It's been over two years since the release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Blizzard's first sequel to its classic RTS franchise inspired an entire new generation of eSports, and fans have been eagerly anticipating the release of the second game in the StarCraft II franchise since. It was originally supposed to come out at the end of this year, but Blizzard pushed the release to an ambiguous early 2013 launch.
The ambiguity has now been lifted, and Blizzard has announced that StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will launch on March 12 in both retail and digital editions. The game will continue the story where it left off at the end of Wings of Liberty, but now focus on the always entertaining Kerrigan and the Zerg race.
"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 basic game will be available for $39.99 for both the retail and digital versions of the game. Blizzard is also offering a Collector's Edition that will retail for $79.99. This version will include a Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray, soundtrack CD and Zerg Rush mousepad.
If physical goodies are not your thing, Blizzard will also offer the Digital Deluxe Edition for $59.99. For an extra $20, players will get StarCraft II Battle.net portraits and decals, an in-game pet for World of Warcraft, Blade Wings and Banner Sigil for Diablo III, and the Torrasque, a unique look for the Ultralisk unit. All of the Digital Deluxe Edition content is included in the physical Collector's Edition set.
As far as multiplayer goes, Heart of the Swarm will introduce a number of new units for each race - Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts and Protoss Tempests. Units from Wings of Liberty will also be updated with new abilities.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is now available for pre-order on Battle.net. Those who pre-order will be able to pre-load the title before it launches and play when it becomes available.