Starcraft II Gameplay Footage, Unlimited Unit Grouping and a Fourth Race!

In Gaming, RTS on July 29, 2009 at 4:47 am

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Wings of Liberty

As many of you avid strategy gamers may already know Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, the first installment of the series, is just around the corner. Blizzard has given strong indication of a late 2009 release date. The original game, Starcraft, was released in 1998 and quickly became hugely popular with a huge player base. The game is also one of the most popular eSports and many fans are expecting the future of Starcraft 2 to be no different.

Starcraft II - The Zerg Faction

Starcraft II - The Zerg Faction

Unlimited Unit Grouping

Several members of the community have voiced concerns over the size of armies and unit grouping in the upcoming sequel to what is probably Blizzard’s most successful single strategy game. The original Starcraft had a 200 population limit but rather limited unit selection grouping. Blizzard has promised Starcraft 2 will continue to build on the model of massive armies with large number sof units battling it out in multiplayer games. Furthermore, it seems there will be no limitations in unit grouping either.

StarCraft II - Terran Vs Zerg

StarCraft II - Terran Vs Zerg

This “Starcraft 2 – ‘War of Attrition’ gameplay” video showcases some of the units available to each of the three races, and their use in large-scale combat:

The very unique races in the original game was loads of fun, and as a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) junkie, I really am looking forward to the sequel. Until then I’ll have to amuse myself with Company of Heroes. Don’t get me wrong: I strongly believe Company of Heroes will prove to be the better game. It also happens to be the highest-ranked RTS game of all time. However, it has been a while since I played a ‘traditional’ RTS game, and Starcraft II will surely be a refreshing return to basics without concern for the über tactics and planning that is the hallmark of Company of Heroes. On the other hand, Starcraft was always a micro-intensive click fest and could thus be quite engaging on a whole different level.

Fourth Race?

There is also that interesting tidbit that surfaced last year, where Blizzard (then, Sillicon Synapse) co-founder Frank Pearce was quoted in an article on VG247.com making this statement:

“We don’t have the resources or time to add a fourth race to the launch of StarCraft II, but I’m sure in the event that we decide to do an expansion set it’s a feature that’ll come up for discussion.
“We talked about the possibility of a fourth race early on, but we felt like we had a finite amount of great ideas and wanted to make sure we focused all the cool, best ideas on the existing three races rather than diluting those ideas across four races.”

I wonder what the fourth race could be. If they look to the Warhammer 40,000 Universe again for inspiration, the only race they haven’t already cannibalised is the ‘Orks’. While Orks seem okay in Warhammer 40k, they just wouldn’t fit into Starcraft. Looks like Blizzard will have to really innovate on this one. Tsssss, that’s dangerous! It could go both ways. Some of their innovation is really incredible. For example, I loved the original Warcraft Universe far more than the Warhammer Universe which it drew inspiration from. Download the manual here – it’s a real good read! On the other hand, I saw a lot of lore failings in Warcraft 2 (steampunk, REALLY?!) and subsequent games (Draenei, Netherstorm). As long as we don’t end up with something that fails as hard as the Draenei, I’ll be happy.

Either way, this should be interesting. More armies in an RTS faction is always welcome, but not something developers readily embrace — the unanimous petition by the Company of Heroes community for a Soviet army has been heard behind closed doors, and largely ignored.

Let’s hope Blizzard decides to release the game sooner rather than later — but, when it’s really ‘done’ of course. And here’s to hoping I get picked for the beta so I can report back on my impressions of the game. 🙂

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