Blizzard announces StarCraft II

There is no release date yet, but after a mere nine-year wait, publisher Blizzard has given the world its first glimpse at StarCraft II, the sequel to one of the most popular real-time strategy games of all time. Before a crowd of rabid Korean fans packed into an Olympic stadium, Blizzard showed first a short CG trailer. It begins with a Terran (i.e.: human) marine being encased in heavy battle armor, followed by a flashing series of images showing units from the bug- like Zerg and cybernetic space-monks, the Protoss - and also human hottie turned insectoid Queen Bitch of the Universe, Kerrigan. The trailer concludes with a computer voice instructing all marines to prepare for launch, and the marine saying “Hell, it's about time.” (Get it?) We get our first look at the logo.

Lead designer Dustin Browder then took the stage to guide us through 20 minutes of actual gameplay footage from the in-development alpha version of the game - with the obvious caveat that nothing shown here was final. The engine looks gorgeous, and recreates the famous units in levels of detail that, until now, existed only in the minds of the fans. The demo began with Protoss units being dropped onto a space platform map. Familiar Zealot infantry (complete with psionic blades and personal shields) were the first on the ground, and showed off their new ability to charge enemies by decimating a group of Terran marines.