Blizzard talks StarCraft II • Page 2

"We're privileged to have players that care."

Eurogamer: Was part of the decision about making sure Koreans would be able to seamlessly transition into the game without having too much that is new to wrap their heads around?

Carl Chimes: No. Actually, it plays like a new game. But it definitely harkens to the legacy. They'll find it's the same: fast-paced, hundreds of units bellowing out on the playfield, and still very balanced.

But on the other hand, we did re-imagine what we wanted the races to be like. So you'll find completely new units on each of the races and completely new abilities. Even some of the old units from StarCraft 1 that made it back in can do new tricks now.

Eurogamer: So you reckon fans of StarCraft will feel like they're playing a completely new game?

Carl Chimes: Yeah. We think players will find it fresh. It'll be a fresh experience. But it'll also feel familiar to them.

Eurogamer: How important is this release to PC gaming?

Michael Ryder: We don't think about it in terms of the platform, necessarily. We're more focused about the game itself and the gameplay. We think it's an important game for us to continue the success we had with StarCraft 1.

If it enhances the PC as a platform in a broader way, that would be great. But it's not something we made out as an objective.

We've always worked on the PC. For us it's a viable platform and supports the kind of game designs we want to work with.

Our focus is on delivering a great game and making the players happy. If that somehow enhances the PC platform, that's awesome.

Eurogamer: How does Europe compare to the US and Korea in terms of StarCraft? Is it as popular here as it is in the US?

Michael Ryder: The game is the same everywhere. That's what we care about. Certainly the game is popular in all the areas where we ship it. It'll be more popular in some areas than others. But this is a new game. It's 12 years later.

We look at all the regions equally. We try to approach them all with the same point of view.

One thing that's a bit different in the way we approach things is we try hard to modify and adapt our business models on a regional basis, so we can provide as much accessibility to the game as possible.

We have a different business model in Europe than we do in Korea. We have different business models around the world. It's something we pride ourselves on because we want to make the game accessible. Other than the business model itself it's the same game.

Eurogamer: How have you changed Battle.net?

Carl Chimes: There were three overriding core ideas behind the new Battle.net. First of all, we wanted players to always be connected. They're always connected to their friends and they're always connected to the service.

So even as you're playing the campaign, it can be saving your campaign progress up to the cloud, essentially. So you can pick up the campaign on some other computer, if you switch computers.

And we have plans going forward to be able to let people share their replays online, as well.

Another core idea behind the new Battle.net is we wanted it to be competitive for everyone. We cater to both casual players and the hardcore players. We have a state of the art matchmaking system, now. It'll find someone of comparable skill to your own.

Every game you play competitively will be on the edge of your seat.

But at the same time, we've split the ladder up into five different leagues. Within each league there are about a hundred people per division. So, as you progress up the ladder it's more meaningful and you'll actually see some progress, rather than being the thousand whatever on the ladder.

As far as the casual play goes, we've done a lot in the single-player and the challenge mode to get people ready for competitive play.

But we've also released the StarCraft editor. It's the same tool the developers used to make the game. During the beta we've seen people make custom games, like racing games, puzzle games, first-person shooters, third-person shooters, side-scrolling games.

As you make your maps you have the ability to publish them on Battle.net, and then everyone on the service can enjoy the game you've made.

The third principle of the new Battle.net is we're uniting all the Blizzard communities. So if you choose to use the Real ID option, you can chat to your friends. Even if you're playing World of Warcraft, no matter which realm they're on and no matter which faction they're playing, you're always able to talk to your friends.

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