The second episode of BlizzCast, a new feature which gives fans a chance to get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes at Blizzard, has been posted on Blizzard.com.
As with the last BlizzCast, we will focus on the StarCraft universe portion of the interviews.
First up, an interview with Chris Metzen, Vice President of Creative Development and creator of the original WarCraft, StarCraft, and Diablo storylines. Chris talks about his work – juggling three different stories simultaneously, coming up with new ideas and integrating them into the core of his stories, and the how working at Blizzard is like compared to other companies. Here are some interesting excerpts:
… about StarCraft in particular, how did that particular story-line get started with you?
We had done Warcraft II and now we’re interested in trying to do the next RTS outing in science-fiction. And early ideas like ‘well, let’s blend them together man, we can do this kind of space-vampire-clan-thing and real-time-strategy.’ … the group response is like ‘well, let’s simplify this, right. People, they understand space-ships. They understand creepy, spidery aliens. They understand psychic brain aliens, right? So let’s just cut down to the core motifs that are really classic in science-fiction. That’s where we should start.’
It wasn’t the story-line, specifically, the linear flow of events, the overthrow of the Confederacy, Kerrigan, Raynor, the Protoss, the destruction of their homeworld. A lot of that stuff wasn’t clear from the get-go. We were just making the broadest science-fiction universe we could and trying to make sure it really resonated with people.
Chris reveals the process which led to the birth of one of StarCraft’s most important characters: Kerrigan.
… the whole character of Kerrigan didn’t really exist until the middle of our construction of that first campaign. We knew we had Ghosts and the joke was – I don’t know if this is common knowledge but I think it was Command and Conquer that had a character named Tanya, back in the day. She was kind of like an assassin, a badass. And we just had this conversation one day using a Ghost character on a map, like ‘ha ha, how funny’, the whole ice-skater debacle was going on with Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. ‘Haha, how funny, we’ll make our super assassin named Kerrigan on this one map.’ And it was a total throw-away character but as we started discussing it and really getting in to this character, we kept coming back to her; she had a lot of gravity. It really created a cool, kind of triangle of tension between Mensk and Raynor and this emergent Kerrigan character.
Ultimately, it was pretty late in the game when we decided that she would be betrayed and become the Queen of Blades. The Queen of Blades was never an original concept; it really came about just at that, kind of in the final stretch of that campaign.
Andy Chambers, StarCraft 2’s lead writer, reveals the mystery of the planet featured on the bottom of StarCraft2.com:
The question we have for you today is a bit of a two-parter. What planet is seen at the bottom of the page at starcraft2.com and what is happening at the planet’s surface at the red dot? People are referring to it as ‘the explosion.’
Well, as befits a two-part question, I’ve got a two-part answer for you. The first one is the lore answer to it all. The planet itself is Bel’shir one of the moons of the Mackan system which has not previously been seen in StarCraft I. It’s a Protoss ex-shrine world that was invaded by the Zerg and much of the Protoss have now been pushed out of the area. It keys in with the sort of jungle tile-set that you may have seen in some of our previous videos for StarCraft II. Now, the little explosion as people call it, is actually a vent for an artificial volcano the Zerg have pierced through the surface of Bel’shir to produce a heat-source for their nests full of hot magma –because it saves them having to knit little cozies for their eggs and things like that – so, that’s the lore reason.
The actual reason there’s a little dot there goes back even further. Goes back to our career announcement. The world that you’re actually seeing there is the same sort of brown ringed world that we saw in the announcement behind the space platform. As part of a test during that, some of our artists wanted to do plasma bombardments, little explosions going off all over the world all the time. So, when the guys in the Community Team got hold of this piece of art, they reshaded it into the green world you now see. But as part of that process, one of the little explosions carried over into the new image that you now see.
So, as ever, lore must be responsive to art as art must be responsive to lore, so I’ve incorporated that into the back-story for Bel’shir and it’s actually added this little unexpected bonus of like ‘oh, cool, artificial volcano. I like it!’
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