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What a year 1998 was, we saw Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal, Titanic won 11 Oscars, Google was founded, and StarCraft was released. For those of you who have just crawled out of a cave, StarCraft was big, being the best selling PC game of the year. Not only that, but since its release it has won 37 separate awards and has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records FOUR times. Twelve years later and we are finally getting a sequel. It’s been a long journey, so with StarCraft II just days away, here is a rundown of events leading up to its release.
StarCraft, it was a game that defined a genre. Even today I still compare games to StarCraft, but what made it so great? For me the best thing about the game was the story, it sucked you into the Koprulu Sector and got you attached to all the characters. I was angry at Mengsk for leaving Kerrigan to the Zerg, was touched at the sacrifice made by Tassadar, and I actually felt a loss when, in the expansion Brood War, Fenix was killed. It was this that made me play the single player campaign time and time again.
Compelling storyline wasn’t the only thing that made StarCraft great, the use of three balanced races was a giant leap for the genre and is a formula still used by many RTS games today. The cut scenes were another personal favourite of mine, giving a more detailed look to the units of the game and adding to the sheer awesomeness of it all. My final personal favourite feature was the user created maps, giving us SCV football, Hydralisk Rancher, and Turret Defence to name a few. They all stole hours of my life, and it was a fair trade.
Of course, any discussion of the history of StarCraft would be incomplete without a mention of its number 1 fan, South Korea. To the rest of the world StarCraft is a game, a pretty awesome game, but a game none the less. To South Korea StarCraft is more like a sport, a profession, or a way of life. StarCraft took off in a big way in Korea, with games being broadcast on television and professional gamers earning up to 200,000 US Dollars, StarCraft had found its home.
After StarCraft: Brood War was released at the end of 1998 it was a long wait until anything else was heard about StarCraft. Novels were written to expand the universe, but aside from the rumour mill, nothing was said about a sequel. That was until May 19th 2007 and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in South Korea. It was known that Blizzard would be announcing a new game, and in my gut I knew it was StarCraft II. That and, if it wasn’t, every Blizzard employee at the Invitational would have been mauled by an angry mob. So there I was sitting in my room in England watching a live update of the event, almost delirious from lack of sleep because of the time difference, and it happened. StarCraft II was finally announced, along with a pants wetting teaser trailer.
In June 2008 we received some bad, and good, news. StarCraft II was being split into three games, one for each race. This was bad news as we would have to wait even longer for the whole of StarCraft II to be released, but also good news as we were getting an awful lot more content.
Two years later, after a few more trailers and some battle reports, it is finally here. Personally the excitement is like Christmas, New Years Eve, and my birthday all wrapped into one. If you’re not quite that excited yet why not check out the final trailer to be released, I think I may have watched it about 30 times whilst writing this and I’m still going back for more. Regardless of how the game turns out on the 27th it has been a good ride and if you're anything like me, good luck getting any sleep on the 26th.