In a video interview with Swedish game site Press2play.tv, lead producer Chris Sigaty and lead designer Dustin Browder discussed in depth the decisions and thinking that went in to the development of StarCraft 2. One of the key bits of information revealed was that Blizzard is aiming for a 2009 release as long as the game is “ready”. Sigaty stated, “Blizzard is going to try to get the game out this year. However, we're not going to ship the game if it's not ready. Blizzard is working hard to get the game out the door, but won't put out an unfinished title.” The interview itself revolved extensively around Blizzard’s decision to release the game as a trilogy and what this decision meant for gamers.
When quizzed why it took six years since the release of the Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne for StarCraft 2 to be ready, Sigaty explained one of the reasons was they had decided to develop a completely new graphics engine and to not use any Warcraft 3 technology. Another factor that extended development time was the need to development a graphics engine that could accommodate the real-time strategy multi-player part of the game and also support the extensive single player story telling aspect of the game.
The discussion about the single player aspect of the game lead to a question about why StarCraft 2 is going to be split into three separate releases with each release focusing on the story of one race. Browder reiterated the company line this was a “creative” decision that was needed due to the fact the single player focused story telling aspect had grown so large it could not possibly fit in to a single game.
The two Blizzard employees were then asked why StarCraft 2 was so focused on creating a very well developed single player component when the original StarCraft’s extended popularity and immense replay value came from the multi-player component. Sigaty explained that their goal was not to use the single player experience as a training ground for the multi-player experience. He pointed out for many Blizzard real-time strategy games players who had finished the single player component and went on to play on Battle.Net for the very first time were painfully unprepared for what awaited them when playing against experienced players. He explained the single player component existed to develop the story of the StarCraft universe.
They were also asked if they were concerned some players would not bother to purchase and play the second and third installment of the StarCraft 2 trilogy because the first installment would include a fully featured multi-player component. Browder repeated the mantra he believes players would still be interested in the single player parts of the second and third installment because it would provide so many unique experiences that cannot be enjoyed in multi-player due to issues such as game balance.
The interviewers then came straight to the point asking if the second and third installments of StarCraft 2 would include new units and other new content which would provide a powerful incentive for players to purchase the rest of the trilogy. Browder completely dodged this question claiming he could not answer because the game was not finished and not all the decision had been made.
In terms of music for the game Sigaty confirmed that a full scale orchestra would be used and stated that their music director was busy recording at that very moment. He also confirmed the release of the StarCraft 2 beta was imminent although he did not announce a specific date. One interesting point Browder made with regards to the beta was that StarCraft 2’s release date would be influenced by fan reaction to the beta and he encouraged fans to provide as much input as they can once they have tried it.
quote: Blizzard is the only publisher where I have purchased every game they produce. They just put out quality stuff.
quote: Blizzard announces it will release Starcraft 2 AND Diablo 3 when it is "ready"
quote: I'm betting SC2 might just have a 5 year development story, with 1 year in between the releases.
quote: Browder reiterated the company line this was a “creative” decision that was needed due to the fact the single player focused story telling aspect had grown so large it could not possibly fit in to a single game.
quote: Browder reiterated the company line that this was a “business” decision that was needed due to the fact the game will be so awesome that most consumers will be willing to pay for it three times, so why not milk them for as much as we can?