Next week those of us living in the United States and the United Kingdom will finally get our hands on the retail version of StarCraft II. Included in this version will be cigars, blood and the occasional curse word, but folks from other countries won't be getting that same, authentic experience.
German StarCraft fans won't be treated to the same bloody explosions that those of us in the US will be, but rather a squeaky clean version that features no blood whatsoever. All in all, this seems pretty tame for a country that had no problem zerg rushing Poland (too soon?).
Further east, the South Koreans will be getting about the same treatment as Germany. Their version of the game will be devoid of smoking, profanity, and all of the blood will be colored black instead of the typical red you expect to spill out of an exploding hydralisk. Why all the changes? Well, according to a translated Korean e-sports article, the game was resubmitted to Korea's rating board after Blizzard failed to receive anything lower than a 'Mature' rating. The changes were made so that gamers as young as 12 could purchase the RTS phenomenon. Given that StarCraft sold about 4.5 million copies in South Korea alone, censorship seems like a good business decision.
As for everyone's favorite communist superpower – China isn't getting the game in the foreseeable future. While Blizzard has stated that they have plans to release StarCraft II to the Chinese, there's no set date. Given all the difficulty Blizzard has had releasing the Wrath of the Lich King expansion over there, I wouldn't expect it to happen anytime soon.
Most shocking of all is Japan, who won't be getting StarCraft II at all. Blizzard has stated that they've got no plans to release the game in the land of the rising sun, primarily because they just don't have a big PC gaming market. So, should you be a Japanese gamer looking to play one of the greatest RTS games of all time, you'll need to import it. Also, kudos for going out of your way to read our lovely website. Nice, isn't it?