StarCraft II Patch 4.6.0 is now available in LIVE realms introducing the new Co-op Commander and Announcer: Tychus. Along with him, you can recruit the Heaven’s Devils crew. Some are available right away. Others are unlocked at level 4 and above.
Tychus was announced at GamesCom 2018. Watch our video recording of the panel (Some portions in german or english language).
Game developer Dennis Gehlen showcases the new Co-op commander Tychus gameplay with Lowko and Winter. Thanks and props to correspondent @Handclaw for recording it on short notice for lack of livestreams. Some portions are in german and english languages.
Blizzard Entertainment announced the next StarCraft II Co-op Commander Dehaka. Dehaka is a highly customizable commander who can gain size, strength and new abilities you can mutate into over the course of the game by collecting essence.
His abilities are: Leap, Intimidating Roar, Devour, and Scourching Breath.
Leap allows him to land on enemies causing area of effect damage.
Intimidating Roar slows enemy attack and movement speed.
Devour will cause Dehaka to swallow a single target in one gulp, absorbing temporarily the ability of the enemy digested.
Scourching Breath deals area of effect damage in a straight line, and stores 3 charges.
Among the passive abilities he may gain throughout the game, he may have a heal aura, and detection of stealthed units.
Dehaka can also evolve zerg units into more powerful versions of themselves.
Primal Pack Leaders: Glevig, Murvar, and Dakrun.
Before the Swarm, there was Zerus. Home of the primal zerg. Monstrous creatures who existed only to collect essence and evolve. Though few remain, Dehaka lives on as one of the last pack leaders thanks to his cunning and will to survive, two qualities that made him a valuable ally to Kerrigan.
This is a partial transcript of the BlizzCon 2016 StarCraft II DeepMind Panel. Unfortunately, for some reason, only 28 minutes were available in the Virtual Ticket VOD. The event was hosted by the following panelists:
Oriol Vinyals (research scientist, DeepMind)
Kevin Calderone (software engineer, StarCraft II)
Paul Keet (senior software engineer)
Tim Ewalds (DeepMind, software engineer)
StarCraft II and Deep Learning
Female Voice: Welcome to the DeepMind and StarCraft II Deep Learning panel.
Artosis: Hi, everyone. I’m Daniel Stemkoski, much better known as Artosis, and I am the world’s #1 StarCraft fan. I’ve been playing for 18 years now. I was a StarCraft I and StarCraft II pro gamer; and I haveve lived in Korea for over 8 years commentating it. I tell you this because… well this is the only way for me to explain how excited I am to be on this panel, to be asking these guys questions about DeepMind tackling StarCraft II.
I, like many of you, watched the Alpha Go match against Lee Sedol, and it was amazing to see a computer destroy the best player in the world and to see StarCraft chosen next, it just kind of validates my whole life. You know always knowing inside the reason why I’m just so bad at StarCraft is because it’s harder than chess and go. So I’m very excited about this, and without further ado I’d like to introduce the DeepMind research scientist Oriel Vinyals.
This is a full transcript of the BlizzCon 2016 StarCraft II: Foundation for the Future panel.
Tim: Hey, everybody! Thanks for coming out. I hope you guys all just caught the opening ceremony where Google DeepMind announced that they’re going to be working on StarCraft II as their AI platform for research moving forward; but we’re not going to talk about that here today. We actually have a panel on that tomorrow morning on the main stage. We’re in talk about what’s going on in the game of StarCraft II. My name is Tim Tim I’m a production director for StarCraft II, and I’m here with some of the leads from Dev Team, and we’re going to talk about what’s coming up.
So in 2016, we really changed the approach to how we developed StarCraft II. Apart from that, we had always saved up all of our work at least in these big box product launches, but in this last year we’ve been releasing our content as we complete it. We’ve had patches and new content, new features all throughout the year. So we’re going to keep that up in 2017. You guys are going to have a chance to hear a little bit about what we have in store. So I’m going to asking the Dev Team here some questions. We’re going to start off with Chris Reed, who we lovingly refer to as “crash” on the Dev Team. Chris is the lead UI designer.
So Chris in 2016, we had a whole bunch of big UI changes. Can you give us just some highlights?
Chris: Absolutely. Before I dive into that, I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone on the team who put all the effort into making these features come to life. It was a lot of work, very exciting; and I’m glad that everyone’s been enjoying what we’ve been working on. So in 2016, we touched on all the modes for campaign. We were able to do new user interfaces for all of the NOVA mission packs. For co-op missions, we supported not only custom mutators, masteries as well as mutators themselves, we also supported the launch of new commanders.
For the ladder or multiplayer and we’re actually that the ladder revamp, as well as separate MMRs per race. That was another really cool feature we were excited to bring out. And then finally, just across the UI itself, we were able to touch upon emoticons or Emojis, as well as bring out the new feature for collections.
Tim: That is a lot of stuff. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s store for 2017.
Chris: Absolutely. I don’t want to spoil too much of a surprise, but not only are we getting focused on launching new features, we also want to start leveling up some of the existing features and make them better, clear, crisper, more polished. So we’ll be focused on things such as user generated content, as well as bringing in a new user experience, making that cleaner, nicer for new users coming in. We also want to work on bringing in new rewards, touching up rewards as well as making new things to fill up the collections. One of the last things that we want to touch on is the social atmosphere. I know some of you really are have some requests towards having the events brought back. So I’m talking to you guys. We’ll be touching on the social features and then finally we have a new feature that I’m really excited to talk about.
Tim: Alright. Well, so what is this new feature which you alluded?
Chris: It is the War Chest. So in Starcraft II, we’ll be launching the War Chest. What the War Chest is, it’s almost like a large bundle that you’ll be able to purchase into and when you buy this bundle, you’ll have content that’s given to you immediately such as rewards like skins, decals, the emoticons, things like that. Then as you progress through the season, you’ll be able to unlock new rewards that will go into your collection that you can use, such as skins. At the end of the season, another set of rewards will also be given to you just for participating.
One of the coolest features about this War Chest, and what I’m most excited to talk about, is that the money that you used to spend on this, will go toward supporting global eSports initiatives. So if you’re really into eSports, and watching StarCraft on eSports, this is a way for you to participate in that.
Tim: That’s super exciting. And we are obviously all fans of StarCraft eSports. You mentioned the seasons. Are the seasons for the War Chest the same as multiplayer seasons or WCS seasons? What is a season for War Chest?
Chris: So a season for War Chest is not necessarily tied to the actual ladder itself, it’ll have its own seasons. We are going to correlate these two events from the WCS (another Global Initiative) so they will be tied to those type of events. However, it’s not tied to the ladder itself. I want to dive a little bit into actually how the War Chest functions.
It functions as a virtual treasure map. As you buy something (and disregard my wonderful wireframe so I know you love looking at my wireframes), but it’ll work as a virtual treasure map that you can then unlock more as you play. As you see the next few bars, you’ll be able to gain experience either playing multiplayer or co-op. And as you gain that experience, it will unlock a tier of rewards. As you continue to play, new tiers will unlock, you’ll get a new sets of rewards. There is going to be three rounds of rewards that you can unlock throughout a season. So it’s up to you to collect all those really cool rewards.
Tim: Alright. So as a player, if I want to participate in a season of the War Chest, how do I do that?
Chris: So we’ll have announcements in the client and on the web, that will let you know when this is coming, or when this is live, and when you’ll be able to participate. You’ll simply be able to buy into it, just like you would any bundle, except this is going to be basically a special mega bundle, that you’ll be able to (then again) unlock all those different things.
Again at the start, you’ll get a bunch of rewards just given to you for buying in, you’ll have time to unlock all those, and then at the very end you’ll get another bundle of rewards just for participating.
Tim: Very cool. You mentioned that this would benefit StarCraft II eSports. How does that work?
Chris: So this is one of the most exciting things for me, and I know exciting for the team as well. So a portion of the proceeds will go to Global eSports initiatives. We are still deciding how those funds will be separated and moved around, but we are really interested in making sure this goes on to support eSports throughout the future.
Tim: So more details to come?
Chris: Definitely more details to come.
Tim: Alright. Valerie Watrous is the lead writer for StarCraft II. Valerie, is there anything we should know from a story perspective about the War Chest?
Valerie: Yeah, the War Chest will feature a new digital comic series. The narrative is moving forward after the events of Nova Covert Ops. So we’ll get to see where the Terrans, the Zerg, and the Protoss are at. Right now, we’re going forward with a name: Shadow Wars for the comic series.
Tim: Very cool. Let me jump to Alan. Alan led up the art team for the Legacy of the Void, and for all of the content that came after. What kind of content will players be able to unlock for War Chest?
Alan: Actually, there are more to the War Chest feature. First you have a lot of portraits (which everybody loves), lots of new decals (that show up around your base and your units). Actually, we are going to put in some 3D race consoles, actually game consoles. For instance, the Protoss might have like a purifier race for their console. An Alarak-theme going on, or more zergy different color schemes. My favorite though overall is the skins. So each race has unique skin based on factions. For example, the Tal’darim (the evil protoss faction), they are Amon followers, and evil and dark and bladed-armor, red crystals, very vile.
For the Terrans, going back to Wings of Liberty, you actually have the mercenary factions and the more heavily advanced, more armored. Really cool stuff. The Zerg, going back to Heart of the Swarm, we have one of the strains that’s a lot more spikier from Zerus. We have some webbing, cool new carapace colors, and is overall more vicious. And we also recognize that readability is a huge part of the game whether you are a pro player or a casual player. We’re making sure we are not going kinda crazy and having some fun with the skins and not mess with the gameplay or the readability.
Tim: Alright. So what can you tell us about the when the War Chest will launch?
Alan: The first quarter of next year, so keep your eyes open.
Next: Nova Covert Ops
BlizzCon 2016 StarCraft II: Foundation of the Future Panel Transcript
Coming to the New York Comic Con (NYCC2016)? On Friday, October 7th, 2016 (3:30PM) — Timothy Zahn will be at the Del Rey Booth 2108 signing copies of the upcoming STARCRAFT: EVOLUTION (slated to ship on November 8th).
I explored the NYCC today and saw the book. However, the flyer they provided me says they will have an excerpt book (sample). I’ll update when I get there whether they are giving the full book or the excerpt. Check us back Friday evening. I’ll post video and photos of the signing. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.
Tim: Hello BlizzCon! Who is excited about Nova Covert Ops, Did you guys catch that announcement? Yeah? Excellent. Well, we are here today to tell you guys about the Future of StarCraft II. My name is Tim Morton. I’m the lead producer on StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, and I’m going to introduce you guys to my fellow panelists up here.
While BlizzCon stole the thunder and attention of everyone, something was lost in the background.
Hard to phrase. Awesome, exciting, thrilling, breath-taking, jaw-dropping, and a plethora of other heart-attack leading emotional words. Did anyone take the plates of that bull-smashing truck? THAT BIG an announcement!
Activision Blizzard has announced the launch of the new Activision Blizzard Studios division — fully focused on producing original Film and TV content.
Nick van Dyk is the co-president of the new Activision Blizzard Studios division. He was formerly Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Disney and played a key role in the Pixar/Marvel/Lucasfilm acquisition years ago.
The important part of this news is the potential for StarCraft, Warcraft and Diablo TV animated series. Unthinkable!? Far-fetched!? How about you read very slowly the press release? The first production to be tackled by Activision Blizzard Studios is Skylanders Academy (an animated TV series) already in production.
Flashbacks bring me to words spoken by Duncan Jones, Chris Metzen and Rob Pardo during the BlizzCon 2013 Warcraft Movie Panel that totally make you [right now] thrill as if planets have aligned at the right time.
BlizzCon 2013 Flashback
Do you plan to make the film into a trilogy?
Duncan: Into a trilogy? I think for us right now it is absolutely about getting this first film right and making sure that we tell the story that we want to tell; but let’s be honest, if we are going to do this right and it works out, I think we would all be excited and enthusiastic about continuing the story.
I was wondering why you decided to make a movie instead of possibly a TV Series — and you have such a big story that is beautiful that you could put into a TV Series.
Metzen: I would say — unofficially — it is nothing official at all. I’m just riffing here — like “I want one of those too.”
Pardo: If Duncan does the job I know he is going to do, then maybe more studios will be knocking our doors to do TV shows.
Duncan: It goes back to that point where the number of stories that you guys have available to work with. We get this right, and we are going to do everything to make sure it turns out well that you can go anywhere with this. You can start going anywhere.
The launch of this new Activision Blizzard Studios division clearly makes production of Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft TV Animated Series and Film content a thought closer to reality than ever. Smaller productions similar to Netflix Daredevil (13-episodes) are also possible under the new division.
“Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company, it is a synergistic complement to our core business. Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with and passion for our franchises.” said Van Dyk.
Activision Blizzard Launches Activision Blizzard Studios to Create Original Film and TV Content Based on Iconic, Globally-Recognized Franchises
Initial Productions to Include Skylanders™ TV Series and Call of Duty™ Film Series Disney Veteran Nick van Dyk Named Studio Co-President
SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios , a new film and television studio devoted to creating original content based on the company’s extensive library of iconic and globally-recognized intellectual properties. Activision Blizzard’s owned content includes some of the most popular entertainment franchises in the world, including Call of Duty®, Skylanders®, Diablo ®, Hearthstone® and StarCraft®. Former Disney executive Nick van Dyk has been tapped to co-head the division, along with a senior creative executive who will be announced soon.
Activision Blizzard Studios’ first production will be “Skylanders™ Academy,” an animated TV series based on the award-winning Skylanders® game. Currently in production under the supervision of showrunner Eric Rogers (“Futurama”), “Skylanders™ Academy” will feature the voices of Justin Long (“Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Ask Me Anything”) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (“Phineas and Ferb,” “High School Musical”) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul”) as Eruptor and Norm Macdonald (“Saturday Night Live”) as Glumshanks. Additional voice talent includes Harland Williams and Richard Horvitz . The award-winning, $3 billion Skylanders® franchise has sold through more than 250 million toys since pioneering the toys-to-life category in 2011i.
Another near-term initiative for Activision Blizzard Studios will be the development of a robust cinematic universe based on the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare remains the number one-selling title on next-generation consolesii and today marks the launch of the highly-anticipated new Call of Duty®: Black Ops III. Activision Blizzard Studios envisions a series of Call of Duty feature films as well as the possibility of television adaptations.
“Activision Blizzard is home to some of the most successful entertainment franchises in history, across any medium. With the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios , our engaged fans can now watch the games they love come to life across film and television,” said Bobby Kotick , Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard . “Activision Blizzard Studios is yet another way we’re celebrating our players and fans, and we expect that our film and television productions will entertain and delight whole new audiences, as well. I’m excited that Nick and his team will be leading this important new growth opportunity for Activision Blizzard.”
Kotick added, “We intend to approach film and television development with the same unwavering commitment to excellence we are known for in game development.”
Nick van Dyk , formerly a long-time Walt Disney Company senior executive, will serve as Activision Blizzard Studios’ Co-President, alongside a top creative executive who will be announced soon. Van Dyk will have responsibility for distribution, physical production, strategy, finance and operations and will co-manage all aspects of the studio. Before joining Activision Blizzard last year, van Dyk spent nine years at Disney where, as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, he helped drive Disney’s focus on franchise intellectual property and played a significant role in the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm . Prior to that, van Dyk was part of Artisan Entertainment’s senior management team.
“Activision Blizzard Studios has the unique advantage of starting with a library of world-class intellectual property that includes some of the largest franchises which have not yet been developed in film and television,” said van Dyk. “Our library spans more than 30 years of global entertainment culture and, in the last 12 months alone, fans of Activision Blizzard properties have played and watched our games online for more than 13 billion hours. This gives us a huge, passionate and deeply-engaged audience that is hungry for more great content built from the universes they already know and love—and which are extremely broad in their appeal.”
Van Dyk added, “Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company, it is a synergistic complement to our core business. Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with and passion for our franchises.”
Activision Blizzard Studios is another important step in the company’s strategy of expanding the platforms through which it offers its compelling intellectual property to existing fans and new audiences around the world.
The founding of Activision Blizzard Studios follows the company’s announcement on Oct. 22 of a new esports division headed by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and Major League Gaming co-founder and president Mike Sepso. The esports division will build on the company’s competitive gaming leadership by creating all-new ways to deliver the best-in-class fan experience across games, platforms and geographies, furthering the development of its world-leading esports ecosystem. Activision Blizzard’s other divisions are Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment . On Nov. 2 , the company announced its plans to acquire King Digital Entertainment, the creators of the Candy Crush®, Farm Heroes®, Pet Rescue® and Bubble Witch® franchises, which will make it a new global leader in mobile gaming.