Complete BlizzCon 2010 StarCraft II Lore Panel Transcription:
Chris Metzen: Hello.
Brian Kindregen: Hello BlizzCon.
Chris: What would you guys like to talk about?
-- 00.20 -- Q. [Man #1]: Hey Chris, one of the last things Raynor said to Tychus was "Tychus if we can save her, I'm going to take her away from this place." Can you elaborate?
Brian: We can’t say too much about HotS I don't think, but it looks like Chris was about to say something and I cut him off.
Chris: No, I was going to remark that “Oh, Wow! We're at the StarCraft Panel”. Brain’s catching up a little bit. Tychus...oh..
Brian: I can say, I mean, Jim has spent a lot of time thinking about you know, “what ifs” and all the possibilities for him that were out there for him and Sarah with the sort of bond that they had from back in the day. It’s certainly true that he spent a lot of time thinking about, you know, "what if I could get her back somehow?", "What if I could save her?". So, he won't be entirely making things up as he goes along.
Chris: Can you rephrase the question?
[Man #1]: It’s a tricky question because I want to handle it delicately.
Chris: So do I.
[Man #1]: You surprised the hell out of us with how things ended in the first chapter. We all thought we knew how it was going to end. That things were not going to work out the way they did. But you surprised the hell out of us.
Chris: Did you like it?
[Man #1]: I loved it!
[Man #1]: I was like...it was amazing. I was like, there's no way, we all know this isn't going to work, we all know it's going to end on a really dark note and Jim just going to be all crushed. But you guys were like "yeah? no, that's not how it's going to happen, and you surprised the hell out of us. So I think we all thought how this was going to go down a certain path, Heart of the Swarm, Kerrigan being a bitch, evil, horrible person. Third chapter, Protoss, Zeratul coming in to saving the day. But you turned everything on its head with how things ended with the first chapter. So, I think, we're all kind of wondering how Kerrigan's really going to play this out now that she's no longer the Queen of Blades?
Chris: Right. Well that’s kind of THE question, right, obviously, we can’t get too into it or into very specific answers because that's exactly what we're building right now, and we don’t want to spoil the whole story. But it's interesting, like the last number of - I'll riff a little bit - BlizzCons, right, we've been up here and we haven't been able to say anything, right, because the game wasn't out yet. So it's really weird, it's kind of hitting me because at this Blizzcon we can actually talk about StarCraft. Although we don’t want to give a whole lot away relative to HotS at all. I think we can talk thematically about this girl about this guy for sure. So the whole crux of this thing, is what will this girl do now. She has only ever been manipulated by, whether it was the Dominion and then Mengsk and then, you know this Overmind, right. Has she really ever made her own decisions? Has she ever really known who she is and chosen who she wants to be? So essentially HotS is, aptly named, it is exactly about that. What will this girl do? Do these two lonely wonderful people have a chance in hell?
Brian: You are who you choose to be.
Chris: You are who you choose to be man. But that cuts right to it, so again there's not too much we can say to reveal what's going on in Heart of the Swarm. Aw hell, I forget what the question was.
Brian: Other than to say, I hope we keep surprising you that much. [laughs]
Chris: Hell yea
[Man #1]: That was pretty huge. If you can keep surprising us like that, you guys are just on the top of your game. Thank you guys!
Chris: Thanks man.
Brian: Thank you.
-- 04:38 -- Q. [Woman #1]: Hi my name is Irine and I was just wondering if we can look forward to seeing more of Valerian Mengsk in the Heart of the Swarm?
Brian: [laughs] Hmm. I'm sensing a trend here. Everybody wants to talk about Heart of the Swarm. I think it's safe to say that Valerian is a very important part of the Koprulu Sector and everything that's going on there. So yeah...I don’t think he is going to disappear.
Chris: Right, right. Valerian definitely has a role to play, in how things shake out.
[Woman #1]: Awesome
Chris: So yes.
[Woman #1]: Awesome! Thank you so much.
-- 05:22 -- Q. [Man #2]: Hello my question is about the Dark Templar, specifically their unit. It is described in the game as using warp blade technology. How would you describe that and in what way does it compare to a Zealot’s psionic blades?
Brian: That’s a good one.
Chris: Off the top of my head, Psi Blades come from within and Warp Blades are pulled from without.
Chris: Power of the cosmos baby!
Brian: Yeah, I mean, basically, any protoss that is a part of the Khala is going to have an enourmous psionic energy to draw on and can create, you know, obviously, wepons and blades with it. The dark templar, you know, in all of the lore, they, because they chose to go their own way and they don’t have the power of the Khala behind them, but they have the power of enormously strong individual will. It's sort of, I’m giving a long-winded version of the answer, I think, that Chris just gave. One is pulling that power from within whereas the dark templar have to take what is around them, the void, and manifest it. It is a completely different philosophy, but both are really cool weapons.
[Man #2]: Thank you very much!
-- 06:59 -- Q. [Man #3]: Alright, my name is Steven. First of I would like to say hello to Josh and Mandy, who are watching as well from home and this question is from them as well as myself. Simply put Wings of Liberty, great campaign, loved it, just loved it, especially the ending. There are a few missions such as the Colonists Mission, I believe the final Colonist Mission, and then also the one with New Folsom where you have to make a choice and what you choose to do, which direction you want to take. What I would like to know is though, are you guys ever going, kind of, let us know, which decision you think or is going to be the canon direction or is it strictly going to be left up to the players' interpretation based on what they chose. I only ask this just because, you know, the things we encountered on those missions obviously will have pretty big implications later on.
Brian: Sure, yea I can say that we do say that the A choice that you made, was the canon decision. So, in terms of the SC canon, Raynor sided with Tosh and Raynor helped the colonists against Selendis. That said, I really would like to not have any player feel like their choice has been invalidated. In general, except for when the implications become overpowering, I think I'm going to try to stay away from going back and examining that stuff except when we really need to, so that you can play the game and really feel like your choices are being carried forward, and we do have the technology to check your save-game by the way.
[Man #3]: Thanks alot, I appreciate it.
-- 09:06 -- Q. [Man #4]: Hi, first I got a really really simple yes or no question. The official sort of Insurrection/Retribution campaigns from the original StarCraft, are those canon or not? And then more importantly, what is going on with Samir Duran? Because we didn’t see him at all in WoL, although we did see the fruits of his labors.
Chris: So to the first point, I don’t know! My instinct tells me that they should not be canon, but I'd have to look at them again because there's probably good DNA there that might be useful. So relative to Duran...
Brian: He is not forgotten. We can certainly say that. Duran is part of a larger story that is still unfolding. You know, there’s hints of it in WoL, there's more hints of it than you might think in the sense that, at a later date, when you have more knowledge, you might go back and play WoL again and see some stuff. So it's certainly not a character that fell by the wayside. He has a part to play in the greater story of the StarCraft universe.
[Man #4]: Thank you
Brian: Thank you
-- 10:49 -- Q. [Man #5]: Yes also at the HotS, I'm just wondering if you could give us a chronological ordering of if it takes after WoL, and if so, how long after?
Brian: I don’t know that we should do that. You want to do that don't you?
Chris: I want to do it all!
Chris: Alright if you don’t want to do it, I'll side with you.
Crowd: [Do it Chris]
Chris: I think you can answer half of it....but not be specific about.
Crowd: [Don’t care about the lawers]
Brian: Oh, it's not the lawers, they don’t care. It’s just that.
Chris: We're protecting your experience of the product.
Brian: Exactly, just picture yourself when Heart of the Swarm comes out. Sitting in front of your computer playing it, do you really want to feel like “Oh, I knew that was going to happen!”, “I saw that on youtube”.
Chris: OR, do you want to be "Oh my god!" You know, so, we want to protect that.
Brian: While it's installing you should be saying, “What is the timeline!?” So ok, Chris has prevailed upon me, against my better instincts, to say that Heart of the Swarm takes place after WoL. On an unspecified amount of time between the two.
Chris: Right, Less than 100 years.
Brian: But greater than one hour.
-- 12:23 -- Q. [Man #6]: First off gentlemen, thank you for creating one of the greatest gaming experiences of all time!
[Man #6]: And thank you for being in control of your creative liberty. The question I have is, the Xel’naga. Will we ever get to see them, either in a flashback or some way that we can see, why they had planned, or what went wrong, either regarding the Dark Voice, or with the corruption that he did. Will we see them physically, in the game?
Chris: It's a tough question to answer, because it's a complicated answer. Let’s say this: all things will be revealed, for certain. But whether we...it's a weird question.
Brian: I think we can also say that the Xel’Naga are an integral part of the whole thing.
Chris: So now whether we see them in their most classical form, you know, what did they look like a million years ago, what did they look like 4 million years ago. That's harder to say because we are still digging a lot of that stuff out. What do you perceive, when we really start to throttle up on that thematic? It's still kind of inflexed, so I'm not sure how to answer it, but they certainly, at a thematic and practical level, they dominate what is the truest story of StarCraft.
Brian: And they're not going to look like gnomes.
[Men #6]: Thank you very much gentleman.
Brian: Thank you.
-- 14:12 -- Q. [Men #7]: Hey Chris I have a question about the UED. Are we ever going to get the backstory of Earth and how the psionic purges turned out, and will we ever see any sign of the UED ever again in the next games?
Chris: Off the top of my head, I think it is potentially very fertile soil, relative to what StarCraft II is. I can probably spare you all the suspense. We won't be going to Earth in SC2, but I think there's any number of bitchin stories we could, you know, conjure relative to the era or relative to those eras. It’s not quite on our radar right now, but I think that's really interesting stuff.
[Men #7]: Thank you very much. Get those creative juices flowing!
-- 15:07 -- Q. [Woman #2]: My question is actually a plot clarification that’s nagged at myself and some forumgoers. In StarCraft II, we see Tychus and Raynor take control of the Odin and basically do as they will with it right under Mengsk’s nose. And then later, there’s the revelation concerning Tychus’ connection with Mengsk, so how did this all go down without Mengsk finding out about it and putting a stop to it?
Brian: That is a good one.
Chris: That is a very good question, Brian?
Brian: Hey Chris. Yea, I mean in my mind while druging Media Blitz, the mission where tychus is does that. I don’t know that Mengsk always had a direct feed open, because really Tychus is wandering around the Hyperion, and if his suit is constantly broadcasting every conversation that he has or even type beaming every conversation he has. There’s a pretty good chance that Swan or someone else is going to pick up on it. So, you know, in this game we had to sort of give you bits and pieces of the story the most relevant ones. And everything else should make sence, but sometimes we do need the player to kind of work with us on that. My thinking on Tychus’ suit and how much information Mengsk gets from it, Was that periodically info drops, periodically there would be a very short, compact, encrypted tight beam transmission for an eighth of a second that would go out to a specific satellite or whatever. So, It’s not that Mengsk had a constant knowledge of everything that Raynor’s Raiders was up to. What Mengsk had was a gun to Tychus’ head. And so, he would get regular reports, but the idea was that when the key moment came, when Tychus was able to do, you know, what he had to do. I don’t know why I’m speaking in code like I’m going to spoil the end of a game that you probably all played. But you know when the moment came where Tychus would have to attack Sarah, you know, Mengsk fully expected Tychus to turn on the broadcast “like now we are going to have direct communication”. And again what Mengsk was looking at is a very simple proposition, , that, “I’ve got a guy who I can kill at a flip of a switch, and he knows what he has to do, and he’s a pretty experienced combat guy. Like, I can trust that he’s going to do this or he’s going to die, and he knows that that I have no trouble killing him.” Because Mengsk is a chess player. He’s a guy who understands that you play the man, not the hand. Right like he understands the motivations involved. So I think he felt it was a pretty safe bet that Tychus would do the right thing at the right time. And of course…
Chris: The wrong thing.
Brian: Well the right thing by Mengsk’s standard.
[Woman #2]: Thank you.
Brian: Thank you.
-- 18:39 -- Q. [Man #8]: First off, I’d just like to say, not only was the gameplay of StarCraft II phenomenal, but the cinematic presentation, just out of this world. Chris, I’m a huge fan. I love how you’ve really been the mastermind behind many of these stories, and I’d love to go deeper. So my question is, what’s coming down the pipe as far as StarCraft II-related novels?
Chris: Good question and thank you for the props. StarCraft II related Novels…
Brian: Did you like Heaven’s Devils?
Crowd: [Yea! Great! Great Book.]
Chris: Well, there’s more to that.
Brian: That story will continue.
Chris: So, we’re doing a follow-up it’s already written. We did a follow-up to Heaven’s Devils, it is called Devil’s Due. It is written by a girl you may know, named Christie Golden, who actually wrote the hell out of this thing, it’s like a cowboy book. So, where Heaven’s Devils was kind of Jim and Tychus in the army, this is the sequel where it’s kind of like Butch and Sundance, they’re just two outlaws on the run. You know, robbing trains, kicking butt, it’s kind of, you know, their kind of rascaly years and Christie wrote the hell out of this thing. So I’m very excited for you guys to get to see a little more about Jim and Tychus’ shenanigans over the years. And it definitely gives a little bit more insight into who Jim is and what his arc has been, and what we see him trying to atone for in the present-day. The sins of his past.
[Man #8]: Thanks a lot guys.
-- 20:37 -- Q. [Man #9]: Hi. I was just wondering what Mengsk’s actual plan for Tychus was, given Raynor had to go through just to get to Kerrigan.
Chris: I think it pays, Mengsk had been fighting Raynor for years, to a standstill. Different battles, hit-and-run tactics, and he could not make this rebel go away. So he used things like the media to try and paint Jim as a has-been and things like that. But essentially with the Kerrigna threat, you know, well technically… Hold on, let me compute. I think you stumbled upon a giant plot hole... Let’s talk this through, the family; if Mengsk let Tychus out of prison before the Zerg invasion began…
Brian: Indead, Why did he do that? Well I know my version of the events. [laughs]
Chris: Pull this off, I’m very depressed.
Brian: Well, to me again, Mengsk is a chess player. He is a mastermind, but not, I want to make clear, you know, sometimes people say “Oh, this guy’s a mastermind, so yea he saw all the moves coming, he saw everything, all of it.” And we’re not saying that. He can’t see the future, and he’s not the source of all plots in the StarCraft universe, just a lot of them. But as Chris mentioned, Jim Raynor was the biggest thorn in his side. Like he you know, per the press conference at the beginning of Wings of Liberty, he thinks that Jim Raynor is the worst thing that could happen. But he’s smart enough to know he can’t just assassinate the man, that would just turn him into a martyr. So, he needs to “destroy” Jim. And it seems to me, that as soon as he realized he had this guy in jail, he had Tychus Findlay, that’s a perfect opportunity to put him in the suit, which is the gun to his head, and then unleash him on Jim and see what happens. You know what I mean? If the Zerg hadn’t shown up again, if Kerrigan hadn’t rolled on out of Char, you know, there’s a good chance that within six months, Mengsk would have found an opportunity to use Tychus to destroy Jim in some other way. It was a fishing line. It was, “I’m going to throw this hook out there.” There’s only one fish in the pond, and then, all of a sudden, there’s another fish in the pond and it’s like, “Wow, this is great!” It was a very good thing for Mengsk.
-- 23:33 -- Q. [Man #9]: Thank you and is Tychus actually dead?
Chris: Well I guess I’ll say, if I had my way and I know this would be unpopular, I would say, “Totally.” However, the artists on the dev teams they refuse to believe that Tychus is dead. They envision him with tentacles coming out of his face and things like that, so we’ll see who wins that war when we get back home, but you never know. You never know with us.
Brian: Does anybody ever really die?
Chris: Right. I mean, “Right”.
-- 24:10 -- Q. [Man #10]: Hi. My question is, you know, it’s wonderful for Jim and Sarah that these ancient artifacts magically bring her back to humanity, but is it all just fulfilling the prophecy? That somebody makes these ancient artifacts a million years ago, so that in case a girl gets turned from Terran to Zerg and infested? And you know, “Just in case that happens, we’ll leave these artifacts lying around, and somebody can put them all together and assemble them and restore her!” That sounds a little deus ex machina.
Brian: That sounds remarkably convenient, doesn’t it? I wonder if it’s occurred to you that the transformation might be a bi-product of something else, a side-effect, of something else the artifact is doing?
[Man #10]: Sure, I look forward to finding out on what that is at the moment it just seems really convenient for Jim.
Chris: We look forward on showing you.
Brian: I promise you that there is actually a meaning to this.
Chris: A little more going on than is obvious.
Brian: And when future expansions are out, come to BlizzCon, and if I’m lying to you right now, call me on it. Assuming I’m not dead.
-- 25:23 -- Q. [Man #11] Hey guys, two questions related to the Dominion leadership. Obviously in the sort bonus mission during the campaign we find out that the Dominion has been experimenting; experiments that have resulted in the creation of a Hybrid, which is a prevalent theme during the Protoss side missions. One is, what can you tell us about, did the Dominion know what they were doing with the splicing of the DNA or whatever, and did they know that their experiments would result in the creation of the Hybrids? And also, we see after Media Blitz that there’s rioting going on in Korhal, there’s all kinds of revolts going on in the core worlds. What is the state of the Dominion leadership? What’s kind of going on over there?
Chris: you want each to take one?
Chris: Which one?
Brian: I’ll take the second one.
Chris: Damn, the easy one.
Brian: Oh, alright I’ll take the first.
Chris: No, I’m taking the first one. Your calling. Hell what was the first one, Hybrids yes.
Brian: You know what? I can actually answer the first one very simply. You asked, “Did they know what they were doing? What they were getting into? Or was this like a happy accident?” I will say that “somebody” knew what they were doing. Someone involved with the Dominion knew exactly what they were doing. It was not a happy accident in a lab somewhere. Whether all of the Dominion folk involved in the program necessarily know, that would be a bigger question.
Chris: Right. The second part was the state of the Dominion government. So, Mengsk is still in charge, but things have gone pretty south on him. Likely the riots and civil unrest will continue, and whole worlds may attempt to cede from the Dominion. While he’s still in charge, things have definitely changed. I think he’s going to be in a far more desperate state to hold things together because now he’s just totally been found out. And people are not altogether pleased at what kind of man that he is.
[Man #11]: Guys we’ve waited over 35,000 days for StarCraft 2 and I just wanted to tell you the experience I’m willing to wait another 35,000 days for the next game so take your time and do your thing.
Chris: Thank you
Brian: Thank you
-- 28:05 -- Q. [Man #12]: Hey. That news guy, what’s his name? Donny Vermillion, in the campaign?
Chris: Stay Classy BlizzCon.
[Man #12]: I was wondering, you know, in Heart of the Swarm, can I have the guy shot?
Brian: Yeah that’s… Wow, you really didn’t like Donny, huh?
[Man #12]: Most annoying man ever.
Brian: [laughs] We’ll see what we can do. We’ll definitely try to get him shot if we can.
[Man #12]: Thank you very much.
Brian: What about Kate Lockwell, [crowd cheers] how did you guys feel about her? [crowd cheers]
Chris: Wow, some Kate love. You guys want to know something really funny? This is like, the weird trivia stuff that we don’t even know is trivia yet. But, no joke, based on that question, the art guys had designed Donny as a cyborg. And we totally had a scene during all this Korhal stuff where he gets shot and he’s a robot. He’s revealed to be a robot. So, you know, production time, we just decided to kind of cut it. But in fact, if you open the toolset, and you poke around and find Donny’s model, you will find a robot, injured, shot Donny.
-- 29:26 -- Q. [Man #13]: Near the end of Brood War, Raynor vowed to kill Kerrigan after she was involved in the death of one of his best friends Fenix. How do you reconcile that with the fact that in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Raynor seems fixated on instead of saving Kerrigan even at a great risk to all of his friends and crewmembers and seems to have forgotten who Fenix is.
Chris: Oh, I don't think that he’s forgotten who Fenix is at all. And I guess the pithy response would be, it ain't over yet. I don't mean anything by that but, I think the context of her changed radically. The events of Brood War and components of the first game, he’s under the conclusion that there's nothing in the universe that will save this girl, she is simply the Queen of Blades, it's done. And she just proves to be more and more evil over time. And the significant thing that occurs in Wings of Liberty you know Valerian tells him "hey, there might be a chance to change her back" It’s a game changer for him. He never allowed himself hope, he never considered it could be a possibility. It changed his whole sense of thinking. Now, there's still things that'll play out. I am not suggesting he's going to kill Kerrigan. I guess I am not suggesting he won't either. [Brian laughs] I mean, even if they get together relationships are rough, right? Any normal Wednesday night at home she burns the steak...
Brian: There is no excuse for domestic abuse.
Chris: [pause] I know
Brian: And I would add to that, I think the key thing about that moment where Raynor turns left instead of right, is, that you know there was a big question that I think that a lot of people in the Koprulu Sector would have had, which is "so the Queen of Blades, is she like a completely different person? Or is that just a really pissed off Sarah Kerrigan with a lot of power and tentacles" you know? And I think that Jim had such a connection with Sarah that he just could not believe, he could certainly hate and want to kill the Queen of Blades. But, when he was confronted with the question of whether or not that was really Sarah Kerrigan or if the real Sarah was in there somewhere and could be brought back. There was no way he couldn't take that chance. And try to bring her back.
[Man #13]: Thank you
-- 32:12 -- Q.[Man #14]: Hi, you guys got a great game here. I was particularly impressed with the character development and surprised by Tassadar's semi-resurrection as a ghost. My question is, is he going to be a one time deal or is he going to be a ghost dad and stick around a little bit more?
Brian: That's a really good question.
Chris: Let's handle this delicately. [laughs] Well, we can't remotely begin to speak about things about the Protoss campaign down the line. Let me just say that there's probably some kind of metaphysical tie between the ancient Protoss hero Adun and then through Tassadar that will kind of continue to play out is one of our, like, really flavorful potential plotlines. But, we haven't really made any total calls on it yet in terms of what will actually go into the Protoss campaign. But, theres a lot of rich potential with Tassadar and the nature of him and the nature of the Khala and what he really represents to the Protoss people. But, it would be premature to get into it all at this phase.
[Man #14]: I like your response.
Chris: Right on
-- 33:39 -- Q. [SC:L LordofAscension] My question is: at the end of Brood War we see Kerrigan basically obliterate the UED, the Dominion and most likely the Protoss. So how do we kind of reconcile that with just Raynor in the Hyperion kind of steamrolling her at every meeting. Especially, with her on the battlefield.
Brian: Well I think that the instances where you see her in Wings of Liberty, one of the things that we are trying to imply in that story is that she has forces out looking for all of the parts of the artifact too. And she doesn't necessarily have all of the same knowledge that Raynor has through the Moebius Foundation. So, you know the idea is that her swarm is certainly overpoweringly strong, but it's also spread when they come boiling off Char they go you know 360 degrees. They go everywhere. They're sort of carpet bomb searching, if you will, just looking everywhere. Whereas Raynor is targeted and focused. So, even when Kerrigan is on the map Raynor is never facing the entire swarm. Because yes, if he did that battle would be over in about 5 seconds. So, he's really fighting like smaller task forces that she's made. And so, even, you know, when she does appear on the map though, she's scary as all heck. First time I played that mission you know and I saw her on a map, I was actually terrified. So, I mean I hope that we didn't treat her too lightly. I don't think that we did.
-- 35:35 -- Q. [Man # 16] Hi, so the Starcraft manga have introduced a lot of esoteric creatures into the lore, and I am wondering how they factor into the future of the series. Specifically, the Phoenix Energy Beast and Gestalt Zero.
Chris: We are kind of still discussing how all of those ideas play out. It would be premature to comment, we are still kind of working on those.
Brian: Yea, I think that it's safe to say that the Protoss the Terran and the Zerg are the marquee races of the StarCraft universe. They feature prominently and importantly in all of the mainline stories that we are telling. But, that doesn't mean they are the only life forms. They're, you know, space is a very crowded place. And these StarCraft spaces so there's certainly other things going on out there.
-- 36:44 -- Q. [Woman #3]: Hi! I am a fan of the old StarCraft, as well as the new one. But, I was so impressed that you put the extra story into it. I mean, considering it’s an RTS game that just blew my socks off. And, what I really enjoyed the best was the character development, I actually played through it twice to fully understand the characters and it was just awesome! So my question is when's that next book coming out that you were talking about? [laughs]
Chris: It's funny, you know we probably weren't supposed to have rolled that out. But, we gotta give you guys something... come on. But I don't exactly know when the publishing date is supposed to be but, I am going to find out.
[Woman #3]: And my other question is, who if there is any major group of people, who designed Tychus Findlay's character?
Chris: I can handle that. Particularly Tychus came about, if I am remembering right, our cinematic director Nick Carpenter and our writer Andy Chambers were sitting and jamming on ideas for just kind of cinematic hooks. So, we love the idea of having just Jim just kind of in the war years right? Just having little kind of short film type animatics. And it seemed necessary to have someone to have him to kind of rip with. Some old war buddy and so Nick had kinda come up with the look for this big tough old buddy of Jims and I think it was Andy who coined the Tychus Findlay name and then very quickly all these little effects followed. You know his big hard hittin irish brother, spent time in the can, all these little details started to fall out. But really, I gotta tell you, the Tychus character was interesting and structurally necessary but it wasn't until we got into that studio and Neil Kaplan kinda hit the voice out of nowhere, right? And he just starts going, and we went, "holy cow how is that sound coming out of that man?" and immediately Tychus just took over. I mean he was a totally secondary you know afterthought character. But once Neil started saying his lines, he was like by far the funniest character to write. He just like took over us as we were writing the game. Because it was just so, you could just hear it in every line
Brian: So fun to write, I lost 9 years in prison on account of you.
[Woman #3]: Well, thank you very much for putting so much into the story and Tychus is not dead or have tentacles! [laughs] Raynor just winged him a little.
Chris: Yea... well. We will see what we can do.
Brian: Flesh Wound
-- 39:48 -- Q. [Man #17:] Hi, I want to start off saying I love StarCraft II, I love the StarCraft and the WarCraft universes they are my two favorite universes that I've played since I was a kid. And, with that my question involves both games. StarCraft one was a really gritty dark game where bad stuff happened and it happened. That was just how it went. And then WarCraft comes along and it's more fantasy, there's more of like the paragon of good and evil. And then, I was just wondering if you guys are gonna, do you guys notice the really close draw between StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft, where Kerrigan kinda became Thrall. She was this evil thing, evil person and then she just suddenly became possibly a very good character, even if she didn't know it. And then, you have the zerg kinda just got the orc complex where they were bloodthirsty. Then, well maybe they were just corrupted, you don't know. [Brian laughs] You know I am just wondering like, are you going to bring StarCraft back to that universe where its like really gritty and there's actually punishment for being evil instead of just suddenly being good and theres consequences to the really good people without them suddenly becoming really evil.
Chris: No, we're just gonna do exactly what WarCraft did. That's a complicated question, to answer it in truth would give too much away. Keep in mind Heart of the Swarm is about what this girl is about. And by extension, what are the zerg about. Because it runs a lot deeper than what you've seen so far. That being said, and as a direct answer to your question, it’s highly unlikely that we are gonna make a decision to suddenly transform the Zerg into this lawful, good, heroic. The Zerg are the Zerg, no matter what. They are terrifying, they are violent, they are animals. That will not change. That being said, all sorts of things can change. But again, we are currently working on all that stuff and still feeling out the storyline and what we want to do with the Zerg. But the scary component can not be compromised. Relative to the WarCraft thing, I guess sometimes racial concepts there are thresholds right? Did we break Orcs in pop culture, you know, kinda making them a little more noble? Not sure what the threshold is, but the threshold for the Zerg concept is definitely a lot clearer. When are Zerg not Zerg? Well, when they aren't scary, when they aren't animals.
Brian: Yea, I think and I agree, I think it's safe to say on that topic, on the StarCraft part of your question. I have actually been really surprised that people have been jumping to this conclusion that we were saying that the Zerg were you know just misunderstood; and would turn out to be these great noble beings. I can understand that there's some fear in the community that that might be the case. And pretty soon you'll see Zerg you know weaving baskets and carrying flowers around. That's not gonna happen. And the Zerg, as I have said, are absolutely the worst thing that can happen to your day so. Yea, there is a lot of stuff in their back story it's complicated it will all be revealed but have no fear that they will turn out to be misunderstood. And as to the Kerrigan part, I also really think that, I see the parallel that you're kind of talking about, but I don't really think it applies because Thrall was a character who underwent a sort of enlightenment and sort of understood his place in the world better. Kerrigan, well the Queen of Blades, was an evil terrifying creature, Sarah Kerrigan was not. Sarah Kerrigan is scary, she's an assassin, right? But, but I don't see it as one character that's just kind of, you know, becoming nicer.
Chris: And even on that point, you had some really good parts to your question, specifically to the "is justice possible" right? Justice, or what we would presume justice is for her, and a potential redemption, right? Are you neutering a gritty universe, right? In trying to overtly chase a redemption story. It's a really good point and a really good question. How the hell do I answer it without giving away where we are going?
[Man #17]: Trust us [Chris laughs]
Chris: It is a gritty universe, and on a long enough timeline theres so much more going on behind the curtain. It's like Wings of Liberty barely scratches the truth, you know, of kind of what's occuring. So you talk about justice for her. I don't know, it's exactly what we are chasing in terms of the Heart of the Swarm storyline. So, be patient with us, hopefully we will answer all of this directly through the gameplay or through the storyline.
Brian: I think that bad things happen to bad people in StarCraft , but bad things happen to good people too, so...
Chris: Seemingly more often.
Brian: [laughs] Yea.
[Man #17]: That's exactly what I was looking for, things to be just more real and gritty where bad things just corrupt bad people or good people even too. Thanks.
-- 45:59 -- Q. [Man #18]: Hey guys, pleasure to be here. StarWars, Chris you were talking about what makes a geek run for StarWars. Many people say that StarWars is essentially a western in a sci fi universe very much the same way in StarCraft. Consider Tychus Findlay, I can’t help but it every time I see Tychus Findlay at a cutscene or at a dialogue I think of Vin Diesel in Pitch Black, just a greedy anti-hero, same with Jim Raynor. You mentioned earlier about Butch Casity in the Sundance Skid. I understand the creative process you talked about earlier on how Tychus character was made. I’m curious more about the outside influences that were brought, that came in.
Chris: Clearly we just sat down with the Firefly box set and, you know, just took copious notes. The whole western slash southern thematic that went through StarCraft was totally there in the first one, that came long before Firefly. Unfortunately, it kind of bent a little more towards the comical like, “I love you sarge” you know all that stuff. But definitely in the conceptual art we were doing at the time it was something I really wanted to have in the foreground. You know at the time we were a little split on how far it chased that western slash southern theme. All this time around there was no dissention; we just wanted to embrace it fully. If I could put a cowboy hat on Raynor in every scene, I would have done so, right. That’s who that guy is. But you know it’s funny it first started, this might be eight years ago seven years ago can’t tell time anymore, when we first started talking about StarCraft II like, “Guys, we should start seriously thinking about developing this product after all these years”, the first image in my head was this guy sitting at a bar with a bottle of whiskey and a cowboy hat on his head fretting over a girl, you know what I mean, just a neatly western. Now it’s just in its DNA I guess. I don’t know if that answers your question or not.
[Man #18]: No that was perfect. Because I was thinking of firefly as well so hopefully we can get a movie about StarCraft sometime.
Chris: Right. You know I was kidding about watching the firefly box set, right? As a matter of a fact I stayed away from that damn thing because I knew it was going to get us in…
[Man #18]: Let’s just wait for another season I guess.
Chris: Huu? They are still on a second season?
[Man #18]: I said let’s hope for one.
Chris: Yea, that would be epic.
[Man #18]: Thanks.
-- 48:43 -- Q. [Man #19]: Hey guys again great game, fantastic. I wanted to ask about, you mentioned the next book is going to continue to explore the Tychus and the Raynor relationship, but one of my favourite secondary character is Matt Horner. He’s sort of noble, he’s the kind of the heart and soul of, you know, the idealist crusader. And I’m wondering, first of all because I love the secondary character of Mira Han are we ever going to hear about that story? [Brian laughs] And second of all, are we ever going to get some stories about Raynor and Horner adventures that we really didn’t see because Tychus was kind of taking over?
Brian: I would so love to explore the Mira Han and Matt Horner situation.
Chris: How ironic.
Brian: Absolutely Mathew. You know, right now our focus is all on the expansion you know I should say mine because I know you are pretty much involved with everything.
Brian: But I believe that’s a pretty rich vein that we would definitely like to explore.
-- 50:04 -- Q. [SC:L Zero] Hello, In Wings of Liberty you had Raynor go around the Hyperion and he was able to talk to all the other characters. He was able to flesh out his whole universe. I’m assuming you are using the same play style, so in Legacy of the Void you will have Zeratul. He will be talking to all of these Protoss characters, now hence that. But with Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm, who does she talk to? Is there going to be infested terrans, are the queens sentient. What’s going to be there to make her story more interesting?
Brian: That’s an excellent question which I can’t answer, sorry. Do you have any Wings of Liberty questions?
-- 50:50 -- Q. [SC:L Zero] A small one. In choosing to save the Colonists, Raynor is forced to fight against Selendis. How do you explain Raynor’s small van fighting against the fleet of the executor and wiping her?
Chris: Suspension of disbelief.
Brian: He is that good.
[SC:L Zero]: I’ll believe it. Thank you.
-- 51:22 -- Q. [Man #20]: At the end of Wings of Liberty, Kerrigan undergoes yet another transformation. I was wondering, as she goes back to “mostly” human is she going to get her hair back or is she going to keep those wicked dreads.
Chris: That is an unanswerable question at this time. We are going to keep you on the hook, but don’t you think they are hot looking? Kinda? Is that wrong to she looks cute with those alien dreads?
Brian: I say “Hell yea”
[Man #20]: Is that it?
Chris: She should probably keep that haircut for at least a little bit.
[Man #20]: Thank you very much.
-- 52:04 -- Q. [Man #21]: Hi so in Wings of Liberty you introduced the new character of doctor Narud and a lot of people online have noticed that his name is Duran spelled backwards. I just wanted to know, is that intentional?
Chris: Who would do that!?
Brian: That’s crazy.
Chris: That’s crazy talk and its NArUD!
[Man #21]: Is that you are going to give me?
Chris: Oh yea, that’s it.
[Man #21]: Thanks!
-- 52:42 -- Q. [Man #22]: My question is did the Xel’Naga let the Zerg absorb them originally, because in the original plot it says they underestimated them and they bridged their world ship then absorbed them, but in light of the world of StarCraft II, hence where we get a little bit of in feel into the Xel’Naga lifestyle that might be not the case.
Chris: Time for Pool!
Chris: I can’t answer that one right now.
Brian: This is dangerous, dangerous territory. I feel terrible. I feel like a broken record, but I will say, “All will be revealed”. There is a coherent story there. There really is, I swear. But you are seeing the beginnings of it.
[Man #22]: Keep playing [Brian laughs] That answers my question perfectly.
BlizzCon Adjutant: We have time for a few more questions.
-- 53:46 -- Q. [Man #23]: Hello, I’ll first like to thank you for making a fabulous game. My question is, is to the StarCraft novels. How much lead way did you give the authors to expand the StarCraft Universe?
Chris: Particularly, I would say ninety something percent of our novels, we outline almost every story we do these days it has a team and then we kind of... Well sometimes if we have the hook beforehand like, “Hey, lets do a story about Mira Han” you know. We either discuss it we outline it as a group we have a series of fiction developers on our creative development team, that we work with to kind of develop auxiliary fiction. Usually we have a writer in mind for a project in front, we will kind of fly them out to the office and have them sit with us for a day and kind of walk them through the concept so that they can own you know the construction of the thing as well. In terms of authors it’s just kind like going for it and developing vast tracks of the universe. We are usually not real comfortable with that unless it is really ambient, you know and just like kind of a vive thing “That’s gravy, you have a hook, run with it” But when it gets to really specific or important locations or races or like the mythology of all this stuff we are very very particular. And usually kind of plan everything as a group at our shop upfront.
-- 55:25 -- Q. [Man #23]: Have you ever had someone from the office come up with something or a slamming idea that you say, “run with it”?
Chris: All the time.
[Man #23]: Thank you
Chris: Thank you.
-- 55:37 -- Q. [Man #24]: A few years ago when you started writing Wings of Liberty did you guys had an alternate ending to the one that you really ended up with using?
Chris: Many. Well let me think of… Well, it might be a spoiler… Let me think for a minute. I was thinking about something else. Did you guys know that the final flick in StarCraft II it was going to end with Tychus getting shot like in a Godfather way and just be really hard. You know so we kind of sat around and figured out that it would be good to do the old cowboy carries princess up into the sunset kind of thing, but that’s not what you’re asking about. In terms of would the Raynor/Kerrigan thing had gone a very different way? I really don’t think so. I think it was the idea that... You know, to some digree "he saves this girl" was always one of the critical themes that defined the story.
-- 56:48 -- Q. [Man #25]: A person asked earlier on what made Raynor switch from wanting to kill to save Kerrigan. Was that also in the Zeratul missions it’s discovered that she has to live to save everyone?
Brian: You are asking on what is his…
[Man #25]: No, no.
Brian: Are you saying his decision… If he had another motivation?
[Man #25]: Yes
Brian: Yes, absolutely. Now he is aware that she is very important to the future of all life, but I mean, you know, as strange as it seems Jimmy is driven more towards a very deep personal conection with Sarah.
Chris: Oh love
Brian: But life in the universe stopping to exist is also quite good.
BlizzCon Adjutant: Thank you for attending the StarCraft II. Coming up at 6:00 pm main stage we are going to have our costumes and dance contest.
Chris: Thanks guys
-- 57: 52 -- END OF TRANSMISSION