In a press release Blizzard Activision announced:
"Hail to the Queen of Blades! Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today set off a global zerg invasion with the launch of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm™, the next chapter in the epic saga of StarCraft II. Kerrigan has arrived, and with the help of her brood, she aims to take down Arcturus Mengsk once and for all.
Players can now purchase Heart of the Swarm in retail stores throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Russia, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as digitally via the game's official website (www.StarCraft2.com). Release plans for mainland China will be announced at a later date.
"Heart of the Swarm enhances every aspect of StarCraft II," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "In addition to Kerrigan's campaign and the new multiplayer units and maps, we think players will really enjoy the new online elements and new features that make StarCraft II more fun and easier to learn than ever before."
Standard, Collector's, and Digital Deluxe Editions
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is now available at retailers nationwide on DVD-ROM for Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 and Macintosh (suggested retail price $39.99). The expansion can also be purchased directly from Blizzard at www.StarCraft2.com for $39.99. In addition, Blizzard is offering a retail-exclusive Collector's Edition of Heart of the Swarm loaded with digital and physical bonus items, available at select retail stores for a suggested retail price of $79.99.
Players also have the option to purchase a Digital Deluxe version of the expansion, which includes all of the digital items from the Collector's Edition, directly from Blizzard via www.StarCraft2.com for $59.99. Anyone who purchases the standard edition digitally or at retail can upgrade to the Digital Deluxe version at any time (for as long as the standalone Digital Deluxe version remains available) for an additional $20.
The Digital Deluxe version of Heart of the Swarm includes a full digital copy of the expansion along with the following in-game bonus items:
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.
The retail-exclusive Collector's Edition of Heart of the Swarm includes the full version of the game on DVD-ROM and contains the following exclusive bonus items, in addition to the content from the Digital Deluxe version:
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.
Heart of the Swarm Game Features
Heart of the Swarm picks up the story where StarCraft II: 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. In addition, several new features will enhance the game experience, including group and clan systems; training and versus-A.I. modes, to help new players transition from the campaign into multiplayer; 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; "Watch With Others" and "Take Command," to watch replays with friends as well as jump in and assume control at any point; a leveling system that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customization options for their online profiles; and much more.
To celebrate the arrival of Heart of the Swarm and follow the global zerg infestation, Blizzard cohosted a special day-long launch broadcast with noted eSports personality and commentator Sean "Day" Plott, in conjunction with Twitch.tv. Players who missed out on the live broadcast can travel back in time by watching archived video of the event at www.Twitch.tv/StarCraft. "