Source: An eagle-eyed GameSpot News reader. (Keep the tips coming, kids!)
The official story: It's no secret that this weekend, Blizzard Entertainment will reveal a new game. Last month, the developer-publisher took a break from counting its massive World of Warcraft revenue to reveal it would be making a major announcement at the forthcoming Blizzard World Wide Invitational (WWI) event in Seoul, South Korea.
Given the massive popularity of Starcraft in Korea, the announcement's venue led many to believe that the unnamed game would be a sequel to the real-time strategy title. Others felt that, given the fact that Blizzard is hiring developers for a next-generation massively multiplayer online project, the new game might actually be an MMOG based on Starcraft, along the lines of a major game site's 2006 prank announcement of World of Starcraft. (Ahem.)
On Monday, the Irvine, California-based developer-publisher began a teaser countdown on its Web site, Blizzard.com, showcasing its biggest games from the past 13 years. A timeline on the bottom of the site begins with the company's 1994 debut Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, and ends with a gigantic question mark, which sources close to Blizzard told GameSpot would be a "massive surprise."
However, said surprise's impact looks set to be diminished somewhat. That's because a countdown identical to the one running on Blizzard.com is also running on Starcraft2.com. The page also bears the imprimatur of Blizzard Entertainment, and is registered to the company, according to a Network Solutions WHOIS search. Though Blizzard has owned Starcraft2.com since 2003, the fact the site is now actively promoting a game--and not merely redirecting to Blizzard.com--is indicative of something in the offing.
What we heard: Blizzard had not returned requests for comment as of press time, which is not entirely surprising, given that much of its PR department is currently badgering flight attendants for cocktails in transit to Korea. However, a search of other potential game titles doesn't turn up any more sites officially registered to Blizzard. Diablo3.com and Worldofstarcraft.com are fan pages, and Starcraftmmo.com and Warcraft4.com are both owned by cybersquatters.
Bogus or not bogus?: Blizzard has been characteristically tight-lipped about its forthcoming announcement, expected Saturday. However, it is looking more and more likely that it will be Starcraft-related.