There will be no reviews of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty before its launch on Tuesday next week, Eurogamer can reveal. All press will be experiencing it for the first time alongside the rest of you.
Blizzard was unable to offer an official comment at time of writing. However, we understand from our conversations with the developer-publisher that the new Battle.net service and its online features are so integral to the game that it would be both impractical and undesirable for press to review it before servers go live.
That, and designer Dustin Browder has previously confirmed to VG247 that the game will require a day one patch in order to give the famously perfectionist developer "a little bit more time to sort of get their ducks in a row."
Much of the multiplayer game has already been revealed via the recent beta testing phases. However, Blizzard has kept the game's campaign mode under tight wraps, offering no opportunities to play it outside of brief glimpses at preview events. The same goes for the challenge mode, intended to bridge the gap between the single-player and StarCraft's famously fearsome multiplayer.
Blizzard often gives press and fans access to games and information at the same time, with game reveals and initial hands-on previews usually taking place at its BlizzCon fan convention. It's also favoured the public Gamescom convention in Germany over the industry-only E3 in recent years.
So, expect our verdict as soon as we've played the game enough to be sure of it - but not before.
There will be launch events worldwide on the evening of Monday 26th July - including one in London, which we'll attend - and we understand servers will be turned on by midnight for those lucky enough to secure an early copy.
This will happen by time zone, too, so players and journalists in Australia and New Zealand will be the first to get a taste of StarCraft II, followed by Asia, Europe, and last of all North America.
Digital copies will go on sale at 10am on the 27th, so an old-fashioned box copy will be your quickest route to playing the game.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - the first part of a three-part sequel to the 1998 real-time strategy classic - has been in development for seven years. The Wall Street Journal recently estimated that it cost $100 million to make. It's Blizzard's first non-World of Warcraft release since 2003. It launches with the new Battle.net, an ambitious, and sometimes controversial, attempt by Blizzard to create an integrated online gaming and social platform. It could not be a bigger deal, basically.