Screw you, Activision/Blizzard

So yeah, one of my most anticipated games of all time is getting the money grubber’s treatment courtesty of Blizzard and Activision. In case you missed it, at BlizzCon this year Blizzard announced that StarCraft 2 was going to be split into three titles, one for each race. Yep, instead of paying $50 and getting all three campaigns in one package, like you did in StarCraft, you’ll now have to pay $50 for three seperate packages. In speaking with IGN, Rob Pardo, executive vice president of game design, said a few things about the decision. Here’s a direct quote from the IGN piece (bolded emphasis is mine):

We really wanted to emphasize player choice a lot more,” he said. “We really wanted to tackle more of a branching storyline, [a] branching campaign; allow players to choose things like their own technology. And as we kind of developed [the game], we had to figure out how all there? How many missions do we actually need to tell an interesting story and what’s the player’s critical path to it? We have to make all of these tough design decisions about how this was going to work for us?”

“What we realized that whenever we put in the similar amount of content that we put in our previous games–as far as missions, characters, cinematics, things like that–it never really felt like the player had enough choice; it wasn’t really living up to what our hopes and dreams were at first. That’s when we realized we’re kind of at this fork in the road. We really have to make a choice. Do we want to back away from those philosophies? Or do we maybe just delay the game a lot and kind of do a little bit more? Or do we go for it?”

The whole quote is pretty circular and sounds like some dodging away from the obvious fact that this is nothing more than an attempt to milk the teat for all it’s worth. Yeah, maybe the campaigns are each going to be a bit longer, but do we really expect that each campaign will be as long as the previous StarCraft? That would be impressive if that’s the case, but somehow I really doubt it. Maybe I’m starting up the whining a bit early, but there’s no hiding the fact that it will cost $150.00 to experience the entire StarCraft 2 storyline. In a struggling economy, that’s a really steep tag to ask. I kind of hope that the strategy falls flat and gamers wait until cheaper 3-packs are available a year or two down the line rather than giving Blizzard and Activision the full asking price.

Click to enlarge.

What I’m guessing is that piracy on StarCraft 2 is going to be extreme. Gamers will probably buy the first title and find a way to get the other two installments through less than ethical means. I’m not advocating that, but I’m starting to understand why piracy is so much on the rise. You’re doing it to yourself, developers/publishers.

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