Frantically clicking around the Web in search of a StarCraft 2 review? Put the mouse down and slowly – slowly! – step away from your desk. Accordingly to the team at Ars Technica, which spoke with a rep at Blizzard Entertainment, the company has doled out lots of StarCraft 2 review copies but the games will not install until tomorrow's launch. That means the press will be playing StarCraft 2 at the same time you do.
It also means you're going to have to be patient – complete reviews likely won't hit the Web until tomorrow morning at the earliest.
StarCraft 2, of course, is a science-fiction strategy game developed for the Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. The game is a sequel to the 1998 breakthrough smash hit StarCraft, which reportedly sold upwards of 11 million copies, and raised the bar for strategy games. StarCraft 2 will feature some of the same alien races from the first installment, as well as a bevy of new characters and locations.
This is expected to be one of the largest events in PC gaming of the past few years. Blizzard doesn't exactly need any more early buzz to get gamers ready to buy. Also, a large part of the StarCraft 2 experience exists in the new and updated Battle.net service, and reviewers will be playing games against other actual gamers, sharing their achievements with their friends who bought the game, and interacting using all the live features, filled with eager gamers.
Hollywood often stints on screening new movies for critics, but usually only in the case of a particularly lackluster flick. In Blizzard's case, it seems to be holding back on StarCraft 2 previews for the opposite reason: the game is enough of a media magnet that Blizzard doesn't need the press.
In other computer gaming news, Valve recently re-released the third-person shooter Alien Swarm for the Steam platform. The newest iteration of Alien Swarm includes the complete code base, so amateur designers can tinker around with the game until the cows come home. Alien Swarm is itself a modification of Unreal Tournament 2004, a top-selling video game built on the Unreal Engine.
[Editor's note: The original version of this article mischaracterized Blizzard's arrangement with the press.]