Blizzard Entertainment reveals epic conclusion to the StarCraft II saga before packed house at Anaheim Convention Center during BlizzCon gaming festival
Next chapter of StarCraft II will be a standalone product, not requiring Wings of Liberty® or Heart of the Swarm®
ANAHEIM, Calif.—November 7, 2014—Blizzard Entertainment today offered the first glimpse of StarCraft® II: Legacy of the Void™, its highly anticipated conclusion to the StarCraft II trilogy, and a standalone game experience. Attendees of the company’s BlizzCon® gaming festival were the first in the world to play Legacy of the Void, with single-player campaign missions, a new cooperative gameplay mode—Archon Mode, and multiplayer battles featuring several new playable units all on display. Another gameplay mode, Allied Commanders, was also announced at the event.
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void continues the story of Blizzard’s award-winning StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty® where the first expansion, Heart of the Swarm®, left off, with a new campaign that brings the sci-fi saga to an epic conclusion. Protoss legends Artanis and Zeratul attempt to unite their race in an intergalactic fight for survival against an ancient evil from the Void that threatens the universe. The fates of Terran hero Jim Raynor and Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, also hang in the balance.
“Legacy of the Void will deliver the quintessential StarCraft II experience,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “The new single-player campaign will wrap up the massive story, and we’re excited to share new game modes that will open up different ways to play the game and additional units that will expand the rich strategic depth of StarCraft II multiplayer.”
Archon Mode, a competitive multiplayer mode unveiled at BlizzCon, is a new way to enjoy StarCraft II with friends. In Archon Mode, two players share control over a single base and units as they take on an enemy duo in multiplayer action. By sharing the responsibility of commanding troops and managing resources, players can focus on their own areas of the battle and execute more intricate strategies.
Allied Commanders is another gameplay mode new to StarCraft II. In this objective-based, cooperative experience, players can team up and take on the roles of powerful commanders from the StarCraft saga. Each commander offers unique abilities and upgrades and bestows special bonuses on their armies. Players are able to battle through a series of special scenarios together, leveling up their commanders’ capabilities as they progress.
Multiplayer battles in Legacy of the Void will be fought with an array of new units, as well as upgrades to veteran forces. Zerg swarms will welcome the return of the Lurker, a classic creature from the original StarCraft that lays waste to infantry with deadly spines that burst from the ground. The Protoss field a new weapon called the Disruptor, which can use massive energy spikes to wreak havoc through swaths of ground forces. And the Terrans have engineered some new technology, such as Tactical Jump, which allows their Battlecruisers to teleport to any location on the battlefield. Several more new units and abilities were exhibited at BlizzCon, showcasing the new strategic and tactical options in store for players with Legacy of the Void.
Blizzard also revealed that Legacy of the Void will include functionality that enhances online multiplayer play with automated tournaments, providing players with ongoing events that support the active StarCraft II community. Legacy of the Void will be a standalone expansion that does not require a license of the base game, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, or the first expansion, Heart of the Swarm. Further details about Legacy of the Void, including pricing and availability, will be announced at a later date.
Blizzard is developing StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void for simultaneous release on Windows® and Macintosh®. To learn more about StarCraft II and Legacy of the Void, visit the official website at www.starcraft2.com. To try StarCraft II for free, head over to www.starcraft.com to download the Starter Edition.
With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available — visit jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.
The official StarCraft II Twitter dropped a hype bomb earlier today. The text simply says: “… at…” (which stands for at BlizzCon), followed by a link to Soundcloud with what seems to be three new StarCraft II sounds.
Could this be a sign Blizzard will unveil StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void with new units?
A few weeks ago, I posted about the hype of having empty slots in the BlizzCon schedule which could mean a potential game announcement was kept secret.
Blizzard Entertainment has unveiled the BlizzCon 2014 schedule and map with a strong tournament presence spanning World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone throughout Hall B, Hall C and the Arena stage.
BlizzCon 2014 is almost here! Whether you’re joining us at the Anaheim Convention Center in person or viewing from home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, we’ve got a lot of activities and events lined up for you.
To help you form a plan of attack, we’ve just posted a schedule of the panels, eSports tournaments, and other activities happening at BlizzCon on Friday and Saturday. You can also check out the floor map to get a lay of the land.
If you’d like to watch online, the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket grants you access to the events on the Main and Panel stages, along with this year’s in-game goodies. We’ll also be broadcasting the opening ceremony and this year’s eSports tournaments—including the StarCraft II WCS Global Finals, World of Warcraft Arena World Championship, and Hearthstone World Championship—for free at www.blizzcon.com. Stay tuned for more information.
Analyzing the BlizzCon 2014 schedule, one can’t ignore the big empty slot on the Main Stage and Hall A (Friday) from 11:45am to 2:15pm. Taking off 15 minutes of rest on each side of that time-frame, that’s two hours of empty slots on both stages.
Here are three possible explanations:
1. Either … Blizzard has no new games to announce this BlizzCon and thus Blizzard wants the fans to enjoy the tournament on Hall B, Hall C and the Arena before they head back to the Warcraft Movie Presentation Panel at 2:15pm; or …
Medievaldragon: Last BlizzCon was so packed with panels that a large portion of the fanbase was culled from the tournament halls. It would make sense to a degree to let fans experience some of the tournaments by having empty slots there without panels.
Update: Josh Mull (PvP Live) says: “That’s a 2 hour block of solid esports on three other stages. Good time for panel goers to experience the excitement!”
After all, this might be the reason for the no panel pause. I have never personally attended tournaments before, but I visited the Hammerstein Ballroom last October 4th to see the Hearthstone World Championship Americas Tournament till the end. I had an appointment next day, on the 5th, but I arrived in the afternoon until the tournament ended. Obviously, there is something with tournaments that excites and makes you come back for more. Maybe that’s the strategy with allowing fans some spare time at BlizzCon to enjoy any of the three tournaments.
2. Either … Blizzard might have something to announce.
On the other hand, if Blizzard Entertainment had anything to announce they would remain silent about it until the very last moment. Each panel usually lasts about one hour. This Friday schedule shows 2 empty hours on the Main Stage; plus an equally empty 2 hours on Hall A.
To me this spells there is potentially two new projects Blizzard might be planning to announce.
New Game Announcements?
At this point we know that production of the Next-Gen MMO (codenamed: Titan) has been cancelled.
However, for those of us who have kept track of job postings these past few years, Blizzard Entertainment also had openings for a “Unannounced Game”. I am not making that up. The image below shows today’s Blizzard Careers page.
That might be a possible game to announce, and from past experience we know that it takes Blizzard at least a couple of years to launch it.
However, there are two stronger candidates for announcement at this point:
1. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm shipped on March 12, 2013. However, development was announced at BlizzCon 2011. It would make sense to announce StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void at BlizzCon 2014 to see it shipped in 2016 (at the latest).
2. Hearthtone: Unannounced Adventure
Hearthstone has been an astonishing surprise for Blizzard Entertainment. Returning to its roots, a small team of developers was assigned to develop a game that has surpassed 20 million players worldwide on PC, and mobile devices.
Hearthstone was originally announced at PAX East on March 2013, and it was launched on March 2014. The first adventure, Curse of Naxxramas, was released on July 22, 2014 adding 5-wings (unlocked over the course of several weeks) and added 30 new cards to the online card game.
Think about it … this team was capable of deploying a new adventure barely 4 months after Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft launched. When BlizzCon 2014 goes live on November 7-8 it would have been 4 months since the launch of Curse of Naxxramas.
It would make sense for Blizzard to announce a Hearthstone adventure or other type of Hearthstone gameplay in that time-frame.
3. World of Warcraft expansion?
On a lesser possible degree, a new expansion when Warlords of Draenor hasn’t shipped yet could be surprising. We have heard for years that Blizzard would like to ship World of Warcraft expansions more often; but unless we see it happen any speculation would have to be held with a grain of salt.
Whether Blizzard Entertainment announces one or more games, expansions or adventure packs at BlizzCon 2014, or none at all, fans will certainly have a lot of fun with the World Championship tournaments, and a sense of discovery with the Warcraft Movie Presentation panel and the Warlords of Draenor, Diablo III, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone panels.
Note: This article is more an opinion piece based on speculation of different potential possibilities rather than a prediction.
McRO, Inc. d.b.a. Planet Blue recently brought Activision Blizzard to The Supreme Court to litigate a patent claim against the use of lip synchronization and facial expresion technology in StarCraft II and Skylanders. Today, The Supreme Court dismissed the patent claim.
Patent Claims Against Activision Blizzard’s Use of Lip Synchronization and Facial Expression Technology in Call of Duty(R), Skylanders(R) and StarCraft(R) II Are Dismissed
Dismissal Follows The Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling Confirming that Abstract Ideas are Not Patentable
SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced that the United States District Court, Central District of California has invalidated all patent claims asserted against the Company by McRO, Inc. d.b.a. Planet Blue.
The Court concluded that two patents for automatically animating lip synchronization and facial expressions of 3D characters were invalid, and as a result, the case against Activision Blizzard has been dismissed.
“Meritless patent cases such as this stifle innovation and the creative process across the industry,” said Chris Walther , Chief Legal Officer of Activision Blizzard . “We will aggressively defend our investments in the innovative franchises at Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment , as we did in this case with Call of Duty®, Skylanders® and StarCraft® II, from entities whose sole purpose is to use patent litigation to hold innovative companies captive for monetary gain.”
As part of its jointly filed motion on behalf of the Defendants, Activision Blizzard argued that the two patents in question — 6,307,576 and 6,611,278 – were invalid because they claimed well-known and long-practiced lip-synching methods implemented on a computer. On September 24, 2014 , the District Court agreed, finding that the patents lacked any inventive concept, and therefore the claims would inhibit rather than promote the progress of the useful arts.
The Court’s decision to invalidate the patents follows precedent set by The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Alice Corp. , confirming that abstract ideas are not patentable.
Jinx is preparing to announce a new Summer 2014 line-up, and needs to clear inventory space to accommodate them, for which Jinx has moved some Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo products to the $14.99 category (33% off) with an additional savings of FREE shipping on orders above $35.
While not part of the $14.99 deal, these do qualify to the Free Shipping offer — you can browse through the latest Jinx Blizzard licensed products here:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office lists Blizzard Entertainment as the last listed owner of the Metal Arms trademark. Metal Arms, was formerly registered by Sierra Entertainment and it was originally developed by Swingin’ Ape Studios — which took the reins of StarCraft: Ghost (after Nihilistic departed development).
Blizzard Entertainment acquired Swingin’ Ape Studios in May 16, 2006.
Metal Arms was a top-notch FPS game. Blizzard Entertainment is currently developing a few unannounced games — the Next-Gen MMO Titan, the unannounced game, and a third one. These are now dubbed Unannounced Games (in plural) at the Blizzard Careers page.
It is all speculation at this point. The only fact is that Metal Arms appears on the Blizzard Entertainment trademark list. Of course, it might have simply been … a glitch in the system. got it?
The StarCraft Twitter was updated with awesome news for lore fans. Blizzard Entertainment is coming strong to the San Diego Comic Con this year.
”Blizzard is returning to San Diego Comic Con full force this year with new products and show exclusives! Details coming soon!”
Blizzplanet staff member Naka (@dperschonok) will be there to take photos and video.
The tweet hasn’t been yet posted on the Warcraft and Diablo Twitters, or anyone else at the moment of this report. It came out of the StarCraft Twitter. Considering Blizzard Entertainment exhibits at the San Diego Comic Con details about upcoming licensed products, we might be seeing some sort of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void novel tie-in announced.
Shortly after that, BlizzCon 2014 might have some really nice things in store.