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StarCraft II delayed into 2010

Development of new Battle.net blamed.

Blizzard has admitted what everyone else had started to suspect - that its RTS sequel StarCraft II won't make it into shops this year. The first of its trilogy of releases, the Wings of Liberty campaign, will now see the light of day in the first half of 2010.

The news emerged from an earnings call with Activision Blizzard investors yesterday, in which the developer blamed continuing work on its new online gaming platform, the revamped Battle.net, for the delay.

"Over the past couple of weeks, it has become clear that it will take longer than expected to prepare the new Battle.net for the launch of the game," Blizzard said subsequently in a statement, quoted by GameSpot .

"The upgraded Battle.net is an integral part of the StarCraft II experience and will be an essential part of all of our games moving forward. This extra development time will be critical to help us realize our vision for the service."

"We recognize that we only get one chance to make a first impression," added Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime in the earnings call, according to Gamasutra.

Concerns that StarCraft II would be delayed surfaced when the game's multiplayer beta, which appeared to be very close to launch last month, failed to materialise.

Alarm bells rang on our recent visit to see the game, when few details of Battle.net were given and the single-player campaign was not shown - although what we did play of multiplayer was impeccably balanced and polished.

StarCraft II, already ten years behind the release of the original game, has been in development since 2003 and seen numerous hold-ups in that time, not least for the launch of World of Warcraft.

We'll have more on the game from this month's BlizzCon fan convention in a couple of weeks - 21st and 22nd August, to be precise. We'd bet on some kind of single-player campaign reveal there. In the meantime, there's plenty to mull over - including an amazing, must-watch Battle Report video - at the StarCraft II gamepage.