After the break, what we saw of Starcraft II's Terran campaign, and Rob Pardo explains the reasoning behind Blizzard's decision to turn Starcraft II into three separate games.
Pardo started off the talk by talking about Blizzard's goals for Starcraft II. With Powerpoint slides flying, he said that Blizzard wants to emphasize player choice in the game (by creating branching storylines and paths for characters to take), and really immerse players in the Starcraft universe. To that end, Starcraft II won't be your normal RTS -- there are ingame cutscenes and what might best be described as "interactive menus" in between the RTS stages. You'll choose what to do next and what paths to take by clicking on interactive 3D environments, like living menus on the screen.
In the environment (an interactive 3D panorama, basically), there are all kinds of things to click on -- a jukebox that plays music (it only turns on and off at this point, but eventually you can imagine that a Warcraft tune will probably be hidden in there), an artboard with various photos and mementos on it that Raynor will tell you about as you click on, a television that will play the latest news from the Starcraft universe (likely whatever mayhem you've caused in your last mission). And of course, there's something to click on to actually start the mission.
Which Pardo didn't do -- instead, he used a cheat code ("skipmission," though of course that won't work in the final game) to move to the next cutscene. He didn't show off RTS gameplay at all -- this demo was all about the stuff in between the RTS stages, and how Starcraft II builds up the story and the characters when you're not real-time strategizing.
And speaking of building up characters, eventually it's discovered that Raynor isn't so down-on-his-luck after all -- he's got a warp class jumpship that can come pick him up when the Zerg rear their ugly head. On the ship, there are three more different environments to explore, each with their own gameplay tweaks: in the ship's cantina, you can meet new characters, and in the ship's armory, you can talk to an engineer and upgrade your technology. And on the ship's bridge, the universe really opens up, and you can see all of the various available missions to run and visit. He showed an early version of the star map -- it looked kind of like the Mass Effect map, where you could choose which missions to run and get a little briefing for each.
Pardo then turned the game off, and it was time to make the announcement: he said that with all of this adventure gameplay and all of these cinematics and missions Starcraft II was just getting too big -- they wanted every race to have its own filled-out story, complete with options and branching paths and full characters. And so, said Pardo, they had three options: cut back and do less, open up and make three games, or delay the game greatly while still compromising. He asked the audience what they would have done, and they cheered when given the option Blizzard chose: there will be three different Starcraft II games, one for each race.