StarCraft Series of Real Time Strategy Games

The StarCraft Series is a series of real-time strategy games developed by Blizzard Entertainment that focuses on the struggle between three intergalactic factions - A future human race known as Terrans, an insectoid race known as the Zerg and the Protoss, a technologically advanced race of beings with psionic abilities. The setting for all StarCraft games is the Koprulu Sector, a distant corner of the Milky Way galaxy in some 500 years in the future 26th century by earth time.

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StarCraft Series

StarCraft Series
© Blizzard Entertainment

The series got its start in 1998 with the release of StarCraft which was quickly followed up by two expansion packs. This first game and expansions all received widespread critical acclaim and was commercially very successful. After the release of StarCraft: Brood War the series went through a dormant period that lasted nearly 12 years until the release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty in 2010.

StarCraft II, like its predecessor, was a critical and commercial success introducing a new generation of PC gamers to the wonders of a real-time strategy masterpiece. StarCraft II as a trilogy was planned from the start and has seen the release of two additional titles in 2013 and 2015. Of the seven titles in the StarCraft series, six are exclusive to the PC/Mac platforms, these are detailed in the list that follows. One title, StarCraft 64, was a port of StarCraft released for the Nintendo 64 game system in 2000.

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StarCraft

StarCraft
© Blizzard Entertainment

Release Date: Mar 31, 1998
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Theme: Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

The original StarCraft is a real-time strategy game that was released in 1998 by Blizzard Entertainment. Developed with a modified WarCraft II game engine and debut at E3 1996 and drew some criticism due to what critics saw as a sci-fi version of Blizzard's highly successful WarCraft series of fantasy real-time strategy games. Upon release in 1998, StarCraft earned near-universal critical acclaim for gameplay balance of the three unique factions/races along with the engaging storyline of the single-player campaign and the addictive nature of multiplayer skirmishes. StarCraft went on to be the best-selling PC game in 1998 and has sold nearly 10 million copies since its release.​

The StarCraft single player story campaign is split into three chapters, one for each of the three factions. With the first chapter players taking control of the Terran then the Zerg in the second chapter and finally the Protoss in the third chapter. The multiplayer portion of StarCraft supports skirmish matches with a maximum of eight players (4 vs 4) in an array of different game modes that include conquest, where the opposing team must be completely destroyed, king of the hill and capture the flag. It also includes a number of scenario-based multiplayer game options as well.

There were two expansion packs released for StarCraft which is detailed in the following pages, one released in July 1998 and the other in November 1998. In addition to these expansions, StarCraft also had a prequel that was released as a shareware demo containing a tutorial and three missions. This was released included in the full StarCraft starting in 1999 as a custom map campaign and added two more missions.

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StarCraft: Insurrection

StarCraft: Insurrection
© Blizzard Entertainment

Release Date: Jul 31, 1998
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Theme: Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

The first expansion for StarCraft was StarCraft Insurrection released in July 1998 and was not as well received as the original game. It centers around a Confederate planet and the disappearance of a patrol. It includes a single player portion that includes three campaigns and 30 missions and over 100 new multiplayer maps. The storyline is primarily a Terran based storyline which offers a good amount of gameplay but does not introduce any new features or units.

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StarCraft: Brood War

StarCraft: Brood War
© Blizzard Entertainment

Release Date: Nov 30, 1998
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Theme: Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

StarCraft: Brood War was released in November 1998 and where the previous StarCraft Insurrection expansion failed, Brood War succeeded and this second expansion pack for StarCraft received widespread critical praise.

The Brood War expansion pack introduces new campaigns, maps, units, and advancements as well as continuing the storyline of the struggle between three factions that begin in StarCraft. This storyline has since been continued in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. There were a total of seven new units introduced with Brood War, one ground unit for each faction, a cloaked melee unit given to the special missions player, a spellcaster unit for the Protoss and an air unit for each faction as well.

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StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
© Blizzard Entertainment

Release Date: Jul 27, 2010
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Theme: Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

After nearly 12 years since the release of StarCraft Brood War and countless rumors about the rise and/or demise of the series, Blizzard finally released StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty in 2010. This long-awaited and highly anticipated sequel is set four years after the events of StarCraft Brood War, taking players to the same corner of the Milky Way galaxy in the continuing struggle between the Terran, Zerg, and Protoss. Like the original StarCraft game, StarCraft II includes a single player story campaign and a competitive multiplayer game. Unlike the original game that included a campaign for each faction, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty centers on the Terran faction for the ​single-player portion.

The game received widespread praise from critics and won a number of game of the year awards from 2010. It was also commercially successful selling more than three million copies in its first year of release and continues to be a PC Platform exclusive. StarCraft II is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best real-time strategy game of all time.

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
© Blizzard Entertainment

Release Date: Mar 12, 2013
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Theme: Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is the second chapter in the StarCraft II trilogy and centers around the Zerg faction for the single-player component, comprising of 27 missions that continue the story from Wings of Liberty. Heart of the Swarm introduced a number of new units for each faction including seven new multiplayer units - the Widow Mine and a revised Hellion for the Terran; Oracle, Tempest, and Mothership for the Protoss; and the Viper and Swarm Host for the Zerg.

The game was initially released as an expansion pack and required Wings of Liberty in order to play but it has since been released as a stand-alone title as of July 2015.

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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
© Blizzard Entertainment

Release Date: Nov 10, 2015
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Theme: Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

The final chapter in the StarCraft II trilogy is StarCraft II Legacy of the Void that centers around the Protoss in its single-player campaign that picks up the story from Heart of the Swarm. At the time of this writing, full details on what will be included in Legacy of the Void have not been made available, but it is said to include new units and changes to the multiplayer game over what is in Heart of the Swarm. A three mission prolog entitled Whispers of Oblivion was released on October 6, 2015, as a promotion for Legacy of the Void as well as the 3.0 update to Heart of the Swarm.