Blizzard has announced a release date for the first StarCraft II expansion: Heart of the Swarm. Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime recently said in company conference call that they were shooting for the first half of 2013, but confirmed the date in a recent press release, found below.
The Heart of the Swarm expansion continues the storyline of Sarah Kerrigan, as she plots her revenge against Arcturus Mengsk in the single player campaign. Online, Blizzard is introducing several new multiplayer units that expand on the most popular RTS game in the world.
Heart of the Swarm will be $39.99 when it launches this March on the PC and Mac.
Next chapter of Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft® II saga introduces key new online features and continues the epic story of Kerrigan, Queen of Blades
Heart of the Swarm™ Digital Deluxe and retail Collector’s Editions revealed
Digital presales NOW LIVE at StarCraft2.com
IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm™, the first expansion to Blizzard’s award-winning real-time strategy game StarCraft® II: Wings of Liberty®, will be available in stores and online beginning March 12, 2013. Heart of the Swarm features a new campaign continuing the epic story of Sarah Kerrigan, Queen of Blades, as she gathers the remnants of the zerg Swarm and plots her revenge against the treacherous dictator of the Koprulu sector, Arcturus Mengsk. It also introduces several new multiplayer units and features that enhance the acclaimed StarCraft II online experience.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be available on DVD-ROM for Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7/Windows® 8 and Macintosh® at a suggested retail price of $39.99 USD. The expansion will also be available digitally directly from Blizzard’s StarCraft II website (www.StarCraft2.com) at an expected price of $39.99 USD.
Blizzard is offering a Collector’s Edition of Heart of the Swarm loaded with digital and physical bonus items, available exclusively at select retail stores for a suggested retail price of $79.99 USD. Players will also have the option of purchasing a Digital Deluxe version of the expansion, which will include all of the digital items from the Collector’s Edition. The Digital Deluxe version will be available directly from Blizzard via www.StarCraft2.com at an expected price of $59.99 USD. Players who purchase the standard edition digitally or at retail will have the option to upgrade to the Digital Deluxe version at any time (for as long as the standalone Digital Deluxe version remains available) for an additional $20 USD.
Presales for the standard digital and Digital Deluxe versions of Heart of the Swarm are now available. Players who would like to purchase either version and be ready to play the moment the expansion launches can do so now by visiting www.StarCraft2.com. For players who prepurchase, the expansion content will automatically be digitally delivered via StarCraft II‘s streaming launcher prior to the release of Heart of the Swarm. Players who would like to preorder the standard box or the retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition can do so by visiting their local retailer.
“With Heart of the Swarm, our goal has been to expand on the multiplayer action and cinematic storytelling of Wings of Liberty,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Combined with features like unranked matchmaking and our new leveling system, this expansion elevates the StarCraft II experience for players of all skill levels.”
The Digital Deluxe version of Heart of the Swarm includes a full digital copy of the expansion along with the following in-game bonus items:
- StarCraft II Torrasque: Crush the enemies of the Swarm with the indomitable Torrasque, a fearsome new look for your zerg Ultralisks.
- StarCraft II Battle.net® Portraits and Decals: New Swarm-infested Battle.net portraits and decals help you customize the look of your online profile and in-game army.
- World of Warcraft® In-Game Pet: The Baneling companion pet is bursting with enthusiasm and ready to explode onto the Pet Battles scene.
- Diablo® III Blade Wings and Banner Sigil: Grow zerg-like wings in honor of the Queen of Blades, and unfurl an exclusive banner sigil to mark your allegiance to the Swarm in Sanctuary.
The Collector’s Edition of Heart of the Swarm includes the full version of the game on DVD-ROM and contains the following exclusive bonus items, in addition to the content from the Digital Deluxe version:
- Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray: Immerse yourself in the StarCraft universe with developer commentary, interviews with voice actors, and an in-depth historical retrospective on StarCraft‘s eSports legacy narrated by key members of the community.
- Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD: Enhance your Heart of the Swarm musical experience with this collection of more than a dozen tracks from the game.
- Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book: This 144-page tome features never-before-seen art from the expansion, including early concept sketches and meticulous 3D renderings.
- Zerg Rush Mousepad: This Collector’s Edition mousepad depicts the Terran Dominion holding out desperately under the onslaught of the Swarm.
Heart of the Swarm picks up the story of StarCraft II where Wings of Liberty left off, focusing on Kerrigan’s quest to reunite the Swarm and exact revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. Over the course of 20 campaign missions, players will follow Kerrigan as she sweeps across the galaxy, incorporating a variety of distinctive zerg species into her brood. Kerrigan will grow in strength from mission to mission, and players will be able to customize her with powerful new abilities, as well as evolve various zerg strains into fearsome new subspecies to suit their play style.
New weapons of war also debut in Heart of the Swarm‘s multiplayer, including new units such as Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new capabilities. New features will enhance the game experience, including group and clan systems; unranked matchmaking; Global Play, enabling players to battle others in different regions around the world; additional stat tracking; user interface improvements; an enhanced physics system, for more visceral looking battles; multiplayer replays, to watch replays with friends; a leveling system that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customization options for their online profiles; and much more.
Heart of the Swarm has received a Teen rating from the ESRB. In addition to the English version, Heart of the Swarm will be fully localized into Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, European Spanish, Russian, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Italian, and Polish. Availability of Heart of the Swarm in mainland China will be announced at a later date.
To learn more about StarCraft II and Heart of the Swarm, visit the official website at www.StarCraft2.com. To set up a Battle.net account and to opt-in to Blizzard Entertainment beta tests, please visit the official Battle.net website at www.battle.net.
With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available — visit jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.
About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes fourteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment’s expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the expected release date of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.