StarCraft II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
StarCraft II
StarCraft II - Box Art.jpg
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty cover artwork, depicting protagonist Jim Raynor
Genre(s)Real-time strategy
Developer(s)Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher(s)Blizzard Entertainment
Creator(s)
Platform(s)
First releaseStarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
July 27, 2010 (2010-07-27)
Latest releaseStarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops
November 22, 2016 (2016-11-22)

StarCraft II is a military science fiction video game created by Blizzard Entertainment, a sequel to the successful StarCraft video game released in 1998, is set in a fictional future, centering on a galactic struggle for dominance among the various fictional races of StarCraft.

StarCraft II single-player campaign is split into three installments, each of which focusing on one of the three races: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (released 2010), Heart of the Swarm (2013) and Legacy of the Void (2015).[1] A final campaign pack called StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops was released in 2016.

StarCraft II multi-player gameplay spawned a separate e-sports competition that later drew interest from companies other than Blizzard, and attracted attention in South Korea and elsewhere, similar to the original StarCraft e-sports.

Since 2017, StarCraft II multi-player mode, co-op mode and the first single-player campaign have been Free-to-play.

Story[edit]

The story of StarCraft II continues on the story of the original StarCraft releases, dealing with the races of StarCraft and characters of StarCraft.

Wings of Liberty is set four years after the events of StarCraft: Brood War, and focuses on the conflict between Jim Raynor and Arcturus Mengsk. The Zerg reappear as a frequent foil, and Reynor ultimately recovers Kerrigan from the Zerg home world.

In Heart of the Swarm, the Dominion attacks Raynor and Kerrigan, and the story mainly follows the exploits of Kerrigan, against Mengsk as well as new Protoss-Zerg hybrids.

In Legacy of the Void, the Protoss are the protagonists, led by Zeratul and Artanis, fighting against the architect of the Protoss-Zerg hybrids, the evil Amon.

In a short epilogue after the end of Legacy of the Void, all three factions join to confront Amon inside the Void.

Games[edit]

Release timeline
2010StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
2011
2012
2013StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
2014
2015StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
2016StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was released in 2010, taking place four years after the end of StarCraft: Brood War. Two expansions, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void (both currently stand alone games), were planned from the beginning; the former was released in 2013 and the later was released in 2015.[2]

All the games in the main series are real-time strategy games,[3] where the player views the events as a military commander for each of the three species.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the official sequel to StarCraft released for Windows and Mac OS X by Blizzard Entertainment on July 27, 2010. The game was announced at the Worldwide Invitational in South Korea on May 19, 2007 with a pre-rendered cinematic cut scene trailer and a gameplay demonstration of the Protoss.[4][5] Further demonstrations regarding the game's new features have been showcased at subsequent BlizzCons and other games conventions.[6] The game incorporates a new 3D graphics engine and adds new features such as the Havok physics engine.[7] StarCraft II also incorporates DirectX 10 level effects in Windows.[8] Originally envisioned as a single game, StarCraft II was split into three parts during development, one for focusing on each race. The base game, Wings of Liberty, follows the Terrans, while two expansion packs, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void, have been released to complement Wings of Liberty and further the story from the views of the Zerg and Protoss, respectively.[9][10][11] The story of Wings of Liberty continues from four years after the conclusion of Brood War and revolves around Jim Raynor's struggles against the Terran Dominion.[12]

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is an expansion pack to StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and was released on March 12, 2013. It is part two of the StarCraft II trilogy. The expansion includes additional units and multiplayer changes from Wings of Liberty, as well as a continuing campaign focusing on Kerrigan and the Zerg race. It spans 27 missions (20 main missions and 7 side missions).

The saga of StarCraft is ultimately completed with StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which was released on November 10, 2015. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is a stand-alone game in which new units are added to all three races as well as changing existing units, and also makes groundbreaking changes to the economy-aspect of the game. The story of StarCraft is concluded by following the Protoss Race in their quest to reclaim their homeworld and for Kerrigan to ultimately slay the greatest threat to the entire universe. The game is divided into a 3-mission prologue, a 19-mission main story campaign, and a 3-mission epilogue that wraps everything up.

At BlizzCon 2015, during the "Future of StarCraft II" presentation, it was revealed that Blizzard will release additional mission packs to keep players engaged with StarCraft II.[13][14] The first pack is called Nova Covert Ops, and will center around the character Nova. The mission pack consists of three episodes, with a total of nine new missions. It did not require the purchase of StarCraft II and could be played with the Starter Edition. The release date for the first episode is March 29, 2016.[15][16] At the same time, Blizzard has announced that new commanders are planned to be added to the Co-Op mode in Legacy of the Void as a DLC,[17] with Karax to be the first addition given for free.

Development[edit]

StarCraft II was announced on May 19, 2007, nearly a decade after the original, at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, South Korea.[4][5] StarCraft II was being developed, under the codename Medusa,[18] for concurrent release on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X. Blizzard announced a release date for July 27, 2010.[19] Development on the game began in 2003, shortly after Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne was released.[20]

Music[edit]

The soundtrack for StarCraft II was provided by Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford, Neal Acree, and Russell Brower.[21]

Brower, Blizzard's Director of Audio, has suggested that the music of StarCraft serves two functions: the music heard during gameplay is designed to be unobtrusive in order to allow the player to focus, with only the music that attaches to the cinematic interludes permitted to become more distinctive.[22] Brower has also pointed out that certain musical themes in StarCraft II become associated with certain characters,[23] a technique borrowed from composers such as John Williams and Richard Wagner.

The original material for the Wings of Liberty soundtrack spans approximately four hours. Brower has said in interviews that his team was consciously seeking a film-score feel for StarCraft II.[24] In a short commentary provided for Blizzard, he recounted that the orchestral music for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was performed by 78 members of the San Francisco Symphony and Opera and recorded at the Skywalker stage at the Lucasfilm Ranch in Marin County, California, under the name 'Skywalker Symphony Orchestra', conducted by Eímear Noone. Brower also recalled the use of a 32-voice choir in Seattle, Washington. Both these recording sessions were mixed by John Kurlander, who had previously worked on Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Beatles' Abbey Road.[25] The Terran country and blues pieces were recorded at Dreamland studio in Woodstock, New York and performed by members of Peter Gabriel's band, including bassist Tony Levin and drummer Jerry Marotta. Remaining pieces were recorded at the Blizzard studios, performed by musicians such as Laurence Juber (formerly of Wings) and Tommy Morgan.[25] The soundtrack also contains John Bacchus Dykes and William Whiting's hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save (1860).[25]

The orchestral music for Heart of the Swarm was likewise recorded in Marin County, again with the services of Kurlander and Noone, with 80 performers from the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra.[26]

Brower stated in an interview in 2013 that he intended to continue the process of associative musical themes in Legacy of the Void.[23]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
As of June 3, 2013.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty 92%[27] 93[28]
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm 86%[29] 86[30]
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void 88%[31] 88[32]

The release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty performed very well commercially and critically, selling 1.8 million copies within the first forty eight hours of release, which breaks the record of best selling strategy game in the history of the gaming industry. It received very positive reviews with an aggregate GameRankings score of 93%, and was nominated as the "Best PC Game of 2010" on GameSpot.[33] By the end of 2012, Wings of Liberty had sold more than 6 million copies.[34] This success continued with the release of the first expansion pack, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, which had a GameRankings aggregate score of 86%. The standalone expansion pack sold 1.1 million copies within the first two days of its release on March 12, 2013, and was the best-selling PC game in that quarter.[35] StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, the third expansion pack, was similarly well received, having a GameRankings aggregate score of 88% while selling more than 1 million copies worldwide within the first day of its release.[36]

The StarCraft and StarCraft II series had sold over 17.6 million copies of games and expansions by the end of 2015.[37][38][39] By the end of 2017, Blizzard had listed the combined StarCraft franchise among one of their brands that have lifetime revenue totaled over $1 billion.[40]

Professional competition[edit]

Since its release, StarCraft II was played professionally throughout the world, though much like its predecessor StarCraft: Brood War's professional competition, the highest level of play has historically been centered in South Korea.

Since the release of StarCraft II, a number of tournaments have been hosted in Korea and elsewhere, such as the GOMTV Global StarCraft II League (GSL).[41]

The game was widely considered the largest esport in the world during its early years and has been credited as bringing esports to the rest of the world in the way the original brought it to South Korea.[42] It has since experienced a decline and a more recent resurgence following its transition to a free-to-play business model.[42][43]

In 2012, Blizzard started the StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS) as the primary sanctioned StarCraft II tournament circuit.[44] Since 2013, both Korean individual leagues like the Global StarCraft II League (GSL) and non-Korean events such as Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) and Dreamhack had been included in the WCS system, distributing points and guaranteeing spots that qualify players for the Global Finals, held annually at BlizzCon.[45]

Since 2020, Blizzard changed the format of WCS by entering into a three-year partnership with esports organizers ESL and DreamHack.[46]

Use in artificial intelligence[edit]

In November 2016 Alphabet's DeepMind branch announced a collaboration with Blizzard to create "a useful testing platform for the wider AI research community."[47]

In December 2018, DeepMind's StarCraft II bot, called AlphaStar, defeated professional Starcraft II players in the game for the first time.[48] It beat the player MaNA 5–0, albeit under conditions some deemed to be unfair. A fairer version of AlphaStar attained Grandmaster status in August 2019, an accomplishment called a "landmark achievement" for the field of artificial intelligence.[49]

Co-op game mode[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "StarCraft II split into trilogy". GameSpot. 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  2. ^ Sykes, Tom (September 13, 2015). "StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void release date and opening revealed". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on September 16, 2015.
  3. ^ "StarCraft II for PC". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Onyett, Charles (May 18, 2007). "Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational – The StarCraft 2 Announcement". IGN. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Park, Andrew (May 18, 2007). "Starcraft II warps into Seoul". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  6. ^ Pardo, Rob (August 3, 2007). StarCraft II Under Construction (Development commentary). Blizzcon: GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved August 4, 2007.
  7. ^ "Blizzard Entertainment Licenses Havok Physics Technology". Havok. September 14, 2006. Archived from the original on November 30, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  8. ^ "FAQ for StarCraft II". Blizzard Entertainment. Archived from the original on September 13, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  9. ^ Yu, Kevin (October 14, 2008). "StarCraft II Trilogy FAQ". StarCraft II Battle.net Forum. Archived from the original on October 18, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
  10. ^ Ocampo, Jason; Eduardo Vasconcellos (October 10, 2008). "Blizzcon 08: StarCraft II Split Into Three Games". IGN. Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
  11. ^ Rausch, Allen (October 10, 2008). "StarCraft II is Now a Trilogy". GameSpy. Archived from the original on October 14, 2008. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
  12. ^ Park, Andrew (May 20, 2007). "Blizzard outlines StarCraft II gameplay". GameSpot. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  13. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (November 6, 2015). "StarCraft 2 – Nova Covert Ops mission packs coming in 2016". VG247.com. Archived from the original on November 10, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  14. ^ Higgins, Chris (November 7, 2015). "BlizzCon: StarCraft II's future after Legacy of the Void". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on December 13, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  15. ^ Morrison, Angus (March 16, 2016). "Starcraft 2: Nova Covert Ops begins March 30". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on March 18, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  16. ^ Dyer, Mitch (November 6, 2015). "BlizzCon 2015: StarCraft 2: Nova Covert Ops Revealed for 2016". IGN. Archived from the original on November 22, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  17. ^ "SC2: Legacy Of The Void Adds New Co-Op Commander". Archived from the original on February 4, 2016.
  18. ^ "StarCraft 2 Codename Trivia". Kotaku. July 12, 2007. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  19. ^ Kalning, Kristin (May 31, 2007). "Can Blizzard top itself with StarCraft II?". NBC News. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  20. ^ Onyett, Charles (May 19, 2007). "StarCraft 2 Panel Discussions". IGN. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
  21. ^ "StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty". www.blizzard.com. Blizzard. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  22. ^ "The Music of Mists: an Interview with Russell Brower". www.worldofwarcraft.com. Blizzard. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  23. ^ a b "The Music of Mists: an Interview with Russell Brower". www.worldofwarcraft.com. Blizzard. June 4, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  24. ^ "Sound Byte: The Music and Sounds of Starcraft II". www.gamespot.com. Gamespot. Archived from the original on May 14, 2016. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  25. ^ a b c "StarCraft soundtrack". www.blizzard.com. Blizzard. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  26. ^ "StarCraft soundtrack". www.blizzard.com. Blizzard. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  27. ^ "StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Reviews". GameRankings. Archived from the original on May 1, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  28. ^ "StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on August 15, 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  29. ^ "StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Reviews". GameRankings. Archived from the original on June 4, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  30. ^ "StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  31. ^ "StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Reviews". GameRankings. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  32. ^ "StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  33. ^ "Best PC Game". GameSpot. December 23, 2010. Archived from the original on December 19, 2010. Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  34. ^ "StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm launching in 'first half 2013'" (Press release). polygon.com. November 8, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  35. ^ Bramblet, Matthew (May 18, 2013). "PlayStation 3 Diablo III Release Date in 2013". diablo.somepage.com. Archived from the original on August 7, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  36. ^ Moser, Cassidee. "StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void Sells 1 Million Copies In 24 Hours". IGN. Archived from the original on November 14, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  37. ^ "Fourth Quarter and CY 2010 Results". Activision. February 9, 2011. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved February 10, 2011.(4.5M)
  38. ^ McWhertor, Michael (March 21, 2013). "StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm sells 1.1 million copies in two days". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved March 21, 2013.(1.1M)
  39. ^ Moser, Cassidee. "StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void Sells 1 Million Copies In 24 Hours". IGN. Retrieved November 14, 2015.(1M)
  40. ^ "Eight $1B+ Franchises Across Our Portfolio of Primarily Owned IP". Activision Blizzard. August 3, 2017.
  41. ^ "GOMTV Global Starcraft II League". GomTV. December 23, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  42. ^ a b https://variety.com/2018/gaming/features/starcraft-ii-esports-history-1202873246/
  43. ^ https://variety.com/2018/gaming/features/starcraft-ii-gsl-vs-the-world-history-1202894473/
  44. ^ "The StarCraft II World Championship Series". StarCraft II.
  45. ^ Gaudiosi, John. "Blizzard Establishes First Ever Global StarCraft II ESports Ranking System".
  46. ^ "Blizzard cuts esports deal with ESL, DreamHack around StarCraft II, Warcraft III: Reforged". Washington Post. 7 January 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  47. ^ "DeepMind and Blizzard to release StarCraft II as an AI research environment | DeepMind". DeepMind. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
  48. ^ Vincent, James (2019-01-24). "DeepMind's AI agents conquer human pros at Starcraft II". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  49. ^ Sample, Ian (30 October 2019). "AI becomes grandmaster in 'fiendishly complex' StarCraft II". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2020.

External links[edit]