Planetary Zerg Alert

Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:12pm EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

http://pdf.reuters.com/htmlnews/8knews.asp?i=43059c3bf0e37541&u=urn:newsml:reuters.com:20130226:nBw256819a

StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm™ global launch party details announced

Day-long launch broadcast to feature "King of the Beta" matches between top pro
gamers, community-created content, & live event coverage
IRVINE, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Tune in or turn out and be absorbed into the hive mind at the global StarCraft®
II: Heart of the Swarm™ launch party! Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today shared
its plans for the official Heart of the Swarm launch events taking place in the
US, France, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Russia, Brazil, and
Mexico starting in the evening of March 11. At each of these events, Blizzard
developers and key retail partners will host gamers from around the world who
want to be among the first to join Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, in her quest
to reunite the zerg Swarm. 

In addition to the nine official launch events, thousands of stores worldwide
will be open at midnight to welcome players and help roll out the next chapter
in the epic saga of StarCraft II. (Check with local retailers for hours and
availability.) 

To kick things off and follow the celebration as it spreads across the planet,
Blizzard will be cohosting a special 21-hour launch broadcast with noted eSports
personality and commentator Sean "Day[9]" Plott, in conjunction with Twitch.tv,
at http://www.StarCraft2.com/SwarmLaunch. Starting at 3:00 a.m. PDT on March 11,
the stream will give viewers around the world the opportunity to watch the
Australia, South Korea, France, and US launch events live. Viewers will also be
treated to additional exclusive content, including community-created videos and
"King of the Beta" tournament matches between top pro gamers, hosted by Day[9],
who`ll be transmitting from a bunker deep inside Blizzard`s Irvine HQ. 

"The StarCraft community has been anticipating Heart of the Swarm for a long
time,"said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "I
believe you will find it was worth the wait. We`re looking forward to
celebrating the release by hosting an awesome global launch party in two weeks
and delivering our best StarCraft content to date." 

In the US, the official launch event will be hosted by Blizzard and retail
partner GameStop at: 

The Great Wheel Court of the Irvine Spectrum Mall
71 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618 

Local festivities will start at 9:00 p.m. PDT on March 11, and will feature
special guest hosts from the StarCraft II and eSports community, including
commentators Day[9] and Mike "Husky" Lamond. Live eSports show matches will be
played by top pro gamers from the US and South Korea, and demonstrations will
introduce the crowd to some of the powerful new features included in StarCraft
II: Heart of the Swarm. A series of epic prize giveaways will round out the
celebration, and when the clock strikes midnight, gamers will be able to pick up
their copies of the expansion as well as have them autographed by members of the
StarCraft II development team. 

Attendees at the official StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm launch events will
have the opportunity to purchase† the standard edition of the game (suggested
retail price $39.99) as well as the retail-exclusive Collector`s Edition
(suggested retail price $79.99), which contains the following bonus items in
addition to the game disc:

* Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray: Immerse yourself in the StarCraft universe
with developer commentary, interviews with voice actors, and an in-depth
historical retrospective on StarCraft`s eSports legacy narrated by key members
of the community. 
* Collector`s Edition Soundtrack CD: Enhance your Heart of the Swarm musical
experience with this collection of 11 tracks from the game. 
* Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book: This 144-page tome features
never-before-seen art from the expansion, including early concept sketches and
meticulous 3D renderings. 
* Zerg Rush Mousepad: This Collector`s Edition mousepad depicts the Terran
Dominion holding out desperately under the onslaught of the Swarm. 
* StarCraft II Torrasque: Crush the enemies of the Swarm with the indomitable
Torrasque, a fearsome new look for your zerg Ultralisks. 
* StarCraft II Portraits and Decals: New Swarm-infested portraits and decals
help you customize the look of your online profile and in-game army. 
* World of Warcraft® In-Game Pet: The Baneling companion pet is bursting with
enthusiasm and ready to explode onto the Pet Battles scene. 
* Diablo® III Blade Wings and Banner Sigil: Grow zerg-like wings in honor of the
Queen of Blades, and unfurl an exclusive banner sigil to mark your allegiance to
the Swarm in Sanctuary.

Heart of the Swarm picks up the story of StarCraft II where Wings of
Liberty®left off, focusing on Kerrigan's quest to reunite the Swarm and exact
revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. Over the course of 20 campaign missions, players
will follow Kerrigan as she sweeps across the galaxy, incorporating a variety of
distinctive zerg species into her brood. Kerrigan will grow in strength from
mission to mission, and players will be able to customize her with powerful new
abilities, as well as evolve various zerg strains into fearsome new subspecies
to suit their play style. 

New weapons of war also debut in Heart of the Swarm's multiplayer, including new
units such as Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while
certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new
capabilities. New features will enhance the game experience, including group and
clan systems; unranked matchmaking; Global Play, enabling players to battle
others in different regions around the world; additional stat tracking; user
interface improvements; an enhanced physics system, for more visceral looking
battles; multiplayer replays, to watch replays with friends; a leveling system
that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customization options
for their online profiles; and much more. 

Learn more about StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at http://www.StarCraft2.com,
and for further details on the global launch events and the 21-hour broadcast,
visit http://www.StarCraft2.com/SwarmLaunch. With multiple games in development,
Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently open-visit
http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply. 

For press inquiries, please contact Rob Hilburger in Blizzard Entertainment
public relations at rhilburger@blizzard.com or (949) 242-8404. 

† Limited to supplies on hand. 

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®,
StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
(www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a
premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating
some of the industry`s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment`s
track record includes fifteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year
awards. The company`s online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest
in the world, with millions of active players. 

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press
release that involves Blizzard Entertainment`s expectations, plans, intentions
or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the expected
release date of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, are forward-looking statements
that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that
could cause Blizzard Entertainment`s actual future results to differ materially
from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release
include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk
factors sections of Activision Blizzard`s most recent annual report on Form 10-K
and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking
statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard
Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and
neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to
update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed
to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are
not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision
Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of
which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially
from current expectations.

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Rob Hilburger, 949-242-8404
rhilburger@blizzard.com

Copyright Business Wire 2013

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