Saturday, October 11, 2008

Starcraft 2: The Trilogy.

(taking a momentary break from WoWBlogging)

Starcraft 2 is to be divided up into 3 parts.


I don't mind saying that Starcraft holds a special place in me heart. Hell, all Blizzard games do, but Starcraft is pretty much the only RTS I've played that I actively enjoyed rather than played because it's what all my mates were playing. I love the storylines, the units, the strategies and tactics you can bring to bear etc. In theory releasing it in three parts is a good thing because it allows them to concentrate on the storyline more. In practice... it can feel like an imposition, or like you are paying for half a game (or for lots of cutscenes and little gameplay), or like they are fleecing you for cash.

Look at Half-Life 2, Valves foray into episodic gaming which this venture resembles. Original game... great. Finished on a cliff-hanger but we can all cope with that, and was fairly long to boot as the genre goes. They announced that HL2:Episode 1 would continue where HL2 left off, which it did 2 years later. Now 4 years after HL2's release and Episode 3, the supposed final chapter, is no-where to be seen. Am I going to be happy if 4 years after SC2: Wings of Liberty is released I'm still waiting for Legacy of the Void? Plus, just how are they going to price these things, full £35 retail for each? Blow that for a game of soldiers.

(of course, this doesn't address any issue with Online gameplay... I wonder how that's going to be handled).

Try to envision the classic distribution models as a restaurant meal. The MMO is an all you can eat buffet - pay at the door and for a seat at an hourly rate and consume as much as you want. You're not left thinking that you've not had a full meal and they're always adding new stuff to the buffet counter to try. Standard Expansions for games are like the wine list - you can have them, or not, but they only serve to enhance the meal without trying to be, or claiming to be a meal on their own.

The proposed Starcraft 2 model is a three course meal where you diligently plan what you eat from a menu which has no price guide. The first course is served, and it's great but you're acutely aware that it's just the starter. You look around for a waiter but none can be seen- no wait, there's a guy in Blue at the door. You cough rather loudly and he comes over, looking chagrined as you explain that the starter was fine but you'd really like your main course now. You go through what you'd like for your next course and his expression goes through agonised pangs, relating that the meal you thought you were getting isn't what you will be getting because of X/Y/Z reason. But, you can accept that, after all you're still hungry and you went through a very nice starter what seemed like an age ago, and so you order what you want and ask when it will be ready. He replies to you, in a neutral tone:

"The Chef, he say's it will be ready when it's ready".

And you wake up in an overnight cell charged with rectally force-feeding breadsticks to him.


Okay, that may be a little unfair, but I think it adequately conveys my concern over this announcement and what we know of it so far. Hopefully more will be revealed tomorrow including a firm narrow release schedule and more to assuage the first inkling of discomfort of the Starcraft online playing community. This won't by itself deter me from getting SC:2, but I will now definitely be reading reviews very closely before I buy.


kyosei 12/10/2008, 09:35  

I think the way Blizzard has decided to release the single player story for SC2 is the best choice they could've made given the alternatives: trim much of the story and mission diversity down to release the game faster or delay the game for a year(s) to finish the story while leaving the multiplayers hanging. From my understanding, you only have to buy the other parts if you want the rest of the story/single player campaigns. Though, don't take my word on this matter as I could be completely wrong ;p

The way how I see it, I'm pretty much going to get the equivalent of the original Starcraft for each of the different races' story arcs. That's an awesome amount of detail and lore to look forward to. *Is a total lore geek. I kind of see this as more like how Hollywood releases movie trilogies and am completely optimistic on how Blizzard will handle it.

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