A Blizzard Of Blizzard-Fact

By Jim Rossignol on August 17th, 2009 at 8:26 am.


Chums of RPS VG247 have (just about) scooped the internet with a huge hands-on previews of Starcraft II, and an interview with Blizzard bossman Rob Pardo. Needless to say, we get to learn quite how Starcraft II causes other games to seem like nothing in comparison, and how the three-game structure that the game has been broken up into will work. Here’s Pardo on those two follow-up expansions: “Right now the plans are to do something along the lines of full single-player campaign and some additional features on the multiplayer side, but obviously using the same engine. That to me is an expansion price point. If we decided to put in three new races, and a bunch of new technology and features, maybe that would be a standalone product. But right now I think we’re looking at being much more like an expansion feature-set.” Anyway, go have a read of the full thing. The internet will be overflowing with more SC2 stuff today, following a big press event.

__________________

« | »

, , .

61 Comments »

  1. vasagi says:

    I have a cash cow, can i milk it?

  2. Psychopomp says:

    @Vasagi

    How is a single campaign any different from the vaunted Dawn of War?

    All they really did was say, “yes, we’re going to have expansion packs.”

  3. vasagi says:

    Hmm what was actually ever stopping them from releasing a single title?

    i understand that a lot of work and time has gone into the game, possibly more man hours than can be recouped by a single release followed by tricked content/patches.

    thats why its coming out as 3 games and they will or should be stand alone expainsions, id hate if you needed the others in order to play the campaign that appeals most.

    oh crap (quote from interview)

    “and a bunch of new technology and features, maybe that would be a standalone product. But right now I think we’re looking at being much more like an expansion feature-set”

    did i read it wrong if so fair enough but otherwise….sniffle QQ

  4. Skinlo says:

    Doesn’t look that good tbh, when one of the features mentioned by the guy who wrote it is a play again button.

  5. Andy M says:

    I’m glad this comment section has no post-rating system, because now I can say that Starcraft 2 is about as dull a prospect as the past dozen C&C games have been, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

    Har har har.

  6. The Kins says:

    “I think LAN will be a great footnote in our history, just like DOS was.”

    I think Rob Pardo’s face will be a great footnote in the history of the fists of the entire South Korean military.

  7. Psychopomp says:

    Punched by all of Korea

    That’s something you can put on your resume

  8. Freudian Trip says:

    What the fuck is up with these internet douches bagging on a company releasing expansions? Expansions have been coming out since the dawn of cocking time. It’s not milking a cash cow it’s called making new content. I’m not sure how many people realise this out there but you have to pay these guys they call err… whats the term for it again? Drawing a blank… oh thats right! Professionals!

    This expectation of free content borne out by the internet is a joke and I say that as a former-pirate myself.

  9. Freudian Trip says:

    Oh shit. I’m about to get owned by the internet for that last comment. Where’s the edit function when you need it.

  10. Wisq says:

    I don’t know how they actually do it internally, but it’s always been my impression that you put your resources into making a great game now, and when it’s done, you put them into making a great expansion pack for the game.

    Announcing all your expansions ahead of the release of the main game just makes it sound like you plan to release episodic content. And calling them a game plus expansions makes it sound like you’re going to charge full game price for said episodic content.

    I assume that’s why some people are assuming they’re just milking a cash cow rather than doing the same old thing.

  11. vasagi says:

    True dat.

    also internet douche-baggery is my forte.

  12. MrBejeebus says:

    At least its not DLC..

    Also, LAN petition is at 100,000+ and counting!

  13. Azhrarn says:

    @Vasagi:

    They split the game because the campaigns were eating to much time to make and balance, if they wanted the game to release before 2012 they needed to split it up.
    In other words, Activision probably complained a bit.

  14. Xercies says:

    I hope the first game is at an Expansion price then…

  15. vasagi says:

    @Azhrarn

    so its in no way related to revenue then?

    i dont begruge makin money but telling us there’s expainsions before the games even released is a little forward think if you ask me, i highly doubt it but what if against all the odds its shit?

  16. Starky says:

    Wisq, that’s crap and you know it. Blizzard like Valve could call a game “episodic” and it would still be larger and have more content than most full games – and probably be a hell of a lot more fun.

    Am I the only one this makes perfect sense for?
    Instead of 3 short single player campaigns, they decided to focus on one race and make it huge, sprawling and awesome – then do the other races single player in expansions.
    In order to have a cohesive story they’re planning those expansions now. If not started work on them, to cut the release time after SC2 to maybe 6-12 months rather than blizzards usual 2+ years.

    You think Bethesda didn’t have their DLC planned long before Fallout 3 shipped?
    You think Relic didn’t have a pre-set idea on how they were going to do the expansions?

    EVERY company with an ounce of sense pre-plans these things during main production, at the very least so they can make sure the tools and technology to bolt on the expansion are there.
    Blizzard just happened to tell people.

    Past performance is always an indicator of future results.
    When it comes to Single Player games, Blizzard games are always stuffed to the brim with content – the Single player campaigns are always long and well written.

    Of course past performance in MMOs is the slow dumbing down of your game, the removal of all challenge and achievement (with the adding of “achievements” to cover this up) in order to cater for the thousands of screaming “I want, I want, I want” entitlement minded idiots.

  17. vasagi says:

    @starky
    “Past performance is always an indicator of future results.”

    Not always it would be nice if that was true though.

  18. Starky says:

    It is, an indicator – not a guarantee, but an indicator.

    Obviously if the game is crap, the single player only lasts for 2 hours and has a rubbish story, then blizzard have successfully broken their past record of good performance and all future releases by them will be tarnished by that.

    Generally if a company makes good, value for money games, with excellent production values all round you can trust that a future product fro them will be. I’d include the likes of Bethesda (with a slightly blip over DLC which they’ve now repaired), Relic, Valve, Rockstar, and Infinity Ward (but not Treyarch, with the exception of Spiderman on the PS2 they are mediocre) – Heck I’d even include PopCap in that list.

    The games they make may not be to your specific tastes – but that isn’t the companies fault, they can’t make games to please everyone – only make a game they think a decent amount of players will enjoy.
    There are probably people who bought warcraft 3, didn’t even finish the first human campaign and never played it again – for them that game was horrid value for money.

    Anyway the point is, blizzard have never short changed us gamers when it comes to content – even in WoW, you may not like the content* but you can’t argue that it is lacking.
    *Like me because blizzard in an attempt to appeal to all made it so easy that it lost any challenge, a mistake they may have fixed by now, but I no longer play.

    So until they do, until they have a record of over charging for minimal content, I think all complaining that they are going to is a bit empty.

  19. Black Mamba says:

    Graet new CGI trailer just released “Old Rivals”
    http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/25908

    Looks like the Xel’Naga are indeed going to be the new foe, there’s a crude engraving of one in the stone in the opening.

    Read the previews and looks great, been waiting so long for SC2 I couldn’t care about anything else.

  20. Saul says:

    I’ll probably play the single-player (Warcraft 3 SP was great, back in the day), but there’s little chance I’ll be hardcore enough to do much with the multi.

    The thing that excites me the most is them trying to make each SP level play differently. If only DoW2 had done the same, it could have been quite the game.

  21. Rob S. says:

    Why isn’t this free for people who bought Starcraft 1?

  22. NuZZ says:

    This vasagi guy is just trolling. Forget about his ignorance and move along my SC2 fanboys!

  23. Azhrarn says:

    @Vasagi:

    even if it is shit, most of south-Korea will have bought a copy by the time people realise, recouping a sizeable chunk of its cost.

    As for the revenue comment: that’s probably part of it too, the StarCraft Dev-team has been eating money and not making much in return, this release should make them look better to Activision/Blizz HQ.

    As for announcing expansions before the game is even done, considering they cut the game down, but want to release what they cut down the line. It’s only sensible, to say “our game isn’t complete, we’ll release the bits we didn’t finish later”, although asking money for it may go a bit far, but that’s what their name buys them.

  24. Starky says:

    It it really cutting the game down to remove the single player for the other 2 races if you make the single player for the one you keep 3 times bigger?

    From what I’ve read and heard it seems that had Blizz not made this choice (and I’m sure money factored into it quite a bit, it is a company after all, not a charity) a load of single player work would have ended up on the cutting room floor.

    I dunno about you but I’m more than willing to accept a game that is jam packed with Blizzards floor cuttings, given that the stuff they cut is probably going to be better than most other companies ship as their main product.

    Still, I’m not a blind buyer, I’m not going to rush out and buy it day 1 – that’s a game for suckers – wait a month, let the reviews roll in and maybe even get it cheaper.

    Anyway the proof will be in the pudding as they say.

    My wager is on the game being great fun with a massive multiplayer community, great modding community and lengthy well designed single player with a great plot.
    I think only a fool would bet against that.

  25. DMJ says:

    I would like to state, for the record, that I have no opinion about Blizzard releasing three titles instead of one. No opinion at all.

    I think I’m unique and special because of this.

  26. Starky says:

    Having no opinion on the record IS an opinion. Neutrality.

  27. Tei says:

    Translation to movieslang:

    “Right now the plans are to do something along the lines of ‘new episode’ ‘with more action’, but obviously using same ‘cast’. That to me is an ‘ticket of the movie’ (traductor note: ???). If we decided to put in three new races, and a bunch of new ‘special effects’ and ‘nice photography’, maybe that would be a ‘fulll blow new movie, and not a direct to tv production’.”

    Translation to fanboyslang:

    STARCRAFT 3 CONFIRMED!!!!!!ONEONE

  28. Azhrarn says:

    @Starky: they never said they’d make the Terran campaign 3 times bigger than originally planned to compensate, it’s just that building and testing each already huge campaign was rather time consuming and the game needed to get released before the end of the next centure. =)

    So they shifted the other 2 campaigns to expansions or possibly expandalones. Acti-Blizz HQ probably wanted to see some income from their rather expensive acquisition, even though WoW is racking in ~$15 million a month.

  29. Azhrarn says:

    make that $150 million. ^_^ darn this lack of an edit button.

  30. pkt-zer0 says:

    It’s pretty odd how Blizzard gets shit on for doing not one but two expansions, and no one seems to mind Bethesda or Relic doing a million DLC/expacks. And apparently, them announcing this fact well in advance is also a bad thing – because the surprise announcement of L4D2 was such a brilliant idea, right?

  31. Starky says:

    Tei, sorry bud, but that is just plain stupid – a good level above the usual “fixed” quotes people use on forums.

    I’m sure you were trying for funny, but it fell flat.

    I’ve never really played Starcraft 1 (the first few missions one time and that’s it) – I’m a big fan of WC3 though (and various mods for it, DotA namely) – but have blizzard ever done anything the video game equivalent to a Direct to TV production?
    Can anyone honestly say that they’ve ever released anything but the video game equivalent of a big budget blockbuster?

    If anything, this is the movieland equivalent of what Peter Jackson or Quentin Tarantino did with Lord of the Rings, or Kill Bill – Stretch a massive production, out to multiple products because it was too big for a single release.

    They get to do more than the time constraint of a single film would allow, make a hell of a lot more money, and still offer a final product that even in parts offered more movie for the price of admission than the vast majority of movies.

    Exactly what Blizzard is doing with SC2.

  32. Starky says:

    Azhrarn, perhaps I should have said “Is it really cutting the game down to remove the single player for the other 2 races if the single player for the one you keep is at least the size of any other RTS’s single player campaign?”

    30 missions, each unique a mini-game in itself – that’s more than what most RTS games offer.
    That’s more than C&C 3/RA3 offered(might have had 30 missions, but half of those were generic), more than what Dawn of War 2 offered, more than what World in conflict offered.
    Probably on par with what Warcraft 3 offered.

    Of course, people seem to expect everything for nothing these days – endless complaining over games companies not giving them enough free stuff, or wanting more (despite what they’re getting being more than what the competition offers by far).

    It seems to be the curse of Blizzard and Valve, that they’ve offered up so much in the past that people think they’re entitled to a ever increasing amount of content for a ever decreasing amount of money.

  33. Azhrarn says:

    @Starky:

    I have to agree, people expect more for less, especially from those who have already proven to produce good material time and again.

    I don’t have a problem with them splitting up SC2 in multiple releases, if that’s what it takes to get the best experience possible, then so be it. I’ll happily pay the price for it too, providing it’s good. ^_^ But given Blizzard’s track-record, that should be a fairly safe bet.

  34. MrFake says:

    “people think they’re entitled to a ever increasing amount of content for a ever decreasing amount of money.”

    I doubt it. They only wish to reverse the supposed trend to the opposite: less content for more money. You can find them shouting their belief about gaming’s perpetual slide into mediocrity, while prices are steadily climbing.

    I don’t personally believe that nonsense. I suspect the vocal majority simply have bad taste.

  35. Flint says:

    That article makes the singleplayer portion of the game (the only interesting portion for myself) sound very awesome and easy to get into but I’ll still pick this up only when I find it cheap because it’s still a RTS and I’m so horrible with them.

    Unless of course the eventual reviews make the great discovery that on the easiest settings the game really is quite playable even by us RTS twits.

  36. reaper47 says:

    I hope the first game is at an Expansion price then…

    This.

    Can’t we all agree that it is a money milking move? I mean, there are few things more obvious. Not that I expected anything else from the company that rules PC gaming profits with an iron fist.

    Why should they give you a little more if they can give you a little less and charge double? From a business perspective (the only one that counts), it wouldn’t make any sense, right? Plus EA does it with Madden, so it must be fair.

  37. rocketman71 says:

    “If you look at LAN, that goes back to the War II days, with Cali and stuff like that. I think LAN will be a great footnote in our history, just like DOS was. It’s just something that, with broadband and with the connections and the things that we can do on Battle.net, and having to support LAN in addition to that… It’s the sort of decision we have to make that has to be the lowest common denominator for both. I don’t necessarily thing that’s going to be the way of the future. And that’s going to be the best thing for Star II and our future games.”

    Either he’s a complete idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or he’s lying through his teeth.

    Either way, the no LAN thing and their total lack of respect for their customers was the final step in making me decide not to ever buy from Blizzard again. We shouldn’s support this type of asshattery.

  38. pkt-zer0 says:

    “Can’t we all agree that it is a money milking move?”

    How so? With the vast majority of games using a base+expacks sort of setup, the base game has had standard price, the expansion packs were cheaper. I don’t see what the problem here is.

  39. JKjoker says:

    what Blizzard is doing with these 3 pieces of Starcraft 2 is NOT like releasing expansions like they used to do, one thing is to release a game and then, after the game was crowned with success, you make an expansion

    another, very, veeeeeeeery different thing is to just take the success for granted BEFORE the game is released and sit down to decide how to chop the thing down into 3 parts and pad them a little so that you can charge 3 times as much

    i have no doubt at one time they got together and it went something like this:
    -ok, we have ST2, what units do we hold back for DLC ?
    -no, that would unbalance the game and would be hard to hide
    -hey, we could instead chop the single player on 3, add generic padding and money grinding, and release it as 3 games, the game is going to sell like candy anyway
    -GENIUS!

  40. Anthony Damiani says:

    What an utter marketing failure it was not to just announce that it had two planned expansions. The phrasing damned them.

  41. JKjoker says:

    @Anthony Damiani: and how would they explain the mysterious lack of zerg and protoss campaigns ?

  42. pkt-zer0 says:

    “another, very, veeeeeeeery different thing is to just take the success for granted BEFORE the game is released”

    I thought people liked Blizzard for only releasing quality games, canceling those that aren’t good enough.

  43. Alaric says:

    LAN is a useless feature. There is no reason to have it.

    I’m playing Brood War right now (looks interesting at 2560×1600) and am enjoying it a lot. Have 2 more Terran missions left and then it’s all Zerg.

    SC2 looks awesome, even better then when I last got to play it. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  44. Batolemaeus says:

    Whenever i read Sc2 stuff, i feel reminded of pre-release Crysis hype.

    Yeah, there’s some aaahs and ooohs, like, shiny graphics and all. But you can already feel, that behind the fancy words, that the predecessor will be better in comparison.

  45. JKjoker says:

    @pkt-zer0: you mean the old Blizzard, the new Blizzard-Activision is an unknown quantity

    @Alaric: the fact you dont use it doesnt make it useless, i dont play much multiplayer but when i do, its always on LAN, i want to have my friends at hands reach, LAN parties are social events, bnet is not, a world without LAN is a world without hugs

    and thats not considering the fact that my country’s inet pipes are so slow and overcrowded that youll never get a decent ping to bnet or that bnet is so full with retards and douchebags that theyll eventually kick everyone worth playing with into single player

  46. Jeremy says:

    Is there any situation, barring free everything (which gamers seem to feel they’re entitled to now), that the current gamer isn’t going to see as some kind of “money milking move”? We have become jaded indeed. Blizzard releasing 3 top level titles, all involving the SC world, which has had no new development in 10 years, is incredibly exciting to me.

    Alternatives:
    -It comes out as DLC, everyone starts throwing around horse armor jokes. Lame.

    -It is released as expansions, conspiracy theories begin (see JKjoker’s post).

    I like to think that there was a vision for the game, and the story of this world, and they didn’t want to compromise that, so decided to release it in 3 parts. They don’t need to money grub, they make billions a year just from subscriptions through WoW. Regardless, if a company I love releases a game every year, and it’s a full content game, then I won’t be complaining.

  47. pkt-zer0 says:

    The “new” Activision-Blizzard being an unknown quantity doesn’t mean they don’t have the name of the “old” Blizzard to live up to. So, before you assume they’re just there to screw folks over, consider that they have pretty good reasons to not do so.

  48. Hypocee says:

    Hint: They’re comparing it to Starcraft 1, the game from Blizzard that gave you three races and perspectives on the story for what they’re now charging for one. That’s the many-millions-of-dollars question; if these are ‘full content games’, then all is forgiven. If not – if you need to get all three to get a decent story, or worse, if the factions aren’t deep enough to carry a ‘full’ game alone so the campaigns get padded to hell – then the pitchfork comes out.

  49. woppin says:

    “Can anyone honestly say that they’ve ever released anything but the video game equivalent of a big budget blockbuster?”

    Everything they made before Warcraft 1? Lost Vikings springs to mind in particular. They didn’t just appear one day with a shitload of money and a bunch of talented employees.

    I’m sure SC2 will be a great single player game, and an adequate replacement for SC1 multiplayer for those who are interested in playing that style of game.

    Lacking LAN means nothing really, internet access is so easy to get nearly everywhere that LAN play is pretty unnecessary and only promotes piracy through Hamachi/GameRanger/Somalia.

  50. Alaric says:

    @JKjoker,

    I am not against a SC2 supporting LAN as a concept. It’s just not really that important, and as such I am not inclined to shed a tear if the feature is dropped.

    Also, I am not against social events. Personally I can’t imagine carrying my computer and monitor to a friend’s house so we can play in the same room, but if that’s what you enjoy, more power to you. The thing is… as far as I am concerned connecting to the Internet from the same room works just as well as connecting to a router.

    But if this is a question of life and death… I’m sure you could fake Battle.net inside your own house. Same way people put up private WoW servers.