With the launch later tonight of the long awaited sequel StarCraft II, Blizzard and its parent company Activision Blizzard expect a massive amount of copies to be sold of the sci-fi RTS game. But how did we get from March 1998 to July 2010. We've got a quick timeline to give you an idea of just how long we have been waiting for this game to be released.
Gallery: StarCraft 2 Screenshots
November 30 1998 - Blizzard releases StarCraft: Brood War, the only "official" expansion pack to the game (two other expansions, developed and published by third parties, are approved for sale by Blizzard but are not considered "official" expansion packs)
June 13 2000 - a Nintendo 64 port of StarCraft is released with some new content. However it is greeted with poor critical and sales response
December 2000 - The first StarCraft novel, Uprising, is released. It is to be the first in a long series of prose novels based on the game and its universe
June-July 2004 - Nihilistic Software replaced on StarCraft Ghost development by Swingin' Ape Studios
May 2005 - Blizzard acquires Swingin' Ape Studios.
March 2006 - After years of delays, Blizzard finally announces that StarCraft Ghost's development has been "indefinitely postponed"
August 3 2007 - Blizzard lets attendees of its annual BlizzCon play a multiplayer build of StarCraft II for the first time.
October 10 2008 - At Blizzard' annual BlizzCon event, the developer reveals that the single player campaign will be spread across three games with the first, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, to focus on the Terrans. The second, Heart of the Swarm, will center on the Zerg race and the final game, Legacy of the Void, will feature the Protoss race. Wings of Liberty will still have a full multiplayer experience with all three factions available for play.
May 6 2009 - Blizzard begins allowing people to sign up via Battle.net for the upcoming multiplayer beta test of StarCraft II.
May 31 2009 - During a financial conference call, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said it was targeting StarCraft II for release by the end of 2009 with the beta to begin in the summer of 2009.
June 2009 - In interviews with Blizzard team members after a press event it was revealed that StarCraft II would not support offline LAN multiplayer matches, something the original game did support. Despite protests from the fans of the original game Blizzard has stuck with their plans to make StarCraft II multiplayer matches playable only online via Battle.net.
August 5 2009 - Blizzard backtracks on the release date of StarCraft II, now saying that the game will be released in the first half of 2010. The multiplayer beta is also delayed.
February 17 2010 - After months of delays, Blizzard finally starts the multiplayer beta test of StarCraft II.
May 3 2010 - Blizzard finally confirms a July 27, 2010 release date for StarCraft II. The game will be released over five continents on that day, including the US and South Korea.
June 7 2010 - The first phase of beta testing for StarCraft II ends.
June 11 2010 - Several weeks before its release, the first US TV commercial for StarCraft II is aired.
July 8 2010 - The second and final phase of StarCraft II's beta test begins. It ends on July 19.
July 27 2010 - Blizzard's scheduled release date for StarCraft II. Many retailers are holding midnight launch events this evening to allow people to purchase the game the minute the date shifts to July 27. Analysts are predicting that the game will sell between 5 million and 7 million copies for Activision Blizzard's current fiscal year.