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It's time for a new installment of StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A, featuring Brian Kendrigan, co-lead writer of Wings of Liberty and lead writer of Heart of the Swarm.


Question: Are there still surviving pockets of UED forces? I didn't think so until I played the campaign and got the UED Spartan Company Mercs. They say they are from the UED. So there could be a whole colony of them somewhere, right?

Answer: Yes. There are scattered deserters here and there—smaller units and entire fleets, in some cases. Remember, the Swarm hunted down and killed the fleeing UED fleet, so all UED forces left in Koprulu are those who deserted before that last, disastrous battle.

Question: The Protoss are a “warrior race,” but who have they battled? Let's say Fenix died when he was 600 years old. How many wars could he have fought? I don't think that many. There were the Kalathi, but who else? Seems to me that most of Fenix's years must have been peaceful. With the Dae'Uhl, the Protoss can only battle highly advanced and aggressive spacefaring races. How many of those are out there? Are they wiped out now, or do they still exist?

Answer: The Protoss have had military actions in the past against other races (the Kalathi), as well as against other types of Protoss. But one does not need to be constantly at war to be a great warrior. It has more to do with state of mind and readiness than anything else. The classic example is ancient Sparta. Although the Spartans were known as the strongest warriors of their time, they were isolationist and did not like to go to war. So they trained endlessly for something that they rarely did.

Question: How did Raynor get his hair back? The StarCraft 1 Jim Raynor was bald. I would really like the answer so I can do what he did once my hair falls off. xD

Answer: He stopped shaving it. I hope that strategy works for you when you go bald!

Question: I loved the Wings of Liberty story, but I felt the nonlinear format hurt it. I think a lot of the complaints stem from people simply not having the luck to choose a mission progression that makes sense for the story. Do you regret presenting the StarCraft II story in a nonlinear format?

Answer: Interesting! Telling a nonlinear story is an incredibly tricky endeavor. The more one seeks to tell a structured narrative with escalating tension, the harder it gets.

I think it was an innovative and bold choice for Blizzard to attempt such a big story in a nonlinear fashion, particularly in an RTS. It is simply not a game type that supports that much story, lots of character interactions, and a nonlinear format.

So, did we make mistakes? You bet. Did the story suffer in some ways? Yes. Do I regret it? No. I think we have learned from those mistakes, and our storytelling has grown stronger as a result. In some cases we learned that certain concepts just don't work. In other cases, we had to do something the wrong way in order to learn how to do it the right way. We won't ever be able to grow without stretching past the comfort zone.

Remember, narrative in games is very different than in films or novels. Those are established forms with lots of history to fall back on. Game narrative is the Wild West. It's an exciting time, but a frustrating one as well. We're doing some smart things and advancing by leaps and bounds every year, but in some ways, we're still banging rocks together out here. :D

Question: If the prophecy is millions of years old, how did the Xel'naga not know about the Fallen One's betrayal?

Answer: Whatever went down between the Dark Voice and the Xel'naga had already occurred by the time the prophecy came into being. ;)

Question: In the Dark Templar Saga, Jake Ramsey says he admires his coworkers who are crazy about alien artifacts. So it seems that digging up alien relics is what archeologists do in the Koprulu sector. At the same time, the book leaves the impression that the Protoss are the first alien civilization the Terrans have ever known about, and the long-dead Xel'naga are called a "third" race. If Terrans only started knowing about alien civilizations in 2499, how did Ramsey have a profession before that?

Answer: Very good question! I'd guess that he and his colleagues were digging up the remains of the colony ships and the earliest settlers. But there were also a few Xel'naga items that had been recovered here and there—enough to keep everyone searching for more!


Battle.net - StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A: Part 8

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