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Starcraft II: ready to roll out!

Wings of Liberty, the sequel to Blizzard’s epic space strategy video game Starcraft, hit the stores on July 27. RT took a sneak peak at its single player campaign, which shows more promise than the first part ever did.

A bunch of old friends, some new characters, and new twists to the plot await fans in the sequel to the glorious space saga known as Starcraft.

The game’s first edition, released more than a decade ago, is one of the biggest hits in the history of video games.

Revolutionizing the genre of Real-Time Strategies, Starcraft became the inaugural game platform for global Electronic Sports (or simply eSports) competitions.

Quickly earning the status of “modern day chess” for its immensely competitive gameplay and precise balance, it is still played around the world a dozen years after its first release in March 1998.

In South Korea, Starcraft tournaments draw thousands of spectators and are broadcast live on several eSports channels.

It is a scale of popularity that the creators did not foresee, according to one of the game’s artists, Samwise Didier.

“We were just trying to make a fun game. It’s kinda what we do with all of our games. If it wasn't fun to play, people wouldn't be buying it. That's what has kept it going. So when the game is being played to this day it makes me feel proud. I actually look at the artwork nowadays and go – eew, they still play looking at that! ‘Cause, you know, the marine is 8 pixels tall now,” Didier told RT.

“Every race, half of the units are completely new. So with the Terrans we got rid of a lot of classic units, like the Goliath, Science Vessel, things like that. They are in single player, but not in the multiplayer at all. We have alternate units in their place for them. The Viking – I didn’t do the concept, but it was also one I really wanted to push because it was an area of common science fiction that we hadn’t done yet: transforming robots on the Terran army. We had the Siege Tank, it transformed, but it wasn’t a mech. It wasn’t a robot running around, it was more of a vehicle. On the Zerg I really love the Banelings just because – I’ve made the comparison before – they are like explosive bowling balls, rolling up and just bang-bang-bang. Now there is an entrance to somebody’s town where there wasn’t a moment ago. On the Protoss I really love the Stalker, because we took a classic Starcraft unit – the Dragoon – and updated it for Starcraft II. We made it a Dark Templar instead of regular Protoss unit and it’s little bit more sneaky, stealthy, as opposed to the big strong powerful Dragoon,” Didier said.

The original units that made it to the sequel will get an extra dimension. Literally, as the graphics are now on a 3D engine.

Despite the massive strengthening of the graphics, Starcraft II will not be too challenging in terms of system requirements, as is the case with most Blizzard’s products.

“We want to make a game that as many people in the world can play. If we cater to a group that has the highest-end cards, not many people will be able to play. Same if we do it the opposite way, if we cater to the super-super low-end, everyone can play, but it will be visually not as pleasing. So we just try to make it in the middle, where it looks good and everyone can – for the most part – play it with no problems,” Didier stressed.

And play it they will. Analysts expect no less than seven million copies to be sold in the next seven months. The figure looks quite realistic if you take into account the massive fan base, not-too-high system requirements and the twelve-year wait for the sequel that is about to end.

Ruben Zarbabyan, RT

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