Starcraft 2 Wants To Tell You A Story

By Alec Meer on December 15th, 2009 at 12:49 am.

I don’t entirely understand the word ‘jonesing.’ But I’m going to use it anyway. Like so: if you’re jonesing for a fix of Starcraft 2, this will surely make you adequately jonesinated. It’s a longish video showing off a slice of the game’s singleplayer story mode. Does this add purpose and drive to solo-play RTS, elevating it into grand, heroic warfare rather than dicking around with build queues and waypoints, or is it just a whole lot of scripting? Could it -gasp! – even be both?

Starcraft 2 is released on 12th Decanuary 4119, and will be reviewed on a future website.

Edit – oh balls, it’s an old’un. Sorry. CURSE YOU, INTERNET. (But I’ll leave it up for anyone who hasn’t seen it previously).

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56 Comments »

  1. Psychopomp says:

    Preemptive “Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, and Homeworld only had a campaign for a single race, where was the yelling about that?”

    • CMaster says:

      Actually, I heard some peope whining about it in Homeworld, partly because they bizzarley let you play as the Taidan through the Kushan campaign. That said, it was a superbly done, brilliantly acted and at times, really quite tough campaign in a game which ruined me on other RTSes forever, so I guess I don’t have much to complain about there.

    • Wilson says:

      Psychopomp: I guess the difference is that those games had no precedent. You had three campaigns in the original Starcraft, right? I suppose that’s why. Also, the fact they’ve said they will do three campaigns, but over three products (I don’t have a problem with that, but you know people will assume they’re just ‘splitting it up to make more money’ etc).

      As for the game itself, it looks nice, but maybe too old-school in gameplay style for me. Plus I hate having loads of individual infantry to command, squads all the way!

    • Psychopomp says:

      I’m not exactly excited for Starcraft 2 either, at this point, I just hate double standards.

  2. jsdn says:

    I recognized more than half of the video from previous videos released. Nothing to see here, move along.

  3. fulis says:

    This video is really old :<

    Just release this so you can finish Diablo III ffs!

  4. Pl4t0 says:

    I wonder if some of the Starcraft mods are going to leave it anything even resembling a recognizable state, considering how INSANE the customization options are.

  5. Godl1keStev3 says:

    The more I see of this game, the less interested I become…

  6. august says:

    Pretty sure this is all old footage.

  7. Jakkar says:

    I cannot bring myself to hope that isn’t representative. Watching the animations for vehicles twitch as they turn after Halo Wars gave us physics based, bouncy vehicles (Despite being a poor game).. Watching gunfire slowly diminish a building’s health bar until it develops fireplumes then explodes..

    Watching squad AI that spins around on its’ heels before firing invisible health-decrements through the heads of its compatriots after Men of War’s ‘real bullets’ popped helmets and ricocheted off an old bathtub. Hell, even Total Annihilation had ‘real bullet’s.

    This is.. Sheer nostalgia, minimal creativity, and no wish to adopt anything modern tech has to offer except a better pixel-shader.

    And I didn’t expect anything better.

    .. Curse you, mainstream gaming. I know it’s profitable to save innovation for when you need it.. But I don’t care. You hear me? I DON’T CARE. I’m going to my room ._.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Graphical realism=creativity?

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Well, his examples were “physics-based vehicle handling” and “detailed projectile/damage simulations”. Not “graphical realism”.

      There’s argument to be made over whether they show true innovation/creativity; especially with the first one (though, never having played Halo Wars, I’ll reserve judgement); but I think you misinterpreted his examples a little.

    • Krikey! says:

      Have to say I agree about the animations. I would think that it’s about time the marines can fire while running, but it seems they aren’t quite able to do that yet.

      Not particularly impressed overall. I was sold on the editor video, but I’m starting to become less interested.

    • skalpadda says:

      Jakkar, on the other hand, why innovate for the sake of being innovative alone? I certainly don’t give a toss about bullet physics in a sci-fi RTS game or any other technical detail as long as the game itself is fun.

  8. Diosjenin says:

    I think “jonesing” was born out of the colloquialism about “keeping up with the Joneses.” So as it was originally turned into a verb, it conveyed the desire to purchase something out of envy or lust, and since then has been expanded to only connote the desire for a purchase, having nothing to do with the motivations for such desire.

    • Jakkar says:

      Or it could have something to do with craving kool-aid. One never knows with these colonials >.>

    • Günter says:

      @Diosjenin: “Jones” and “Harry Jones” are both slang terms for heroin. Whether or not “keeping up with the joneses” was it’s original origin, “jonesing” has come to be used to describe withdrawal symptoms from any sort of drug (be it a shot of espresso or a shot of Mister Brownstone).

    • Diosjenin says:

      @Günter: That actually makes more sense. I guess it is usually used in the context of “jonesing for a fix,” isn’t it?

  9. Scandalon says:

    THIS IS NOTHING COMPARED TO STAR, er, uh, I’ll get me coat.

  10. Po0py says:

    The only thing I don’t like about that video is the fact that it looks like it will only run on the newest of new systems. My E6850 and 8800 card is gonna get a kicking.

  11. rocketman71 says:

    StarCraft 2 doesn’t exist for me until Blizzard say “offline LAN”

  12. Larington says:

    Yeah, I’ve always understood the phrase Jonesing to refer to one-up-manship with the neighbours. You’ve got a white picket fence? Alright then, I’ll get a crenelated wall with cast iron railings. Alright then, I’ll get an actual fortress wall, with crenelations. Alright then, I’ll umm, I’ll go cry in a corner, or, I know, I’ll buy a better car than you! Etc.

  13. Spacegirl says:

    I really hope Blizz does something interesting with the single-player. It’s pretty much always been clear that they are not going for any innovation in SC2′s multiplayer gametype, keeping with the classic and extremely popular SC style.

    So, since SC2′s multi is going to be by-the-numbers, I hope they do something different with RTS single player which is a pretty untapped land of possible remixery.

    I’m sure I am going to get this game and have a bit of fun in Multiplayer and with all the Insane Mods that are going to come out, but I would really like if Blizzard drank some Innovation Juice and brought us something new and at least somewhat paradigm shifting in the single player vein.

  14. Kurt Lennon says:

    Screw anything related to Activision.

  15. Vhati says:

    man. that is terrible. just plain terrible, and it will still sell well.

  16. Anthony Damiani says:

    Oh, come on.
    My money is yours, already!
    Just release the damned thing!

  17. Henrik J says:

    An escort mission? Really? Does anybody actually like playing those, other than game developers?

    • DMJ says:

      Of course. Just like everyone loves playing a single-player campaign in which you only have access to the basic infantry in the first mission, with the units you really want saved until the very last missions, which only the hardcore will ever see.

  18. Henrik J says:

    Otherwise the game looks great so far

  19. bookwormat says:

    I really looking forward to this, considering that Warcraft III has one of the best single player campaigns I played so far: Diablo style action RPG, skirmish battles which all had some kind of creative twist, mixed with great scripting and a story that binds it all together.

    Most of the missions in W3 are like little mini games which show what you can do with an RTS engine if you use the modding tools.

    I well remember that mission where you and your opponent both have to burn down the village between you first. Or the stealth mission. Or the hunt for that renegade night elve. Or that action-rpg ork campaign that came with the expansion.

    Great stuff.

  20. Sentient says:

    Starcraft had one of the best SP campaigns ever in an RTS. It’s probably the only reason why I will buy 2 when it’s in the classic bin.

  21. Azradesh says:

    T’is due to the multiplayer apparently. The hard core do not like the dice rolls of true physics. They want to know that unit A does so much damage per hit every time and can take so much damage every time, they do not want one of their units to miss 16 times in a row and then get one shotted by a tier 1 unit.

  22. kongming says:

    Why would you “think that it’s about time the marines can fire while running”? Have you ever tried to fire a gun while running? It’s pretty much impossible to do, nevermind to do so while also maintaining any semblance of accuracy. If you want to talk about tanks firing while moving, that’s one thing, but human beings firing while running is nothing short of absurd.

    • Tei says:

      Auto-balanced weapons fixed that in 2080. Powerarmors in 2103 made that moot point, since is the armor that has to deal with everything.

    • mrmud says:

      The real point would obviously be that if marines could fire when moving then you would be able to kite lings and zelots.

  23. kongming says:

    @Azradesh: You know, I don’t understand why people are so averse to some randomness in strategy games… Obviously too much is a bad thing, but in real life strategic decision makers don’t have perfect knowledge and they can’t account for every factor. You never know when equipment failure or freak accidents will happen. A bit of random chance is a good thing, it’s fun and more realistic.

    • mrmud says:

      Depends on what your goal is.
      If you want to treat the game as a sport (think starcraft in korea) then randomness is a bad thing.
      If you want a more like like experience then randomness can be good.

    • Tei says:

      Luck helps even people withouth skill, so its see as “unfair” because can helps a poor player win a skilled one. So some skilles players think is a bad trait.
      Also, maybe luck made dificult to execute really complex plans, and these skilled players want it complex. ( fill a APC with 5 engineers, mount that apc in a flyiing fortress, cover it with a cloud of drones, send a EMC bomb 1 second before the cloud enter the enemy base, use the drones to create lots of target, deply the engineers and take all the energy stations). I imagine the chess players really opposed to the idea of luck on his game…

    • bookwormat says:

      @mrmud most sports and other competitive games include a good amount of randomness. Often, this is what makes professional competition so exciting in the first place.

      The skill here is dealing with unpredictable events. How you react when the odds are against you, and how well you execute if you have the upper hand. This is why games with randomness, like backgammon or basketball are very popular.

      And that can still all be pretty “fair”. You just have to play multiple matches. That’s why the best poker players are always winning tournaments.

  24. Soviet Travolta says:

    What strikes me is that they demonstrated a huge range of tactics in their battle reports videos, and when it comes to showing single-player action, they don’t care about it anymore. Sure that might not be the point of such a video. But showing huge blobs of units standing still and shooting each other until one group dies isn’t really attractive.

  25. Tom says:

    Looks fantastic.

  26. Izmunuti says:

    There’s the same whining in Dawn of War about only ever getting to play SM.

    Plus, you just named three games by the same developer, who by now is known for only having a single campaign, unlike say Blizzard. Who isn’t.

    Personally I don’t care enough about Starcraft to make waiting for the Gold pack particularly onerous, but still, I can at least understand where people are coming from (though, given the supposed mission counts, perhaps not agree)

    • Psychopomp says:

      “There’s the same whining in Dawn of War about only ever getting to play SM.”

      Yes, but there’s no screaming about Relics “blatant milking” with the damn near exact same model Blizzard is using. Gamers have ridiculous double standards

      “Plus, you just named three games by the same developer, who by now is known for only having a single campaign, unlike say Blizzard. Who isn’t.”

      This makes the double standard okay, somehow?

    • Wilson says:

      @Psychopomp: Yeah, it’s kind of a double standard, but there are differences. In the DoW expansions they let you play all the races (albeit not in ‘proper’ campaigns), and they also added new races into every expansion as well as a new campaign, is Blizzard doing that (I don’t know the details I admit)? Also, it’s true that what the devs have done previously with campaigns doesn’t make any difference, but it does make it more salient when a dev who previously did multiple campaigns does only one in their new game (regardless of the fact there have been years between them).

    • Psychopomp says:

      “In the DoW expansions they let you play all the races ”

      As far as I know, that was only the original Dawn of War.

    • Wilson says:

      I meant you could play the campaign with all the races you owned (they had a campaign map, like Total War extremely light, where you chose what race you wanted to play). I forgot the Starcraft ones are all standalone aren’t they? Which is nice.

    • Some Sort of Bizzaroman-Pomp says:

      On another note:I think I may be the only person who hated the metamap campaigns. Also, liked Xen, and the alien half of Crysis.

  27. Izmunuti says:

    And that was a reply to Psychopomp up top, sorry, forgot to add @Psychopomp in there.

  28. Tei says:

    I have the tradition to secretly label my ex-girlfriends with videogame characters. So, of course, Kerrigan is my ex-girlfriend. What I can say? I love the Starcraft lore much more than the game, so if the new version realy feel like a enhancement (and not a quick patch) it will be really good news.

  29. The Innocent says:

    @Jakkar

    I agree. It would be nice to see a squad of marines actually dive for cover when assailed by enemy fire, or smash zerglings in the face to knock them back. It would be nice to have your zealots weave from cover to cover before a mad dash on an enemy position. And of course it would be cool not only to have Terran and Protoss vehicles take into account armor angles and velocity and all sorts of things rather than just die by HP depletion, but also have the Zerg heavier guys use similar armor (but not with sloped armor or anything, but weak points to exploit). Having played a lot of the newer RTS games out there, it’s weird to see a circular blob of units standing in the middle of the road firing in unison… didn’t we escape that type of warfare a couple years back?

    However, I think that one of the big reasons SC2 not only is, but must, be done that way is because it’s all about precision multiplayer gaming. In Company of Heroes, Men of War, the Dawn of War games, etc., there’s a lot of randomness to combat, since weapons can hit or miss based on accuracy chances, and having a squad scatter can sometimes lend less control. In MoW multiplayer, it can be infuriating when your mortar crew misses a dozen shots, and then the enemy gets lucky and lands their first one right on your head. This is a game where your units respond exactly to what you command, where siege tanks hit where they aim, and where randomness (“reality”) is not embraced. I agree that Starcraft would be amazing with all those things — and I favor those type of games anyway, since good commanders will find ways to rise above the chaos — but realistically, this is how this game has got to be.

    • Radiant says:

      Yeah but surely you can turn off the fancy moves in multiplayer?
      The beauty of DOW2 and what elevated it above what it actually is was the sheer character of the world.
      If a marine got rushed then that tyranid was going to get CHAINSAWED.

      And what is an rts but a board game?
      Dice rolls and accuracy percentages are part of the fabric.

      The genre has moved on from SC1 it’s disheartening to not see these stalwart games companies not moving with it.

  30. G_Man says:

    Diosjening just had a “Buzz Killington” moment.

  31. The Innocent says:

    @Radiant

    While I am not a game developer, I have studied what goes into the making of games quite a bit, and it’s unreasonable to expect the best of both worlds here. Blizzard has been designing the experience to be precise, not infused with the controlled randomness inherent to many RTSs around now. In order to have what you’re asking, they would have to make two separate games, not just have a toggled option that you set when you start a game. It isn’t about “fancy moves,” it’s about game mechanics. The AI processes would be different, the unit animations and abilities would be different, the movement would be different — heck, even the maps would have to be built differently, since in Starcraft, elevation is merely “above” or “below,” not based on real physics or sloped surfaces. This is simply unreasonable.

    I for one will not be purchasing Starcraft 2 (at least not until it’s cheap enough for me to appreciate what I’m getting for the price — say, ten to twenty USD). I agree that randomness in RTSs makes them better for the most part, with some exceptions. As for the character of the DoW games, I also agree with you entirely, but a lot of people are already in love with the SC lore, even if the character of the world is largely implied.

    As for board games, I’m an avid gamer, and there are different schools of games based entirely on how much randomness is involved. Many traditional board games lack randomness altogether (see: chess), while some have a great abundance of it (which either makes them barely playable or transforms them into psychological face-to-face games more than about the actual game, as with poker), and many have tightly-controlled randomness (a staple of Eurogame tradition). An RTS isn’t just an extension of board games — it’s too broad a genre to pigeonhole like that. If we’re talking about dice rolls and accuracy percentages, I generally think of a particular narrow type of RTSs (like DoW) and many RPGs, not RTS games in general. RTS games have often lacked that sort of randomness and been rather like Starcraft in design. While I don’t necessarily prefer it, I can appreciate it for what it is without bemoaning it. I don’t require every big game to be exactly the style I prefer, when it’s so obvious that the developers are creating something great within the school of thought of gaming that they’re embracing.

  32. ddthesm says:

    This video has restored my faith in the sequel. I’ve played all the major C & C and WarCraft and, of course, StarCraft, and this video shows that this game will be another return to the gameplay I love, instead of trying to be so innovative that the concept is lost, or just simply playing off of a franchise.

    I believe StarCraft II will stick to their guns (pun intended) and deliver a true sequel (storyline flow, slightly upgraded machinery/weapons), while utilizing today’s technology (graphics, improved/adaptive AI -when necessary-) in the process.

  33. Monkeybreadman says:

    Does anyone else think Starcraft is shit? No? just me then

    Company of Heroes is so so much better, Starcraft looks like Dune 2 with knobs on

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