Starcraft fans have played millions (if not billions) of hours of the first two games, but what’s going on with Starcraft 3? Blizzard has multiple teams working on games at any one time and they may very well be working on the next game in their smash sci-fi franchise, but we’ve heard nary a peep in terms of Starcraft 3 news—much less any indication of a Starcraft 3 release date. We’ll break down the facts as best as we can!
Starcraft 3 news
At the moment, there has been no official announcement about Starcraft 3. We can’t deny that Starcraft 2 is inarguably the most popular real-time strategy game, but that pales in comparison to the popularity of MOBAs and first-person shooters in terms of esports.
Plenty of people have theorized about what we might expect to see for the next Starcraft game, but there’s not much in the way of official sources for Starcraft 3 news. Blizzard has been great at running an extremely tight ship, and the odds are we won’t hear any news until Blizzard decides they’re ready to let us know.
Starcraft 3 release date
When is the Starcraft 3 release date? Well, that’s a complicated question—especially considering that the game hasn’t yet been announced. We do know some things about the way Blizzard operates and we may be able to infer when we’ll get our games on the next entry in this blockbuster franchise.
The first Starcraft game released way back in 1998 to critical acclaim. It swept the world of esports, too, and is still played competitively more than 20 years later. We had to wait over a decade before we got Starcraft 2 in 2010, and even then it was only one-third of the game. Anxious gamers had to wait another three years for the Heart of the Swarm expansion and then another two years for Legacy of the Void to come out.
All in all, gamers didn’t get a complete Starcraft 2 experience until nearly 17 years had elapsed since the release of the first Starcraft. Even now, though, the game is still being patched and getting new content added like special mission packs, co-op commander missions, and a truckload of balancing.
There’s also the matter of Blizzard alternating between their real-time strategy titles. World of Warcraft has certainly taken a goodly chunk of their attention away from any kind of Warcraft RTS. We did get Warcraft 3: Reforged announced, but we can’t say for certain if that “counts” as the Warcraft entry in this rotation.
In the worst case scenario, Warcraft 4 would come out before we got our hands on Starcraft 3. Considering Blizzard’s development cycles, that means that we could be getting it as late as the mid-2020s. It may, however, be possible for us to get the game earlier if they’ve been secretly working on Starcraft 3. After all, Blizzard Entertainment somehow managed to keep Starcraft 2 a secret for a very long time.
Starcraft 3 platforms
Both Starcraft and Starcraft 2 can run on PCs and Mac, but will we see anything beyond that for Starcraft 3? It’s doubtful that Blizzard would invest their resources into developing a Linux version, although there are things like Lutris which let people play it on Linux anyway. Mac is a niche operating system, but Blizzard seems like they’re keen to continue their commitment to releasing Mac versions in the future.
Consoles, however, are another story. Starcraft 64 was an interesting experience to say the least. Trying to play a real-time strategy game with thumbsticks can best be described as “a nightmare” (and I can say that firsthand). It has, however, been more than 20 years since that debacle and the landscape has since changed with touchscreens and touchpads. We may very well see a Starcraft 3 Nintendo Switch version. It might also be possible for the game to come to mobile for the same reasons. It wouldn’t play as precisely as it does on PC, but then again, what games do?
What does Blizzard have planned for Starcraft 3?
Starcraft 2 was something that the franchise (and the genre) badly needed. It innovated in several areas, smoothed out the gameplay, and brought a blockbuster story for fans of the series to enjoy. Eventually, Starcraft 2 went free-to-play for some respects and that really opened up the floodgates for online play.
Originally, Starcraft 2 started out as a premium experience. Considering the success of Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, I think Blizzard is more than comfortable with releasing a free-to-play game right out of the gate. (Heck, there are even rumors that Overwatch will be going free-to-play in the next year or two). The lifeblood of any real-time strategy is its playerbase for multiplayer, and the best way to build up a large playerbase is to make it so anyone can get their hands on the game.
What about the Starcraft 3 campaign? That will more than likely be a premium experience that will cost a reasonable amount of money. I imagine that Blizzard would look at how Starcraft 2 is today and treat Starcraft 3 much the same. I think a fair estimate for the campaign episodes (if they go with an episodic formula, that is) would be around $29.99 or so.
As for the story, that presents an even greater challenge for the folks at Blizzard Entertainment. After all, you literally saved the entire universe by the end of Starcraft 2. It’s kinda hard to top that, but it’s not impossible to work around. The easiest option is to just create a new evil for the races to fight. After that, things could potentially devolve into some kind of internal conflict as we had seen happen several times across both games. Lastly, a Starcraft 3 prequel is a possibility, showing us what things were like in the earliest days of the franchise.
No matter how it actually plays out, Starcraft 3 will have to innovate almost as much as Starcraft 2 did to be a success. It’ll sell millions of copies, fans will have fun, and then we’ll find ourselves waiting another decade for Starcraft 4.