StarCraft II beta rumors have heated up after members of the Blizzard development team were supposedly caught on camera at a "Welcome to StarCraft II Beta" celebration.
There are fewer games that are more heavily anticipated than the upcoming StarCraft II (with very good reason), though the notoriously perfectionist Blizzard has refused to nail down a release date beyond "When it's done. Sometime this year. We hope." Consequently, information-starved fans have seized onto every scrap of false hope that they can get that might indicate the beta is just around the corner ... only to face disappointment every time. And yes, I do consider myself part of that number. It should be "fool me once, Blizzard," but nooooo, I just can't learn.
However, it appears that something legitimate-seeming may have just popped up, as caught by JonEagle of StarCraft2Forum: Internet personality Jace Hall recently posted the teaser for the third season of The Jace Hall Show to YouTube (as seen above), and it would seem that Jace and his crew have once again made the trip to Blizzard's Irvine, CA-based campus (after showing off Wrath of the Lich King and messing with Felicia Day last time).
The Blizzard clips are just a very small part of the overall trailer as a whole, but there's one (extremely short) clip at 2:16 that may be especially telling: Blizzard employees including StarCraft II Project Lead Dustin Browder are toasting each other in celebration. What could they be celebrating, perhaps? Well, the image on the screen says "Welcome to StarCraft II Beta," so that seems like a pretty big clue to me (if real).
This speculation is buoyed by other rumors, such as an alleged Blizzard email to StarCraft fansite TheWarCenter offering site staff the opportunity to be included in the upcoming beta - though the authenticity of this email has yet to be proven. Current rumors and wild speculation peg the beta announcement as coming on Wednesday, February 10th in conjunction with the release of Activision-Blizzard's 2009 results calendar, and a special conference call scheduled to be broadcast over the Internet.
Of course, these are all rumors, and StarCraft II being what it is, it might not be the best idea to just believe everything off the bat. The image taken from the Jace Hall Show trailer seems fairly conclusive (and I stress the word seems, knowing Jace Hall), but there's no real way of knowing when the footage was taken - other than a post from Blizzard Community Manager Bashiok that called the Jace Hall visit "recent". It could refer to a closed internal beta. It could refer to the playtesting that the Korean StarCraft pros have been doing for months. Or, it could refer to the real deal.
I've been burned on this a few too many times by now - hell, I thought it was coming last May - but the game is shaping up to be fantastic, and it this is the genuine article, then it will be O Happy Day of Days.
Let's keep our fingers crossed.