By February 6, 2013

StarCraft 2: You’ve Been Dancin With Mr Blackstone

The second StarCraft 2 video game, Heart of the Swarm is due for release on March 12 of this year. I’ve been following news about the expansion for awhile, and have been spending time playing the beta. However, the beta test only covers the multiplayer / competitive aspect, and does not hint at the single player story mode.

The original StarCraft was released in 1998, and the lore behind the franchise has been going strong ever since. The first game led to an expansion. Various bits of fiction were written between then and StarCraft 2′s release in 2010. About 50 novels, short stories, comics and graphic novels have been published. Blizzard Entertainment, the publisher of StarCraft, recently launched a Web site and social media storytelling campaign that further delves into the franchise’s storyline.

The Web site is called Project Blackstone.

Project Blackstone login

Hrm … password protected, eh? Well, some intrepid sleuths on Reddit converted the word “Blackstone” to hex, and derived the password:

Y7_$0>0k_3<$m

Note: the site appears to use Flash, so that means all of us modern mobile device users are SOL. Enjoy this site on your desktop.

Adding to the intrigue are Twitter accounts from ten staff members of Project Blackstone — well, eleven if you count the artificial intelligence Adjutant 3327.

It might be a little hard to bounce back and forth between all of the Twitter correspondence. Someone has put together a Storify link with an aggregate of all the conversations.

I don’t want to talk too much about the StarCraft lore in general or what’s going on within Project Blackstone, but the inferred details are really intriguing.

For example:

  • It appears that the project is aboard a space vessel. There’s talk of generating artificial gravity, and transports bearing staff dock and undock according to the Adjutant’s tweets.
  • Participation among the scientists appears to be compulsory, and no one was notified that they would be “recruited” into the project.
  • Zerg xenobiology is being used to upgrade Terran troops and hardware, possibly explaining why the Reaper unit now has health regen in the game.

I encourage you to read the Storify thread and check out the Web site. Even if you don’t follow StarCraft, it’s a cool way to see how social media can help spin a story, and how it can be used to market an upcoming product in a less-traditional way. Yes, the Internet has been used for other types of promotions like this one, but I love StarCraft more than all of that other shit ;) Well, except maybe for Pacific Rim.

Just kidding, StarCraft. I love you the mostest.

It’s obvious from the layout that more story is yet to unfold. The Storify link’s creator will update as the story unfolds (meaning, it’s a manual process). If you’re a hard-core Twitter nerd, you can create a list with all the twitter handles of the project participants and then follow the entire list. I hardly use Twitter, so the Storify option is best for me — even if I have to wait.

Besides, what’s waiting a few hours or a day for a new piece of StarCraft 2 lore, when I’m going to be waiting five weeks for Heart of the Swarm to release? :)

Cool stuff.

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Posted in: games, link and run

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