StarCraft II: Midnight Launch
On Monday 26th July our Oxford Street Store opened its doors to a veritable army of PC gamers for what many are calling the Real Time Strategy event of the century so far - the launch of Blizzard's sci-fi strategy epic StarCraft II. Here's our report...
Midnight launches may happen a fair few times a year, but rarely had we seen one quite like this. With the cult status enjoyed by its predecessor thanks to over a decade of amazing multiplayer experiences, StarCraft II is a simply massive game, and this early-hours opening was an event filled with theatre and enthusiasm.
We started by strolling past the GAME store on Oxford Street in London early in the evening hoping to catch a glimpse inside. We weren't disappointed! Usually closed so late at night, the shop was a hub of activity as the crew readily prepared and decorated, transforming the store into a StarCraft fan's nerdvana!
Encouragingly, even at that time there was already a queue of 50 or so fans, assembled throughout the day just to be amongst the first to play StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty on PC - testament to the dedication of Blizzard's renowned following and the power of the StarCraft series.
After grabbing a bite to eat we returned to the launch just ahead of midnight and were amazed how the queue had swelled - it now stretched along Oxford Street!
Spirits were high as Blizzard promotional girls handed out StarCraft II branded cupcakes - delicious! - and fans discussed their expectations of the game.
Throughout the night the crowd was treated to photo opportunities with Kerrigan the Queen of Blades and the Terran Marine, whom was patrolling the queue outside the store - just to keep the excitement nice and orderly. I wouldn't cross 'em, would you?
At the stroke of midnight the store was officially opened by Blizzard's Vice President and Executive Managing Director of International Operations Mike Ryder, who was joined by Carl Chimes Lead software engineer, StarCraft II.
As the tills began a ringing, the pair took great pleasure in talking with the fans and signed copies of their freshly purchased copies of StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty. Now that's fan service!
After talking with the fans - many of whom bagged signed copies of the Limited Collector's Edition -soaking in the excitement and generally enjoying the spectacle of the StarCraft II launch event we left. Leaving the remainder of the eager queuing gamers to enjoy their StarCraft II experience and returned home to suit up ourselves and get ready for battle...