In an interview last week, Blizzard's StarCraft II lead designer Chris Sigarty seemed hopeful that the upcoming PC game will breathe new life into the real-time strategy genre. Sigarty's view of the genre is that its popularity has fallen quite a bit since the days of Starcraft: Brood War. Still, he gave a few thumbs up to many titles he's seen over the past decade that have taken "cool and innovative" directions.
"But one of the things for me that has been interesting about it is that people have changed what's crucial to an RTS--now it's all about blowing everything [traditional] out of the water," he said. "People do crazy different things--sometimes to the level of getting away from the essence of what was established previously."
Blizzard's overall feeling of the direction it took with StarCraft II is that it has a solid play style, a great gaming method, and is very innovative while making sure fans don't feel alienated. "I feel pretty positive that with StarCraft II, we'll spark a resurgence in RTS gaming. As far as PC gaming goes, it's definitely still alive with World of Warcraft so we don't think it's dead yet."
StarCraft II may also be a key component in the overall health of the RTS genre--and PC gaming for that matter--for years to come in the way that Blizzard has broken the game into three chunks. As it stands now, the next installment won't see the light of day for another 18 months.
"The original [journey] was conceived with a total complete story arc so we know those big points," he said when asked about the release of part 2, Heart of the Swarm. "But the details are still being talked about and discussed now. I've said this before, but our estimate is 18 months approximately from when we launch Wings of Liberty that we would be looking at getting Heart Of The Swarm out."
But what about LAN support? Has Blizzard caved in just a little? "No," he said. "We've made the choice at this point that we're not including LAN." His reasoning is that StarCraft II stays connected, tracking everything players accomplish. Because of that, LAN is not "a necessary" feature. What do you think? Does that make sense?