Blizzard on StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Release Date, Pricing, Hours of Gameplay

In a recent interview, Dustin Browder, lead designer of StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, provided some insight on the upcoming expansion of Wings of Liberty.

When asked how many hours of gameplay the expansion’s single-player campaign will include, Browder replied:

We don’t know. We just make the missions as cool as they can be, then worry about the number of hours one mission would hit later. For most users, I would guess about 20 hours or maybe less.

Knowing there will be 20 missions in HotS, Browder likely arrived at this answer by averaging one hour per mission.

Regarding pricing, Browder stated:

I don’t know what the price point is, but we always charge what we think the game is worth. So, if Wings of Liberty had 30 missions and Heart of the Swarm has 20, that will probably amount to less money [on the consumer's part]. Because we’re offering less, players will expect less than Wings of Liberty. It also depends on what the competition is charging, alongside other variables [in terms of expansions]. The plan is not for all three to be the same price; there was never a secret plan by either us or Activision.

This should quell the rumors that the Zerg and Protoss expansions for SC2 will be priced a $60.

In response to queries about a release date, Browder offered a cryptic reply:

We don’t know; almost really not this year. If we come to a point where we release [Diablo III and Heart of the Swarm] almost around the same time period, that would be a tough one. I mean, that never almost happens with us, right? It’s not something we’re sweating about. The two missions we’ve showed off [in May]? They’re polished but they’re really not done. We’ve got lots of missions done to a pretty good level but not like the [aforementioned ones]. We’re pretty far along in development.

On one hand, he states that they’re far along in development, but on the other, he says the two missions showcased in May — which were the most developed ones — are “really not done.”

What is clear is that HotS will not release alongside Diablo 3. Based on the information we currently have, it seems HotS will be released after Diablo 3, which will likely not be in 2011. If we’re to believe our insider, Heart of the Swarm could be 1.5 years away.

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57 Comments on Blizzard on StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Release Date, Pricing, Hours of Gameplay

Mike

On August 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

What is one guy at Blizzard working on HotS? This timetable seems ridiculous.

Gabby

On August 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Hey people tell us the real date

Mike (Cerebrate)

On August 31, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Well i am a zerg player of course (Cerebrate is my Starcraft 2 profile) and i think they are trying to make the 20 missions as best they can because come on there is only 20 there was 30 for Starcraft 2 Wings Of Liberty. I say give them a little more time to “grow”. Perfection can not be rushed. (if you wish to speek to me more about this go ahead and add me of Starcraft 2 my user name is Cerebrate and my character code is 100 i would love to talk about my fav team :) .

Dana

On September 1, 2011 at 6:24 am

Umm its blizzard, and blizzard is much like valve much in the fact that they can take as much time as they want, why? Cause they know that those who are going to buy it are going to buy it no matter when it comes out.

Mike (Cerebrate)

On September 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Very true dana just helps me prove my point :)

Olof

On September 4, 2011 at 9:54 am

Sure, they take their time. But come on, these development-times are ridiculus. Other companies can cram out a game that is 80% as good in 1/3 of the time. What does that tell you about blizzard efficiency?
This “polishing til’ it’s perfect” is bull.

Mariachi

On September 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Come on guys the clues are in plain sight. He said it himself it would be ridiculous to releas HOTS around the same date as Diablo. Point for companies, no matter which, is making money. And the best way to make money in this case is to release a game, sell it as much as possible, and when the sales start to go down, you release the next one. For a working adult buying 2 games and going pro on both is hard cos of family, work etc… and for kid players and their mommas gonna say “I aint buying u two games, just one”. So the more they space out the games, the more they sell and more money they make. This is not up to programers and designers, but up to marketing dept. So its smokescreen to ask a designer, should ask the marketeers. My prediction is they will release HotS after the diablo III sales start to diminish. Probably late 2012. I hope im wrong and we see Hots on 2q 2012.

starcraft2 is not perfect

On September 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Really stupid those who say that the time line is good , that perfection needs time… becasue STARCRAFT 2 is NOT perfect and have a lot of deficiencies, the proof is that they have to patch the damn game always!!! Changing a lot of things, and this even makes the gamers to remake their strategies.

Avery

On September 4, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Iv played wol 8 times now and it never gets boring. I just want them to make it as good or better. I’d rather perfection then 80% good game anyday. Those companies just want money and could care less about the game. Keep it up blizzard.

Mike (Cerebrate)

On September 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

This is Cerebrate again commeting on what starcraft2 is not perfect said.

Some people dont mind the updates and that you have to change your strategies. It makes the game a little more alive. Games need to grow.
If you dont let a game grow or change up a bit your done with it in
about 1 week – 3 months half the time. I played Starcraft 1 and
Starcraft 1 broodwar from the time it came out and the time Starcraft 2
wings of liberty came out. Change is good for games. For example on
Starcraft 2 i made a map and every month i change up the terrain and
possiby add a new unit or a new upgrade.

ancientbilbo

On September 9, 2011 at 6:50 pm

You sound like an alright guy cerebrate.

jd

On September 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I seriously agree with release date delay of this game. We were supposed to be getting the expansions 6 months to a year apart from the original Starcraft 2. What in the shiz is taking them so long to release a game expansion? The base game is already there!!! It’s not like your designing a whole new game from nothing. Come on 2-3 years from a base game to an expansion? What? Seriously? It is bogus bull crap is what it is! Started playing starcraft when I was 15, played starcraft 2 when I am 30 at this rate I’ll be 45 when the 3rd installment comes out…so stupid, Im not going to live for ever Blizzard

Sad thing is we still don’t have a release date for Diablo 3 yet. My guess is early summer 2012. Which would post HotS around next holiday season…that is unless they release it before Diablo 3

Annoyed

On September 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm

FFS why does this appear in google’s search results? because you put release date in the title etc. Hope google bring out a -1 so everyone whos annoyed with your rubbish content can ban it! GTFO

sooka

On September 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I say dump starcraft and make WarCraft 4.

I think a possibility they are ‘delaying’ release dates is to ensure the SC MMO is under development or going to be a reasonable release wait after the SC2 trilogy is done and over with. Come on and think, after they release the 2nd expo, everyone is going to be right back where they are now complaining about the MMO and how long it is taking it to be released.

Mike (Cerebrate)

On September 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

well Ancientbilbo if you want to talk to me i am ushaly on Starcraft 2 wings of liberty. Acount: Cerebrate Character Code: 100
Resently i have been working on a new map but i am gona stop commenting on these posts.

Avarice

On September 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

To the commenter complaining about the patches, those patches are mostly for balance changes, but when they change balance it’s possible that a mechanical issue pops up so they eventually need to patch that. the patches are for ladder play, which is actually the point to SC2. I remember the 1 supply roach rushes during the beta when zerg was the most overpowered race, they dialed it down, and at this point it’s closer than ever to balanced. (though something still feels wrong about the thor)
HotS is expect to bring new units to competitive play along with the new missions, so they have to make sure that the units being added for the missions which are also meant to be in multiplay are BALANCED in multiplay while remaining effective enough for the missions in story line.
blizzard is one of if not THE wealthiest game developer on the planet. they’re wealthy because they produce quality content, they maintain their games exceptionally well, and they’ve produced the most played mmo rpg and rts games in the world.
and sooka, skrew starcraft mmo, real SC players play RTS mmos are for no-talent, brainless wusses. any starcraft mmo is going to bomb as hard as tabula rasa.
I’m looking forward to heart of the swarm because of the balance changes it will, no doubt, bring. zerg is somewhat underwhelming, terran brings the hurt and protoss is… well… protss.
the storyline i’m sure will be interesting the one time i play it, but i play to own scrubs, i don’t care about the price, i don’t care about where it falls in relation to diablo, i could even do without the story line, i care about how it’s going to change the ladder meta-game. (i would be willing to pay full price just to add a few units to each race)
this game will be fantastic, because blizzard is a great, well-funded company, i wish it would be out sooner, but i’ll be fine with waiting a while.

sooka

On September 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Avarice, yes, MMO imo suck. But I’m afraid they won’t ever do WC4 due to WoW. I have never played, and never will WoW, but I would buy WC4 in a heartbeat if it ever came out.

The fact is they have hinted and mentioned about the SC MMO, numerous times, and the release dates fit the agenda… even more so than Lucas’s 2 year gaps between Episodes 1,2,3, but have to credit Lucas in that he kept to his promised release date spans.

D3AD

On October 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

those of you who are complaining about blizzards slowness should go play some low quality console game like cod and then look back on sc2 and how great blizzard really is

Warr3n

On October 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

that sounds epic, cant wait for the release, but does it have to be around $60? cuz WoL was around $60 too. and this is an expansion. just my opinion, ppl can disagree or agree. i wouldnt mind. but just wanted to state my opinion. oh and im a Protoss player :D

anonymous

On October 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

@Warr3n:

Did you even read the article?

“This should quell the rumors that the Zerg and Protoss expansions for SC2 will be priced a $60.”

Jcee

On October 11, 2011 at 12:27 am

I think it should be as such:
HOTS, as a standalone (meaning you don’t own a copy of sc2, wings of liberty), should be 60$~, or you can get just the campaign(meaning you already own a sc2 game), for 10-15$.

any and all non-campaign stuff (new units and such), should be patched in to wings of liberty, so that everyone can play anything non-campaign related together (someone with just HOTS, WOL, or both)

Same with the pro toss one when it comes out…

also id guess 1-2 years to be a better prediction than 1-5 ;P, and maybe 3-4 for the toss one..

Jake

On October 17, 2011 at 7:20 am

Blizzard always comes out with no glitch polished games, and they are all great… let them take there time

Rhasta

On October 19, 2011 at 7:17 am

1.5 years?heeeell no!It HAS to come up sooner

LW

On October 20, 2011 at 3:48 am

1½ years? That’s utter bull….

Stop ing about, Blizzard, and release the game already…

LW

On October 20, 2011 at 3:55 am

Ohh, and people whining about a 60$ price tag, need to get a ing job and/or ask their boss for a raise…. Ridiculous.

Maybe even cut down on the junk food you constantly stuff down your pie hole, and you would have made up the 60 bucks in no time.

… again… FU Blizzard for being such a slow-boating motherer….

We don’t need your stupid ing games anyway, you no good, $$$$ loving s…

Eve + Dust514 combined, is going to blow your cash addicted minds far far away…..

60$ for ! 60$ is too much for !

Scrambles

On October 20, 2011 at 11:27 am

@LW

So wait a minute, did you just bash people for complaining about a $60 price tag, then complain about a $60 price tag. Really? Also, and this goes to everyone, if you don’t want to wait then don’t wait. Whats the point of complaining and saying that you’re not going to buy the game when it comes out, or they’re taking to long and they suck. Do you really think that they give a about the miniscule number of people that and complain about how long the game is taking, but then buy it anyway as soon as it comes out? The game will be out when it’s ready, then blizzard will apend year updating and patching it so that ,unlike with other games, it will be fun to play for the next 5-10 years. No other company makes games that are as fun to play for that long. So either sit patiently and wait for another great blizzard game, or stop looking for info on HotS and don’t buy the game when it comes out. Either way stop posting stuff and go complain to company that warrants it.

Lev

On October 27, 2011 at 3:18 am

I’ve been playing StarCraft since the late 90′s. This is the kind of series that can satisfy a gamer for 10+ years.

StarCraft has been a blue ribbon game in the competitive gaming world since its initial release and I’ve even had a taste of this aspect myself… But I’ll tell you what, there are few games with such a strong and balanced multiplayer facet that also contain such a rich, exciting and entertaining single player mode as well.

I’m 25 now and I’ve grown up playing this game, my baby son sits on my knee and watches me play 1 handed custom games when he won’t sleep. A good game can tie in with your life in the same way a good song, tv series or movie can.

And I’ll tell you another thing; you don’t get tingles watching end game cinematics when the sequels are spaced 12 months apart. The extended delays give time to produce quality and create much needed anticipation.

If you watched Kerrigan get left behind 12 or whatever years ago and enjoyed the story back then, then you probably found the final cinematic for WOL was not only fantastic but also that the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment was enhanced by the wait.

If I only have to wait 18 months or 2 years for a similar result with the HOTS story then I’ll count myself lucky.

CJ Miozzi

On October 27, 2011 at 9:26 am

@Lev:

Well said, good sir.

Wade

On October 28, 2011 at 4:43 am

Suck my ing hard , Cerebrate..

Progamer

On October 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Shut up you dumb , the guy is right, is not like they’re making the game from scratch, , they shouldn’t take years to release it, they take way too much, but then again, the game is ing awesome and they should make it smoothly, BUT, they have the money and the support, so why not do it? what bull crap..

Arkeon

On November 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I think its awesome that another one is coming out!!!!!!!!!!!! just cant wait for it!!!!!

Deathmachine25

On November 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I do agree a great game takes time the problem is that the ultimate starcraft fans who played years of the first starcraft are getting older and life is catching up with them. I have been a dedicated fan of starcraft since I was very young now I’m in my mid 20s and I dont have as much time in my days to play and I can only imagine it getting worse. I really want to play the next 2 expansions before I have too little time for these things due to a family and all. So even if they could come out with the official release date to at least give ppl an idea and hopefully no more then 2 years. It took 12 years between the release of sc.bw to sc.WoL and I herd roomers about sc.WoL since like 2000 but instead they came out with sc.ghost which was a total faliure and never even ended up in stores around me im pretty sure it was not released in north America (dont quote me on that tho), either way that was a major let down. point being can we at least have a date to look forward too and stop leading everyone on and hopefully within 2 years.

mario

On November 7, 2011 at 1:32 am

WoL allready provides in what i need..:) HotS adds some eyecandy…and some kool new units…but u dont need it to play ;) so i will use my sparemunnies when it releases…lol
im just glad it has most of the WoL game, i was kinda worried i had to learn everything allover again…;)
it’s on top of my list anyways, together with the new arkham assylum..
im a tossplayer, but i would like to juggle some with the (new) zerg as well..
just keep bringing us games blizzard;)

Zelda

On November 10, 2011 at 9:16 am

To those who are ing and whining about the release date, just Shut The Up! The game will be released when its ready. Get a life or play something else. Yes, I understand you are all anxious and excited about the game, but what I don’t understand are those that are cursing Blizzard for making you wait. Is your life that pathetic that you can only focus on this one thing? Get a job, get a girlfriend, just do something with your life! Jesus H. ing Christ. Sometimes, I’m just embarrassed to be part of the human race with morons like you s in the gene pool. God help us all.

kronica

On November 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm

@ Zelda

Well said. Just GTFover it and wait. Its not like this nothing to do in the meantime. Blizzard are awesome!

Cholera

On November 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

Honestly guys wake up. Got all kinds of speculation about siht coming out 2 years from now blah blah. Blizzard will release Diablo 3 early 2012, the beta has already been out for a while. And I have no doubt that HOTS will be released sometime between Sept-Dec 2012 once the novelty of Diablo 3 has started to calm down.

JainaX

On November 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I just can’t wait for more Kerrigan. The new Sarah looks so ing hot and so cool, it’s surely gonna blow my mind. To all that stuff, I say this: Blizzard, take as much as u want. I can’t wait anyway.

It’s just gonna be such a mind! YEEEEEEEEEEE!

dragon

On November 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

You guys are forgetting to factor in the next WOW Expansion, with a patch 4.3 still due to come out you can really push back HotS. So with 4.3 wow being first, Diablo 3 second, MOP possibly 3rd HotS last, lol yeah i’d say possibly 2013. So for the protos version of the story you will prob be married with kids when it comes out kids lol.

Darkrain

On November 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm

thats impossible. i went to gamestop and they said that it is possible to ALREADY PREORDER IT! so it is prob not going to be in 2013.

— DrakRain
2v2 gold
1v1 bronze

SCman

On November 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

The only thing I hope they fix is how overpowered Terran is. Nuff said. -Toss

Dmitry16384

On December 4, 2011 at 10:09 pm

When you try to calculate release date (1.5 years after release of Wings of Liberty) your result will be “27th of January, 2012″.

jacob

On December 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Gamestop takes reserves for games that will come out years later trust me I was a employe for gamestop but wen you reserve it in the computer it says tba

empirerobot

On December 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Hey people i cant wait either but stop ing theres lots of other grate rts games jeez. Im willing to pay any amoutn and twait as long as even 10 yaers but as long as the HoTs expo is great with the new campaign and units. Ur zerg player empirerobot.

DESTROYER

On January 5, 2012 at 6:31 am

ROCK ON SC, YOU’R ING WORTH IT BABY. HAPPY NEW YEAR AND TERRAN!!!!!!

DESTROYER

On January 5, 2012 at 6:35 am

RIGHT UP THEIR TERRAN ASSES, PROTOSS = PRO-TOSS FTW

Augz

On January 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm

This is the most amusing thread i’ve seen in a while. what’s most amusing about the whole lot is how you guys are complaining about $60 and yet here in Australia we have about even money in the exchange rate and we are still paying our full price of $90 on Blizzards store. You don’t want to wait? What a shame… Invent a time machine, sell it, make your measely $60 and then some, and all shall be fine. Until then, deal with reality. Blizzard have ALWAYS made you wait, because they don’t care how much you complain, they care about the game, and they want it to be the best it can be. That’s what makes them so successful with so few titles. Find another games company that has so few titles and is still fine financially, while still operating on a global scale. Yeah… not gunna happen. They make quality over quantity, the sooner you learn to appreciate this and how rare it is, the better.
Good day to you all.

Noobie

On January 16, 2012 at 2:54 am

Honestly… My name says it all.. i only played starcraft for fun and yes ive completed WoL in easy mode XD But it was really a good game.. and after playing WoL I installed starcraft and brood wars and was really addicted. @@ my point is.. you guys played this game since you were kids.. and now that its about to get more awesome you all complain.. for all of those willing to wait for a good game i salute you. for all the whiners.. nothing we could do about them.. lets just pray they dont commit suicide due to depression coz of the late release B) PEACE!

Nico

On January 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Um just on the point of releasing what I really like about blizzard is they never commit to a certain date like some companies (ironically activision is one) and this let’s them take their time and not rush the game out and to make a really amazing game that is well thought out unlike much of the call of duty franchise which is always rushed, and like I said blizzard will never commit to a release date but they will vaguely tell you and then release an amazing game. Enough said.

Nico

On January 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

And no offense to the people who like the sad excuse for a game called call of duty (that was a little harsh it’s ok i just don’t like it)

edrts

On January 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

lol 1 of the first comments they not making a new game lol they pretty much making a new zerg based game the first sc2 was terran the second purely zerg so it pretty much is a entire new campaign atleast

edrts

On January 28, 2012 at 5:27 am

lol 1 more thing they want 2 make it in precision accuracy on how well it well b not like some ty quality like a 20 year old game

Kyle

On February 10, 2012 at 8:35 am

Everyone that has dealt with Blizzard in the past should know that their games are released when they are ready, they learnt from The Burning Crusade for WoW to not give release dates as they often change a lot as did with that expansion. Just be patient and stop asking for release dates, we are all eager to play HoTS but the release date will only be given when it is ready and not before.

dontcare

On February 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm

I stood in line @ midnight for SCII, but I don’t care when HoTS comes out because I certainly won’t buy it when it does. This time line is ridiculous: the units and everything already exist in Wings of Liberty, all Heart of the Swarm does is adds more missions. WTF Blizzard? Give it to a group of 12 yr olds and they’d be done in a month, are you seriously going to sit around on this for a few years? By the time the Protoss campaign comes out the graphics are going to look so dated because the game will be 6 years old already! It’s been nearly 2 years, are you really wasting thousands of hours creating a few missions?

Anonymous

On February 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm

When it comes to Blizzard, they milk their costomers as much as they can with no regret or regard to the well being of their fans. How they still have fans is a mystery. World of Warcraft is basically one thing that has given Blizzard billions and trillions of dollars every month, and still they just sit on their fat asses and “polish” these turds. They expect people to pay for nothing, thank you very much, but I just want to ladder and don’t want any retarded campaigns. Just add and replace some units if that is what you want, and be done with it already. This is just crap. Should be able to buy a “light” version of the game without the campaign, but NO. Why is that? Because they are MILKING US on our MONEY.

tosspro

On March 7, 2012 at 10:59 am

@dontcare

there are new units, its not just more missions. They are also updating MP units too. taking out carriers and mothership, ect. If you’re going to bash them at least know what you are talking about.

Steve

On March 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Sooo… does that mean we can’t use the new units in multiplayer if we don’t have HOTS?

tomcraft

On March 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

I really hope he comes out, but that $ 60 how much is that in euro’s o and my name is starcraft Tomcraft and the code is 181 for if you have answers or questions