Giant Bomb News

135 Comments

Ready to Buy Starcraft II Three Times?

You'd better be, if you want to play all three factions' single-player campaigns.

"You will wait and you will like it, boy."
While we're over here in Japan busting out coverage at the Tokyo Game Show, sheer pandemonium is apparently breaking out in Anaheim, CA, scene of the annual Blizzard fan orgy Blizzcon. News fresh off the wire says the ol' Blizz is splitting Starcraft II into not just two but three retail boxed products, one focusing around the single-player campaign for each of the Terran, Zerg, and Protoss factions. The three games will come in that order, with the subtitles Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void.

Man, my initial reaction was to get really angry about this, like Blizzard said "We know you'll pay for three games. Now do it." But considering all they've said previously about the Starcraft II single-player experience--the branching story paths, the adventure elements, the in-game economy and commerce model--it seems just as likely that the design process simply got away from them and they couldn't fit all their ambitions for each race into a single product and get it out the door in a timely manner. At least, I want to believe that.

It also sounds like each campaign will be as dense as the entirety of the first Starcraft. Each one of these boxes will run you 26 to 30 missions, with non-linear story paths in the middle that lead to a fixed endgame. If you recall the heady year of 1998, you only got about eight linear missions out of each campaign in the original Starcraft, so even if you only get one of these boxes, you're still looking at a net gain.

GameSpot quoted Blizzard design master Rob Pardo as follows.

Pardo also said that the second two releases could be considered expansion packs, but that "we really want them to feel like stand-alone products."

So I think (or at least hope) that sheds some light on the pricing structure of the set. Maybe it's a full-priced initial entry and then a couple of $20 add-ons to round out the experience. I'd be okay with that. But I think I can speak for the entire human race in saying that three full-priced Starcraft II games in quick succession would be a little offensive.

The other big question is multiplayer. Do you get all three playable races out of this first Terran product? The Zerg and Protoss will probably have to be more or less finished and balanced for that first game to function properly, so I'm guessing the answer is "yes." Besides, fans would riot if they had to wait extra months to play as their favorite race.

Wait, the other other big question is, what's the release schedule? I'm less interested in when the first game is coming--because who knows when that will be--but more curious about how quickly the other two games will follow after Wings of Liberty. Which is not my favorite title, but the other two sound pretty awesome.

We'll harass Blizzard PR when we get back from Japan and see if we can demystify any of this business. I don't think I'll sleep soundly at night until I know.

UPDATE! IGN PC mack Jason Ocampo confirms that each title will be a full standalone product and won't require the others to function. Thanks Chocobo_Blitzer. I'm less inclined to forgive this move after hearing that, I think. Brad Shoemaker on Google+
135 Comments
  • 135 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Posted by Brad
"You will wait and you will like it, boy."
While we're over here in Japan busting out coverage at the Tokyo Game Show, sheer pandemonium is apparently breaking out in Anaheim, CA, scene of the annual Blizzard fan orgy Blizzcon. News fresh off the wire says the ol' Blizz is splitting Starcraft II into not just two but three retail boxed products, one focusing around the single-player campaign for each of the Terran, Zerg, and Protoss factions. The three games will come in that order, with the subtitles Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void.

Man, my initial reaction was to get really angry about this, like Blizzard said "We know you'll pay for three games. Now do it." But considering all they've said previously about the Starcraft II single-player experience--the branching story paths, the adventure elements, the in-game economy and commerce model--it seems just as likely that the design process simply got away from them and they couldn't fit all their ambitions for each race into a single product and get it out the door in a timely manner. At least, I want to believe that.

It also sounds like each campaign will be as dense as the entirety of the first Starcraft. Each one of these boxes will run you 26 to 30 missions, with non-linear story paths in the middle that lead to a fixed endgame. If you recall the heady year of 1998, you only got about eight linear missions out of each campaign in the original Starcraft, so even if you only get one of these boxes, you're still looking at a net gain.

GameSpot quoted Blizzard design master Rob Pardo as follows.

Pardo also said that the second two releases could be considered expansion packs, but that "we really want them to feel like stand-alone products."

So I think (or at least hope) that sheds some light on the pricing structure of the set. Maybe it's a full-priced initial entry and then a couple of $20 add-ons to round out the experience. I'd be okay with that. But I think I can speak for the entire human race in saying that three full-priced Starcraft II games in quick succession would be a little offensive.

The other big question is multiplayer. Do you get all three playable races out of this first Terran product? The Zerg and Protoss will probably have to be more or less finished and balanced for that first game to function properly, so I'm guessing the answer is "yes." Besides, fans would riot if they had to wait extra months to play as their favorite race.

Wait, the other other big question is, what's the release schedule? I'm less interested in when the first game is coming--because who knows when that will be--but more curious about how quickly the other two games will follow after Wings of Liberty. Which is not my favorite title, but the other two sound pretty awesome.

We'll harass Blizzard PR when we get back from Japan and see if we can demystify any of this business. I don't think I'll sleep soundly at night until I know.

UPDATE! IGN PC mack Jason Ocampo confirms that each title will be a full standalone product and won't require the others to function. Thanks Chocobo_Blitzer. I'm less inclined to forgive this move after hearing that, I think.
Staff
Posted by FalcomAdol

Hm, yes.  Epic.

Epic fail.  Epic fail indeed.

Posted by HTTenrai

If the economy systems I've been hearing about pan out, even playing just ONE faction will be intense enough.

I'm no Starcraft fan, though, so I'll quietly bow out now.

Posted by Torb

Umm...just lost interest in this game. That quickly.
Blizzard will haveto pull something out of their sleeve/butt to renew my billfold...

Posted by austinmiller

im excited, i'll probably just get the terran at first bust might decide to buy the other two later

Posted by MeatSim

idk, this still seems pretty lame on Blizzards part if they go through with this.

Online
Posted by Joseppie

Sheesh, I dunno. Anyway I look at this, it just doesn't sit well at all. I just can't convince myself that it's more complicated than Blizzard simply wanting to milk the most money out of Starcraft 2 possible.

Posted by breton

I don't think it's a good idea to tell people you're going to exclude content just so you can release some expansions.

Posted by Godzilla_Sushi

Yeah it sounds bad huh? They know what they can sell.....but it just sounds like a bad idea for the people buying it.

This is clearly the way they plan to sell me nine copies of the same game over the next decade as I lose and scratch discs........instead of three. ;)

Posted by TheWorstPlayerEver
Posted by makari

Are Blizzard becoming too big for their boots? More news at nine!
I think Blizzard know at this point that any outrage caused by this will soften as soon as the game is released and everyone buys it anyway.

Posted by Lies

Wow, that seems kinda uncool... Gotta say, for a company as classy as Blizzard usually is, this seems like a huge mistake.

Posted by PureRok

This felt like a slap in the face and now I'm considering not even getting Starcraft II.

Posted by NoPantz

For them to try something so out of the norm for Blizzard (or anyone for that matter) they have to be banking on this game being fucking outstanding. They haven't made a bad game yet so there isn't really a concern at the quality of the game but just how much of it you'll get per "expansion."

Posted by giyanks22

This is one of my favorite games ever...i hope that blizzard can save this...with something really incredible

Posted by HatKing

Sorry Knives not how it'll work, they said they are NOT going to be expansions.  Each will be stand alone games.  I don't even know how multiplayer will work now. 

Posted by Replica23

"Maybe it's a full-priced initial entry and then a couple of $20 add-ons to round out the experience."


It's not though. Joystiq has a quote up from Rob Pardo saying all three are separate products. They'll be stand alone releases much like Dawn of War: Dark Crusade or Crysis: Warhead. The three questions are:

1. How much content will be included in each release?
2. Will you be able to play all three races online with only buying one of the products.
3. How much will Blizzard charge for each?

If each release is priced at $30 that would be alright in my books, because from the sound of it all the content combined seems like what a standard full release and an expansion pack would be. However given the way Blizzard has been doing business with World of Warcraft I'm expecting the releases to either all be priced at $59.99 or $39.99 each, and people will need to buy all three if they want to take each race online. I'd be very surprised if that wasn't the case.
Posted by rohanspear345

F u blizz

Posted by Knives

@ Replica23, Hatking: Learn to read. They want them to "feel like stand-alone products". That doesn't mean they won't be expansions and that doesn't mean they'll be full-priced. But, I guarantee that you won't be able to play the other two campaigns without the original game.

Posted by Knives

I'm starting to lose faith in the gaming community. Most of your responses are irrational and flat out stupid to say the least. The stupid comments on Giantbomb don't even compare to Neogaf.


This is how it's going to go down:

Starcraft 2 - $50, comes with one lengthy campaign and full custom game/multiplayer options with all three races.
(Three to six months later) Zerg expansion - $20-$30 (maybe $40), comes with Zerg campaign. Contains multiplayer updates, new units etc.
(Three to six months later) Protoss expansion - $20-$30, comes with Protoss campaign. Contains multiplayer updates, new units etc.

There is going to be a LOT of single-player content here. I can't emphasize this enough. This is going to kick ass.
Posted by zoozilla

Bottom line, if it's good, I'll buy it.

While I buy what amounts to basically the same game 3 times in a row?

I don't know.  I'm not that big of a StarCraft fan anyway, so...

Posted by Replica23

@Knives: I did read, maybe I should have taken more care in separating my thoughts from what Pardo said to what I expect to happen. What Pardo said was. "It's a separate product. Look at the next two as expansion packs, but will have the feel of stand alone products." He doesn't indicate they are expansions, nor does he say they are stand alone products. What's the middle ground in that statement? A stand alone expansion, much like those that have been done for Dawn of War, Company of Heroes and Crysis. I could be wrong, and I hope more clarification comes, but he doesn't strongly suggest either so the safe bet is the middle.

However I'm certain I'm completely wrong with regards to the multi-player part.
Posted by BournePrime79

They're putting spin on a marketing gimmick with this "we want them to feel like stand alone games".  I for one don't want to spend $90-$130 (using Knives price predictions) on a game that would cost $50 like any other game.  Assuming this works (It likely will cause it's Starcraft2) we can expect other companies to follow suit.  Pretty soon we are paying full price for segments of games plus paying for dlc content that's already on the discs..etc.  It's getting to be pretty rediculous all around.

*edit*   What the hell is going to be the bottom line for collector's editions for these things??  $80 a pop??  Games costing more than gaming consoles is crazy.  lol

Posted by Knives

@BournePrime79: It's silly to think this much content should be priced at $50. Just some perspective. There were 30 missions in Starcraft. There are going to be 75-90 missions in this trilogy. Do you still think the $50 price tag is reasonable? Really?

Posted by Zor
Posted by BournePrime79

Diablo 3 will probably have a "stand alone but not stand alone expansion but not expansion" packs for each class too!

Posted by Knives

@Replica23: The only reason I know they won't be standalone is that breaking up the multiplayer is not an option for Blizzard. There will be one Starcraft Battlenet.

Posted by Win

This really blows. The fact that I will probably have to wait 1-2 years AFTER SC II gets released just to play my favorite race (Protoss) in single player is ridiculous. This just seems like Blizzard is fucking over there customers and trying to get some extra cash out of it.
"Well we can't charge them for monthly subscriptions.....how else can we get more money out of this?"
"Oh I know!!"

Thanks a lot Blizzard.

Posted by BournePrime79

@Knives:  Yes and No.  It's been said that the storylines are not linear, but all end in the same way.  I can't see myself playing through the missions enough times to experience every single one.  While there may be 30 missions you may only complete 10 in a storyline.  I'm the kind of dude that will play the story once and then go to multiplayer.  In that case I'd also probably wait till they release "StarCraft2 Platinum Ed."  and buy all 3 for $40.

Posted by Chocobo_Blitzer

To settle the stand alone vs expansion argument, ign's story seems to flat out confirm they are stand alone, not expansions.

http://pc.ign.com/articles/918/918895p1.html

Posted by Impossibilium

@ Knives

That's not necessarily how it's going to down. It might be how we "hope" it's going to be released but given the era of microtransactions and publishing strategies in which we now live I can easily see this as three 10 hour games that are full price.

The fact that Blizzard has not clarified how much content will actually be in the first part doesn't get my hopes up. They either don't know in which case they don't have a plan and this was a last resort, or they do know and can imagine how pissed off people will be if they realize they have to spend $180 to get the equivalent content length of Starcraft 1.

Posted by Knives

My only point is that I don't really think price and content is a legitimate concern. If we know anything about a Blizzard game, it's that we get our money's worth. Release dates however, are a very legitimate concern. I will be upset if I have to wait much more than a year to play the protoss.

30 missions in the Terran campaign, plus the storymode sounds quite excellent. The way they presented it at Blizzcon made it sound too good to be true that there would be 3 full campaigns and storymodes in the retail game.
Posted by motang

Well this just greedy on their part, and I am more than sure it's cause of the merger...damn you Activision.

Posted by Guest

Well, I'm pretty tired of RTS games as it is.  I was going to buy Starcraft 2 anyway, pretty much just because it's a Blizzard game, but if this means that playing all 3 campaigns will cost $150 then they can kiss my ass and I won't buy any of them until later when they're at a bargain price.  If they are going to try to milk every game now just because they got used to raking in the recurring fees with WoW, then the Blizzard I once knew is truly dead and gone.  Now if this is only somehow being misconstrued or miscommunicated and the other campaigns will only cost $20 or so then that might be okay.

I hope they don't pull any major bullshit with Diablo 3, because that game I'm actually really looking forward to.

Posted by Destroyeron

This has to be THE stupidest thing Blizzard has done to date.

I very quickly went from buying collectors edition, to pirate.

Posted by Guest

I also noticed that the link to the story here is actually to a GameSpot page....

Weird.

Posted by Pseudo_Sidious

First of all, just because they are 3 stand-alone games doesn't mean that they will each be a $60 game. Second, I can garuntee that they will come out with a bundle of the 3 that will make it substantially cheeper. Third, it sounds like you are getting a ton of gameplay enhancements and content this way. So, I am kind of surprised that you all are jumping on this so negatively so quickly. Just hold up; there is still a lot we don't know about how this will work.

Then again, for me, one reason it doesn't bother me--no matter how it goes--is that I only ever play the Zerg anyway. So, I will probably buy Heart of the Swarm and leave it at that.
Posted by Koof

I would rather this happen than the game be delayed for another two years.

Posted by breton

@Knives - What I find interesting is that you seem to just want to pay more money. If you don't want the expansions to take more than a year, then why wouldn't you just want them to postpone the release a few months and give us the whole game then? As someone else has said, pretty soon we'll be paying full price for segments of games, and dlc.

And as I said, it's stupid for a company to tell us that they will exclude content. An expansion should feel like an afterthought, not a planned out strategy to milk more money.

Posted by VooDooPC

Some guarantee that was Knives. :)

Posted by Media_Master

not getting anyway

Posted by AllThatBacon

Kinda lame.

Posted by Destroyeron

Anyone else hear about the bnet2 costing a monthly fee?

Posted by breton

@Destroyeron - "Diablo III director Jay Wilson said today that the company does not have a great desire to charge a subscription fee for the upcoming revision of its multiplayer client Battle.net." Nope, didn't hear about that.

Posted by sloppyjoe

Who cares about single player anyway.  Multiplayer baby!

Posted by Cube

Well then.

Fuck that.

Posted by DoctorPayne

1 full priced game followed by 2 budget priced expansions? Fine. 1 full priced game followed by 2 full priced expansions? Piracy.

Posted by Tarsier

Damn Blizzard.

Posted by ColMirage

Hmm. Too many questions lie unanswered. It's too soon to forge a solid opinion about this.

Posted by TomA

Oh well,this probably means we will get some type of Starcraft 2 sooner.I can't wait I'm a huge Blizzard fan!

  • 135 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3