James Waugh, Director of Story Development on Legacy of the Void, opened the panel and introduced his fellow panelists. He headed straight into the topic of writing the story of Legacy of the Void. He explained the core tenets involved in constructing a Protoss campaign:
- Create a distinctly Protoss story while wrapping up the trilogy story threads
- Create an epic end times screnario for players to stand against
- Fulfill the fantasy of playing Protoss
There are also several key traits about the Protoss that the writing team wanted to capture. They’re an ancient, noble race, they have the Khala, they have high tech, and they are few in number. At Blizzard, Protoss are considered to be similar to space samurai, following strict codes of honor. The Khala is a unifying energy field that encompasses the Protoss, and themes of unification will definitely be a part of Legacy of the Void. Protoss’ high tech will definitely have the spotlight in this expansion, bringing their war machines to the forefront of battle. Because of the Protoss’ small numbers, each Protoss is a rare and precious army of one. Legacy of the Void is about a small band of fighters going against all odds.
The Protoss, during the events of the past two campaigns, have been trying to rebuild on Shakuras. The Templar and the Dark Templar sought unity, but old grudges are rising up to split the two sides. Artanis, the hierarch, is responsible with bringing all the Protoss together. He, along with a Golden Armada, seeks to reclaim the old homeworld of Aiur. This is where Legacy of the Void begins.
Zeratul, however, is lurking in the shadows and will bring another dark prophecy in Legacy of the Void. Amon, the fallen Xel’Naga, returns with plans to set the universe ablaze. The story will focus on how this plan collides with Artanis and his goals. After the epic invasion of the Golden Armada upon the Zerg forces, Amon reveals himself and corrupts the Khala. Hordes of Hybrids are unleashed, chaos ensues, and Artanis, along with a few loyal followers, have to do the unthinkable: they must sever their nerve cords to sever themselves from the Khala and become safe from Amon’s corruption.
In summary, the player will assume the role of Artanis and attempt to unite Protoss factions, turn Protoss society into one that doesn’t use the Khala, and ultimately retake their homeworld. Legacy of the Void will challenge everything the Protoss know about their civilization and defeat an ancient evil. The mic is passed off to Jason Huck, Lead Level Designer of Legacy of the Void.
Blizzard’s goal for Legacy of the Void is not only to bring forth new and entertaining gameplay mechanics, but to fulfill the fantasy of being Protoss. The Protoss, who live by a code of honor and strong sense of justice, will traverse the galaxy to smite Amon’s evil, wherever it appears. After the failed reclamation of Aiur, Artanis makes a choice to go to Korhal. Unfortunately, the Terran are under attack by the Shadow Corp. One of the first missions is called Sky Shield, and takes place on a space platform that’s plummeting to the surface of Korhal. A short video of in-game footage is played. The goal for the Protoss in Sky Shield is to secure the space platform before it crashes into the planet. The player’s goal is to reclaim the stabilizers located over the platform so that Raynor and his forces can repair them.
Legacy of the Void will bring new challenges, ones not seen in Wings of Liberty or Heart of the Swarm. A late mission in the campaign is called Unleashed. This mission is after the Protoss have unlocked the mightiest of their technologies. They are planning an assault on the Shadow Corp’s base of operations. The interesting mechanic of this mission is that you can literally fly your entire base around on a space platform.
The mic is passed off to Allen Dilling, Lead 3D Artist for Legacy of the Void to show some campaign art. First up is Aiur, which looks desolated by the Zerg and has some familiar doodads from StarCraft: Brood War. Buildings are crumbling, creep is everywhere. There are also ancient temple grounds on Aiur, bringing flashbacks to the jungle tileset from Brood War. The orbital platform environment has fire and debris flying everywhere and features the largest Terran-themed doodads ever. Augustgrad is next, and looks severely destroyed. Buildings are toppled over and craters are everywhere. A Dark Templar city on Sharkuras is shown, with green glows on several doodads and very ancient technology being shown. Also on Shakuras is an ancient temple, which captures the same feel as the twilight tileset from Brood War. A location called Slayn is shown, which is the homeworld of the Tal’Darim who worship Amon. There are giant sacrificial pit doodads, and the objective of the mission that takes place on Slayn is to drag the leader of the Tal’Darim into the pit before he does the same to Artanis. The color theme is very dark. Finally, there’s Cybros, a home space station for the Purifiers. The Purifiers are an ancient robotic race made by the Protoss long ago and since forgotten. Artanis discovers them and attempts to recover them. White is the main color for this environment, and everything is very robotic with many moving parts.
Justin Thavirat, Lead 3D Artist for Legacy of the Void takes the mic. He introduces a cutscene of the Spear of Adun and Karax, a new character. It’s an in-game cutscene that shows Artanis and Karax walking the halls of the ship alongside other Protoss. Karax explains the various parts of the ship, such as the warforge where weapons are made. The video ends and cuts to Artanis’ 3D model. It’s very detailed, with silver armor and broad pauldrons. Next is Zeratul’s 3D model. It seems more detailed than before. Vorazun’s 3D model is shown next, and she has a shoulderguard made of Zerg exoskeleton, with sleek purple robes. She gives a definite Dark Templar feel without looking as ragged and tattered as Zeratul. Karax’s 3D model is shorter and stockier, and he has attached cybernetic tentacles to where his nerve cords used to be, giving a very “Doctor Octopus” feel to him. Lastly, there’s Rohana, a female Protoss preserver. As a preserver, she holds the memory and intelligence of the Protoss race through the Khala. Her nerve cords are splayed out and harnessed in a halo-esque mechanism behind her head. There’s also the Spear of Adun. It contains the remaining Protoss civilization aboard, and combines archaic and traditional Protoss visual themes.
One of the rooms that serve as a main hub for the campaign, the War Council, is displayed. It’s very dark, and was designed to look foreboding. Another room is the bridge, where Artanis interacts with various characters such as James Raynor. Some impressive animation for holograms is shown as an example of how a player would choose missions in Legacy of the Void. A scale of the Spear of Adun is shown as a video. The bridge is just a tiny area at the front of the ship.
Matt Morris, Lead Level Designer of Legacy of the Void, is handed the mic to talk about army customization. “An important question we ask is, ‘What is the fantasy?’” The Terran fantasy was building a bigger and stronger army. The Zerg fantasy was about adapting to hostile environments and become a more efficient killing race. The Protoss fantasy is about uniting the Protoss factions. As Artanis leads the various factions, each faction will bring their fiercest warriors. The player can choose one of three different types of Zealots, such as the Aiur Zealot that has a spinning area attack that decimates Marines. The player can also choose one of three different types of Stalkers, and so on and so forth.
The Spear of Adun is another weapon that the player can customize. During missions, you can call orbital strikes from the Spear of Adun, annihilating enemies with devastating weapons. Some examples of these weapons are shown, such as mass stasis which can freeze enemies.
Before the panel ends, Matt Moris reveals a new game mode coming to the game, called Allied Commanders. It will be an objective-based cooperative experience, where each player can pick a commander from their favorite race, unlock units and abilities, and fight AI foes in open-ended progression. There are no specific details to show at BlizzCon, but more info will be given in the future.
The Q&A section begins and closes the Legacy of the Void Campaign Panel.
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