now be a smoking hole populated only by victorious yet angry Koreans.