StarCraft 2 and PiracyBT: Well, I suppose a follow-up question to that then would be – why develop StarCraft 2? Why didn’t you want to make an entirely new IP or do a different type of game?
Well, the development team is very actively involved in deciding what game they want to make. They wanted to make a sequel to StarCraft
. If they had said they wanted to make a new intellectual property or a new RTS then we certainly would have considered that. The fact that they wanted to make a sequel to StarCraft
was just great too.
Besides, creating a new intellectual property is a huge undertaking. Not only do you have the challenge of creating a quality gameplay experience, but you’ve also got to build this foundation of lore and characters and story and content. StarCraft 2
has been a big enough challenge as it is. I’m glad we chose to use an existing IP!
BT: The beta is active at the moment, but what do you see the purpose of the beta as? Are you really hoping to get bug reports from your users, do you look for player feedback mainly or is it mainly a publicity thing?
Player feedback on balance is the biggest part of it. On the bugs front we have a great QA department who find all our thousands of bugs.
Technically, this is what's known as the Jackson Pollack position
BT: A depressing number of bugs?
Heh, no… it’s typical for product development. One thing that we get in addition to balance feedback though is compatibility testing that we might otherwise not get with our internal QA department.
BT: And what sort of feedback have you had from the beta?
In terms of their reactions it has been really positive. Certainly, balance will always be an issue and even if it were flawless then they’ll still be people upset about it, but overall it has been really positive.
BT: Do you think the beta – and I suppose the full game too – attracts mainly fans of the old game, or are you confident that you’re appealing to newcomers?
I don’t think we’re seeing a lot of new players in the beta, no. It’s all people who know Blizzard, know RTS games, know StarCraft
. We’re fine with that at this point though. The beta is a development tool, not a marketing tool. We just want to collect feedback at this stage.
BT: Battle.net as well, obviously that brings a lot of gameplay enhancements to the table, but was it designed partly as an anti-piracy method too?
Ze goggles, zay do narsink!
It’s not really about anti-piracy, no. It’s about connecting the Blizzard community and the StarCraft
community together online. We talked earlier about what’s made StarCraft
so successful and so long-lived after the launch and one of the things we didn’t mention but which is true is the vibrant community. We want our games to be popular for years to come and one of the best ways to do that is to allow that community to stay connected to each other.
BT: What’s your opinion on piracy as a developer?
It’s definitely a factor, but the primary focus of the development team is to make a great game and make Battle.net great – and if they do their job well then, y’know, that’s where people will want to play the game.
BT: But you do require online connectivity to play even in singleplayer?
There’s an online activation, but you can switch to an offline mode after that. So, when you first install you need to make a Battle.net account, log in and activate your game, but if you want to only play singleplayer after that then you can switch it to go offline. The only drawback is that you don’t get any achievements or anything.
Hopefully people will want to play singleplayer while they are connected anyway, so they can earn achievements and decals and so on.
And that’s all we had time for, unfortunately! StarCraft 2’s release date is July 27, 2010 and it will be a PC exclusive.