The new series of space strategy is eagerly awaited by millions of fans around the globe. The Internet is filled with rumors and news regarding the release of the third part of Starcraft, but only a small part of them has a minimal grain of truth.
Blizzard Entertainment’s games have always generated a lot of excitement among fans due to their long successful history and the many hits released. Often, at its own Blizzcon festival, company representatives announce new plans for developers. However, at the last festival, information about the new StarCraft game was not confirmed, which caused discontent among fans. Where to look for the truth and details of the release of the game, what will it be, and whether it will be released on store shelves in the near future? First, let’s remember the epic history of the StarCraft world.
First StarCraft. RTS Standard for the Next Decade
The first part of the space saga was published back in 1998. This was preceded by a long brainstorm of ideas about the setting and plot of the game, the main characters. Game design was in full swing day and night, trying to give the most stylish and unique setting. At that time, many other studios were working on space strategies, almost all of them copied the sensational «Dune». Blizzard’s company tried to move away from the cliché of «Dune» and create its own, unique game world, or rather, the whole universe. And they did it. The game was scattered from the shelves, and the first part very quickly became a must-have in the collection of any self-respecting gamer.
The backstory of the StarCraft universe is well explained through various video clips, text descriptions of units and heroes. The players were presented with three main races — Terran (renegade colonizers have thrown into the backyard of the galaxy by malfunctioning navigation of ships), a noble ancient race of Protoss (relying on psionic energy and perfection of technology), and a terrifying imaginative swarm of the insect-like Zerg. The storyline of the original game relied precisely on the conflict between these three races.
The game shows in detail the events of the universe. The Milky Way Galaxy is called the Koprulu Sector, and all three races are fighting for dominance. Everyone is smart in their own way, everyone follows different paths of technological development. Terrans manage to adapt to almost any situation in the game thanks to their military equipment and firepower. Zerg are insectoid aliens known for their genetic modifications and significant numerical superiority. The Protoss are an ancient race with advanced technology and the ability to preserve their home planet Aiur.
Players were given the same challenges as other real-time strategies, but the balance, storyline, and the very essence of the strategic approach were completely rethought. Campaign introductory missions were simplified, as while major battles required substantial micro controlling skills. StarCraft’s backstory was unique — Blizzard’s game design department was very enthusiastic about creating a unique game universe, with still recognizable characters. The authors and artists of the company give the game a real scale and cinematography — the videos between the missions were brilliantly worked out, immersing the player in a military conflict.
StarCraft 2. Better and Better
After the success of the original game, for decades, Blizzard Studios took on other projects, while space strategy was a fan favorite. In the early years after its release, Starcraft quickly became an esports discipline, one of the first, and generally one of the main disciplines in the new world of professional esports. Professional players who started earning thousands of dollars in championships began to pay more attention to start-up craft. The well-known term «zerg rush» was born in StarCraft.
After Blizzard’s success in developing the World of Warcraft MMORPG, the studio’s game designers have finally turned their attention to an update to the Starcraft series. Several years were spent on creating a further history of the main characters, prescribing campaigns, rebalancing and supplementing, and so, in fact, «exemplary» strategic balance in the game.
In 2010, the world saw a continuation of the original strategy, StarCraft 2. The game immediately took its place on the podium of e-sports disciplines, displacing the original game — the balance in the game remained the same harmonious, which contributed to the rapid transfer of the game to the category of professional e-sports disciplines.
The fansites were ticking like bombs. Hundreds of thousands of genre adepts have taken a low stand in the direction of stores. The whole playing world was bound by a spasm of agonizing expectation. 27th 07th 2010. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty was released that day. The main PC exclusive of the year, the main RTS of the decade, and for some it’s just the main game in life.
Classic StarCraft Reborn
Blizzard begins to build up pathos even before the actual game starts, during the installation. A chilly female voice and dramatically edited art slides take us on a quick tour of the original SC and SC: Brood War storyline, while client files are slowly deposited onto the hard drive. By the time of the iconic click on the icon, you have been in the game for ten minutes. The next twenty are spent briefly recall the familiar mechanics. Here is the Command Center, here is a pack of SCVs, minerals around, and two Vespene springs. We have known what to do with them for a very long time.
Getting to know StarCraft 2 for the first time is like meeting an old friend after completing a full spa treatment. Prettier at times, inside the game, has not changed. She does not hesitate to quote the gameplay of twelve years ago, by the way. Everything here works to make the player remember the year 1998. There are familiar hotkeys, interface lines, and even a menu that still has to be called up inside missions by pressing the F10 key, and not Esc, like everyone else.
Blizzard’s sequel deals with malicious self-copying. Wings of Liberty is a classic, elementary real-time strategy game that will be understandable to anyone who has seen at least one game of the genre. The workers store resources at the base, the infantry comes out of the barracks with battle songs and, with the right mouse click, is sent to the crucible of battle. The factories are building tanks. Bunkers help protect the approaches to the base. Farms provide an opportunity for population growth. Etc. Probably not worth continuing — you already know all this very well.
Perfect RTS Campaign. Wings of Liberty
From all the familiar blocks, Blizzard has put together a completely new story, the main attraction of which is exceptionally talented missions. The heat of passion that is happening in the single missions of StarCraft 2 evokes associations not with colleagues in the genre, but with the best action games and shooters like Gears of War and Modern Warfare. The developers almost never give the player the opportunity to calmly build up and crush opponents with a number: the conditions for passing are turned upside down and back several times during the mission.
The best example is the episode titled «The Big Train Robbery» in which Raynor’s men have to blow up eight Dominion armored trains. The first two trains they derail playfully, and then hell begins. First, the trains get a guard. Then bunkers appear along the perimeter of the tracks. Then the trains start moving one and a half times faster. Well, by the middle of the action, a detachment of armored units begins to patrol the whole area, with whom it is better not to mess with — it is more expensive for yourself.
Another example is the level «Devil’s Sandbox», where we land on a volcanic planet, the lows of which are filled with lava every five minutes. The problem is that only in the lowlands there are deposits of crystals, which need to be mined eight thousand. Because of this, you have to keep an eye on the workers all the time and regularly evacuate them to safe platforms. And that’s not counting the constant raids of the zerg.
Something similar happens in almost every mission. But the Audience Award, apparently, gets a small sub-campaign for the Protoss (served as if in the past tense, through the crystal of Zeratul’s memories) and the mission «Screen Star», where you have to destroy almost half of the city in the body of a giant robot named «Odin».
Heart of the Swarm. Excellent Plot
The Heart of the Swarm campaign starts three months after the tragic events on the planet Char. Returned to her human form, Sarah Kerrigan is being restored in a secret laboratory on the territory of the Umojan Protectorate under the watchful eye of Jim Raynor and Prince Valerian. She does not remember anything about her being the Queen of Blades, but she is not given to completely disown the dark past.
And when the Dominion flotilla unexpectedly attacks the laboratory in order to kill Kerrigan, all carefully constructed plans collapse, the prophecies fade into the background, and only one remains. Revenge, burning, long-tormented revenge on the man who turned her into a monster and took away from her all that was most precious — Arcturus Mengsk. And for this, she has the surest and most nightmarish weapon — the power of a whole Swarm, ready to respond to the call of its Queen. But first, she will have to deal with the rebellious Flock Mothers, who recklessly decided to crush the zerg in the absence of the true ruler.
By the time the second part of StarCraft 2 was released, Kerrigan and Raynor had long become something of a symbol of the series, millions of players followed their relationship, thousands of fanfiction stories and books were published based on their stories. And the second part of the new Starcraft decided to focus on these characters — and it was right.
The developers again turned their favorite trick — with the help of small figures, they played out a fascinating story, each separate scene of which is akin to a small masterpiece. Honestly, for a long time (actually, since the time of Wings of Liberty) strategies have not spoiled us with such a variety of tasks. Each mission takes place according to its own special rules, and often also limits the players in time, which significantly increases the pace and does not get bored, sadly sitting in a deep defense and monotonously developing the base.
Between missions, the player, as before, returns to his command center, which is a huge living ship «Leviathan» here. In fact, it is similar to «Hyperion» from the original game, but with regards to the characteristics of the zerg. They are not engaged in research or engineering, their main trump card is a constant evolutionary development. A separate character on the ship is responsible for this — an overgrown larva obsessed with gene manipulation Abathur. With his submission, each of the controlled types of zerg can be assigned their own mutation, which gives individuals certain bonuses such as increased attack range, increased defense, or the ability to move underground. In addition, as you progress through, tasks on evolution will open here, allowing you to develop this or that zerg into a completely new individual in one of two possible directions. Each subspecies has its own unique features that greatly affect the tactics of its use, so every time you have to think about which of the ways is more profitable and convenient for you personally.
Legacy of Void. Long-Awaited Protoss Plot
In the third episode, it finally comes to the ancient deities. The beginning painfully resembles the third Warcraft, where the prophet Medivh also tried to warn everyone about the invasion of demons. But very soon the spiteful critics lose the reason to claim that Blizzard repeats the same stories over and over again. In the end, the prophecy turns out to be no prophecy, and many pianos in the bushes from previous episodes find a logical explanation.
The main character this time is the young (well, as a young — only two hundred and sixty-two years old) templar Artanis. Now it is he who leads the Khalai Protoss and leads them into battle to reclaim their lost homeland, the planet Aiur. And at the same time he is looking for a way to unite all the other, let’s say, «tribes» of his race in the face of a common enemy. And it is a pleasure to watch Artanis go dogging with a Taldarim representative.
Together with the «tribes» are supplied their troops, both new and well-known from the first StarCraft. Here you can experience ravagers, dark archons, and dragoons in battle, and for zealots, choose to stun the enemy when dashing instead of respawning after death or an area attack. And, as usual, it’s a shame that all this variety is not available in multiplayer. We would have already made a dump mode with all, all fighters from all episodes. So what, what is the imbalance going to be? But it’s fun!
The experiments with nonlinearity ended in the first episode, Wings of Liberty. The development of the protagonist remained only in Heart of the Swarm. Here the hero does not grow in levels and only occasionally appears on the battlefield himself.
The episode for the Protoss is a completely classic strategy, where in most of the missions we equip the base and accumulate strength for the attack. But with surprises — as, for example, in a mission where the base is on a mobile platform and must move between scarce reserves of resources under the cover of aviation. Only the smallest amount of minerals and gas is mined from each island, the platform is constantly attacked by nimble fighters that cannot be chased by aircraft carriers, and the base regularly changes its location, moving closer and closer to the enemy stronghold. And this is not to mention the fact that if in past missions you leaned on ground troops, now you will simply have to master air forces from scratch.
As in previous parts, between missions, players are free to roam their ship — in this part, the «Spear of Adun», the remnants of the technological greatness of the Protoss. Here you can communicate with the crew, choose the types of units that will go on the next mission, the bonuses that the ship will give. The system has hardly changed: by collecting a certain amount of a special resource, solarite, during missions, you can improve the ship’s reactor and unlock new skills.
In total, «Spear» has four active skills and two passive ones, and in each line, you can choose one of three unique skills — that is, a total of eighteen different skills. These skills are a kind of replacement for the hero units that are actually absent in the game. With the help of one of them, for example, you can fry a whole crowd of enemy creatures to a crisp, and with the help of the other, you can speed up the passage of time for a building tenfold and quickly build an army. The skills of the ship, like the units, are unlocked as you progress through the storyline.
What’s After? StarCraft 3 Rumors
StarCraft II turned 10 on July 27, 2020. In honor of this, Blizzard has released an «Anniversary» update with new achievements and an improved map editor. What about the next part of the legendary strategy? At the moment, there is no exact information, and representatives of the Blizzard company are strenuously brushing off any rumors.
Given the success of Starcraft 2, the ad campaign for the next installment should be something really big. It’s been ten years since the release of the second part, and it’s time to talk about a new incarnation of the favorite strategy of millions of players around the world. Interest in the issue is fueled by the recent release of Warcraft Reforged, in which the classic strategy was served in a new sauce of improved, cutting edge graphics. Given this fact, Starcraft 3 should also be around the corner.
Knowing Blizzard’s policy regarding his flagship projects, even if the development of Starcraft 3 already exists, they are strictly classified. Despite the seeming fame of amateurs to merge alpha tests on the Internet, the company actually values its games and does not release information about the development on public display ahead of schedule. It is quite possible that if talk about a new Starcraft is held in the halls of Blizzard, then we will see real incarnations only years later.
However, the players remain loyal to the company. Regardless of the waiting time, there is no doubt that Starcraft 3 will set the new benchmark for the RTS genre and break all sales records.
“I can say that our top priority is to release the content that we announced on the show. What will happen in the future depends on our players. We love the real-time strategy genre. The Starcraft universe is fantastic. And in the Warcraft universe, there are still stories to tell. There are also new Blizzard franchises that promise completely new stories. We want to hear what our fans think. But as developers we are still busy working on Legacy of the Void” — Explained Tim Morten, lead developer for Starcraft II.
“The most important factor is the messages from our players who don’t want the story to end. They’re enjoying the campaign and expecting more content from us. I think the second most important thing is the desire of the developers themselves to continue releasing this kind of content.”
In the end, all that can be said is that it all depends on the players. While Blizzard is busy with endless cycles of the World of Warcraft and updating the classic strategy, it’s too early to talk about Starcraft 3.