November 6, 2017 // 11:36 a.m.
Activision-Blizzard has announced that it is to re-release sci-fi real-time strategy (RTS) StarCraft II as a free-to-play title later this month, following in the footsteps of its predecessor.
Blizzard threw a bone to fans of the classic StarCraft, originally released in March 1998, when it announced StarCraft Remastered earlier this year: While the Remastered version would be a paid-for upgrade, the original release - with a few bug-fixes and improvements added - was released as an entirely free-to-play title, along with its Brood War expansion.
Now the company is extending the same offer to StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, released in 2010 as the first StarCraft game to feature a 3D game engine. 'StarCraft II is one of the highest-rated PC games of all time, and we’re excited to give even more people around the world a chance to find out why it has inspired such a passionate global community,' explains Mike Morhaime, chief executive and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, of his company's decision. 'With the massive Wings of Liberty single-player campaign, endlessly replayable co-op mode, prestigious ranked ladder, comprehensive map-making tools, and more, StarCraft II now delivers the ultimate real-time strategy experience completely free.'
Astute readers will note that Morhaime's list of features doesn't extend to additional chapters in the title: Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void, and Nova Covert Ops will all be made available as add-on purchases priced $14.99 in the US, or as a Campaign Collection pack at $39.99. There's another restriction to the free release, too: The game's Co-op Commanders beyond Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis, are free-to-play only through to level five, beyond which players need to stump up cash for one of the game's downloadable content packs.
For those who already own Wings of Liberty, Blizzard is making Heart of the Swarm available free of charge if claimed through the Battle.net application between November 8th and December 8th. The free version of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, meanwhile, will be available from November 14th.