Power Overwhelming – StarCraft II: HoTS’ CG Opening

By Nathan Grayson on January 22nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

Here's the one frame in the opening that's not 90 percent or more gray.

Yes, I’m aware that “power overwhelming” is a Protoss line – not Zerg. But that’s really the only way to adequately describe what’s being depicted in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm‘s ultra-lavish CG opening. Well, that or “ooky, pukey Overlord Leviathan insides,” but a) those don’t show up for too terribly long and b) I wanted to forget that they showed up at all. So mainly, Blizzard continues in its rich – if all-too-predictable – tradition of titanic armies clashing and beating each other over the head with kitchen sinks the size of Death Stars. Oh, but this time, there’s also A Twist. I wish I could tell you that I mean The Twist – implying that everyone sets aside their differences for a scintillatingly choreographed dance number – but sadly, you’ll just have to settle for a surprise reveal at the end.

You know what’s worse than a dreary, gray day? If you guessed “having your entire empire crushed under the elephantine heels of a perfectly oiled organic war machine,” then you’re probably a total hoot at parties. And also, in this very specific instance, you’re correct! Good going.

But why all the apocalyptic daydreaming? Here’s a quick (and SPOILERY, if you haven’t played Wings of Liberty’s admittedly very dumb story for some reason) rundown:

“Sarah Kerrigan is on the loose. Even without the terrible powers of the Queen of Blades or the might of the Swarm at her command, the former Ghost remains a foe not to be taken lightly. But if the artifact really did set her free, then why is Kerrigan seeking out Zerg broods scattered throughout the Koprulu sector? Is she still pursuing her quest for vengeance, or has her transformation given Kerrigan a new purpose?”

Now typically, Blizzard doesn’t take its absurd CG budget out of cold storage until a game’s release is right around the corner, and this time’s no different. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is arriving on March 12th, in this, the 2013th year of our infinite bearlord. In Blizzard time, that’s practically tomorrow.

So, who’s waxing their spine-erect head tendrils in excitement? Anyone? I mean, I liked vanilla StarCraft II pretty well, but I’ve never been particularly great at multiplayer. I’m sure I’ll still enjoy the campaign well enough – especially since I thought Wings of Liberty’s missions were strong, even if the plot underlying them didn’t hold a candle to StarCraft I – but I’m not really getting that “gotta have it” impulse I’d usually feel for something like this. Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe I’ve grown acclimated to that intoxicating new Overlord smell. Maybe I’m finally reaching the point where I want to make dance numbers, not war.

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146 Comments »

  1. Choca says:

    The Viking pilot who decided to transform and land right in front of the Ultralisk was clearly Bronze League.

    • RedViv says:

      Whoever orchestrates that defence is clearly down there.

      • Bhazor says:

        I guess it’s just to show off the series iconic unit and as much as I loathe to admit it, Siege Tanks really are an awesome unit.

        Just a shame the game still plays like it’s in the 90′s.

        • mynsc says:

          “Just a shame the game still plays like it’s in the 90′s.”

          What does this even mean?

          • MadTinkerer says:

            Clearly SC2 does not have enough QTEs. Or a system where you can only harvest 1000 minerals and ore per day unless you pay real-money for more “energy”. Or motion controls. Or individual unit unlocks as microtransactions. Or always-online singleplayer.

            Oh wait: maybe Bhazor is just complaining about the access to mods. If they remove the ability to Mod SC2, it really will feel like a 201X game.

        • Eddard_Stark says:

          Yeah, because the latest XXI “press a button, and something awesome has to happen” innovation is so much better? Sorry, I’d better go back to the 90s, it’s mostly been a constant decline since then on so many levels, it’s not even funny. And btw, gameplay was the strongest aspect of SC2 along with the relatively varied and interesting missions. I’m puzzled.

          • Bhazor says:

            Where as RTS games that rely on Builds and APM to such a ludicrous extent aren’t. RTS games have come along way since Starcraft.

            I mean look at Warcraft 3 for a start.

          • mlaskus says:

            That’s hardly a valid counter argument, since Starcraft 2 is an RTS game, mynsc obviously compared it to modern RTS games. You generally won’t find “press button, something awesome happens” tomfoolery in RTS games.

            The genre has seen plenty of evolution since the first Starcraft, the second one gratuitously ignores all of it.

          • mynsc says:

            @Bhazor
            Warcraft 3 has timings and unit micro (the main use of APM) is even more important than in SC, where base management (macro) takes a more prominent role.

            What else do you want to matter in RTS games because I really dont know what else is left since we already have: unit management, base management, using your strengths and hitting on your enemy’s weaknesses (through the use of timings / builds that are usually decided real time, after scouting).

          • Makariel says:

            @Bhazor: APM is more important in Warcraft 3 than it is in Starcraft 2. I have awful APM but can handle myself in Starcraft 2, while I just get steamrolled in Warcraft 3.

          • Eddard_Stark says:

            @Bhazor&mlaskus
            Do tell please, from what games and what gameplay improvements should’ve SC2 borrowed? You would’ve liked it to go hugescale SupCom style or venture into DoW2 squad-based & peppered with RPG elelments territory? Because those are drasticly different subgenres that aren’t exactly superior, just different. That’s not even mentioning that base-building RTSes are all but extinct at the moment and SC2 practically stands there alone, at least until End of Nations comes by but that’s a whole different beast by itself.

          • Bhazor says:

            Well Warrior Kings is a good example of a traditionalist RTS. A tonne of clever twists such as how you can order a new civilian to build a farm before he’s even spawned, you can click the gather resources button and the idle civilians will automatically get to work, civilians can garrison at the press of a button, walls will automatically expand to protect new buildings (though you’ll need to spend resources to build them) and despite having hundreds/thousands of units it never becomes unweildy. Or theres the Relic games with their brilliant cover/flanking mechanics and squad mechanics.

            The real killer for me though is that the unit AI in SC is dumb as a rock. Tanks have no problem blowing up their own units, path finding is often a skittering mess with units dancing back and forth and there’s no auto skirmish function or preset behaviours so sure enough you have to micro every small engagement. It says something that in games with a hundred times as many units need far fewer APM. Really, to me the only interesting games in SC2 are at the very low level (people who have no idea about builds) and the very high level. Everyone in between is just using one of the predesigned builds and the winner is whoever can make their build the fastest.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Play Supreme Commander. Please. Or even just TA. Or RA2. Or Age of Empires, or Kings. Or, hell, even Dark Reign.

            When your units have some smidgen of smarts and can be vaguely co-ordinated, you get something other than a top-down action game.

            There have been many improvements since Starcraft, and frankly it was not exactly a forward step from C&C in the first place.

          • theleif says:

            I have to agree with Bhazor. Playing SC 2 made me feel like Blizzard had been livin in a bubble for the last decade.

          • Asurmen says:

            What some would call improvements others would call dumbing down and hand holding. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed some games where your units have some self aware ability to keep themselves alive such as CoH, but there’s room for the SC style as well. There’s a line where the game playing itself becomes a little boring. Have we crossed it? No, but calling more recent RTS games improvements is somewhat incorrect. It’s just a different style of RTS.

          • Brun says:

            They weren’t going to change up the mechanics in SC2 much because of its extreme popularity as an e-sport. It’s the same reason why most MOBAs (or DotA-likes, or whatever we call them these days) have identical mechanics. It’s also why the most competitive e-sport FPS is still Counter-Strike – the yearly iterations of Call of Duty or Battlefield introduce new maps too rapidly, invalidating the practice and effort of professional gamers who were competitive on older maps.

            I don’t think innovation was high on the priority list for Blizzard with SC2. The game was targeted squarely at the e-sports market and making it too different from SC1 would have alienated that group.

          • Thirst says:

            @Bhazor

            You already have workers around at the start of the game, it could be nice but unnecessary to allow them to build buildings before they are spawned. Idle workers already show up in SC2, there’s an icon that pops up for you to click. Garrisoning units is more of a human WC3 mechanic, its simply a design choice to not be in SC2.

            As for cover/flanking mechanics, I agree, something like that or high ground advantage would make things more interesting.

            For tanks friendly fire is for balance, tanks would be pretty over powered without friendly fire. Although no perfect, SC2 AI pathing is the best in the industry, there is no other RTS with better AI pathing. The only real complaint I have with pathing is the fact that units auto bunch together. And Auto Skirmish and preset AI behavior, it’s as if you want the game to play for you.

            And everything else that you address means making the game easier and requiring less apm meaning according to you completely changing game design and balance just for the people between the worst and best players, which would make it a completely different game. An RTS not a Turn Based Strategy game, in all RTS speed at which you can execute commands and multitasking will always be a factor to win.

          • Talos says:

            @Thirst
            “SC2 AI pathing is the best in the industry, there is no other RTS with better AI pathing.”

            That’s quite a bold statement to make. How did you determine it’s better than, say, Supreme Commander 2 flowfield pathfinding?

          • Bhazor says:

            @Brun

            Given how much Warcraft 3 rocked the boat I was amazed at how tame Starcraft 2 was.

            When I complain about pathfinding and unit AI I mean how they just coalesce into big blobs that end up blocking each other. Worst offenders are marines who just form huge balls with no thought of self preservation like swapping uninjured troops with injured units on the front. And luck getting a tank through them.

            Really let me ask this
            If ten years ago you were told there would be a new Starcraft game in 2010 and you were then shown some of the intervening games (Warrior Kings, CoH, Homeworld, DOW), how would you feel when you were ultimately shown SC2? I have the same problem with D.iablo 3. There is no way these games show a decade worth of invention.

          • Brun says:

            SC2 was not meant to show a decade of innovation, it was meant to continue a decade of success as a competitive multiplayer game, hence its gameplay changes were relatively small. In other words, it was meant to bring the competitive element of StarCraft into the 21st century from a purely technological perspective, similar to what Sony did with PlanetSide 2. Dramatic gamelpay changes carried too much risk of A) alienating the multiplayer community and making them stay with the original Brood War (bad for Blizzard) or B) splitting the community, with half playing SC2 and half playing Brood War (bad for both Blizzard and players). Warcraft never developed that competitive community (and thus never developed into an e-sport), thus Blizzard had more freedom to be creative with Warcraft 3.

            As for D-ablo 3 I think it’s difficult to say what its purpose was, although my guess was that it was an experiment / test run for microtransaction-based economics with the purpose of refining the doubtlessly F2P economics in Project Titan.

          • Thirst says:

            @ Talos

            Yea I played supcom2, quite a disappointment compared to the first. Supcom2 AI pathing was good, it seemed to work like supcom1 pathing combined with SC2. With ground unit models/collision boxes that could slide into and sometimes through each other making armies move smoothly. It’s slightly different since SC2 units cannot slide halfway through others unit models/collision boxes.

        • DK says:

          I wish it was a game from the 90s. In the 90s we could play multiplayer with people from other countries. Even in Blizzard games.

      • mynsc says:

        Since there aren’t any BroodLords, he wanted to free-up supply to make more siege tanks!

    • Popcornicus says:

      Kerrigan must be DREAMING if she thinks attacking Korhal is going to be this easy. It’ll be a lot harder than the ending of WoL when a bunch of Terrans held off the Swarm on Char for quite a while (assuming she attacks Korhal with just zerg).

      I loved how the cinematic showed awful Terran play (oh shit here comes an ultralisk and a swarm of zerglings, better transform one Viking to hold them off; let me deploy my siege tanks just as they arrive) and Kerrigan’s wishful thinking that there’d be like 5 Vikings and one bioball defending the capital of the entire Dominion.

      • Rhin says:

        This scene shows the hypothetical “last-stand” of the remnants of the Korhal defense. By this time, overlords are filling the skies and it is raining battlecruisers. It’s not a strategic vision, just a vision of a victory scenario.

    • kkkwwwkkk says:

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  2. faelnor says:

    I’m going to start a petition to ban the wilhelm scream.

  3. Bhazor says:

    Sure enough it looks absolutely nothing like the game.

    • Moraven says:

      Opening Cinematic =/ Promo/Gameplay Trailer

      Blizzard happens to release the game’s opening scene early as a use for promoting the game.

      Dawn of War 2 did not tell me much about the game.

      • Bhazor says:

        It tells you more than this trailer did. The characters are the right size for one thing and the rock paper scissors mechanics are the same as in game.

        This trailer is as far removed from the game as I am from attractive women.

        It actually reminds me of those old PS1 era adverts. Where they would use live action and CGI on tv adverts because they knew the actual gameplay looked terrible.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxNSOz4h7O4

        • Brun says:

          Some people will grasp at anything to criticize something they don’t like.

          Why don’t you just come out and say why you don’t like it instead of beating around the bush and trying to come up with bullshit excuses?

          • mechtroid says:

            Because then people wouldn’t pay attention to his opinions.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I absolutely love that cityscape, and am fairly sure that virtually none of that work will be apparent in the game levels. It’s a testament to how expensive games are these days that entire animation teams will come up with something as incredible as that for a two-minute cutscene.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I haven’t played it yet, (duh!) but I’m sure these scenes will actually be in the game.

  4. Gap Gen says:

    So wait, they’re retconning the awful, borderline-misogynistic ending to the previous game? Yay, I guess?

    • Arcanon says:

      Misogynistic? Nah not really…

      • Gap Gen says:

        I mean, I said borderline. But taking one of the strongest female characters in games and turning her into a damsel in distress? Massive dick move, and certainly not progressive in any way.

    • Xocrates says:

      Honestly, based on what we knew of HotS back when the base game was released, I suspect that the plan was always to depower Kerrigan so they could spend the expansion re-powering her.

      Which, yes, is retarded.

      • Crazy Horse says:

        I wouldn’t say so. That’s a common and effective way of story telling. Pretty much every sequel to a video game ever with the same protagonist starts off with the player as a “de-powered” version of what he/she was when the last game ended. The player is then able to enjoy the journey of gradually becoming stronger, often by simply regaining the exact same abilities gained in the last game. It’s what gamers want most of the time. The same theme is present in many film sequels with your classic tired and reluctant warrior who is “out of the game” being forced to find his way back into it in order to save girl/universe/puppy/Scotland/drug-dealing brother. In any case our society here in the western world seems to be infatuated with the classic “underdog fighting his way to the top” tale.

        As far as the WOL ending being sexist.. No. Just, no.

        • Xocrates says:

          “common” and “effective” are not synonyms for good. The specific practice of reverting to the status quo between installments is as understandable as it is retarded, to the point that in some series it’s treated almost as a joke.

          It’s effective in the sense that it gets the job done, but it’s not optimal by any stretch of the imagination, and it requires skill to do it properly. Right now I don’t trust Blizz to do it properly.

    • Jenks says:

      They pretty much retconned most of Brood War so Kerrigan could be a damsel in distress, so why not.

      • KevinLew says:

        I certainly believe that there’s a problem with sexism in the gaming industry. However, calling Starcraft 2 “misogynistic” or “sexist” is really going too far. The real problem with the story in Wings Of Liberty is that it is absolutely dumb. For a company that probably spent millions and years trying to perfect SC2, they went with an incredibly silly plot and characters that do dumb things or behave inconsistently.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Sure, I’d agree that for a multi-million dollar game, Wings of Liberty is extraordinarily badly written. But there is a healthy dose of sexist subtext in the ending (see my comment further down), and I doubt it was entirely a horrible accident by a team of people who believe strongly in gender equality. Then again, a lot of the characters are horrible parodies, so it’s not limited to poor depiction of women in this regard.

        • AlKaPwn says:

          I think having Kerrigan wear high heels throughout most of her conquests in WoL was kind of sexist. Notice how her stupid high heels are gone in that cinematic.

    • lofaszjoska says:

      I really wish people stopped slapping that label on every fucking thing they don’t like.

    • Milky1985 says:

      OK firstly misogyny is NOT a synonym for sexist. It means something different but lots of people don’t seem to realize this.

      But it doesn’t matter because how in the fuck was the ending to the SC2 sexist? you say a damsel in distress, a “damsel in distress” who is the most powerful being in the universe, something which kinda ruins the whole in distress thing. A being who was birthed as part of a setup by a mind enslaved by a corrupted vision (the zerg overmind being controlled by the dark voice, to wipe out the protoss) to get out of the situation his swarm was in.

      Hardly a damsel in distress, the saving of her was more a way to not have everyone in the sector eaten by the swarm. It was a last ditch effort to quell her as if you didn’t everyone was screwed (as shown in the crystal when you see the memories of the DT guy). The name of the last mission being “All In” kinda showed this as well, going to hazard a guess you didn’t really play the game.

      Seriously people can we stop throwing around the misogyny card every single time you think something is a little sexist. I don’t think labeling everything that you think is a little sexist is as misogynistic is very progressive and actually detracts from the power of the word and makes it seem not as bad as it actually is, because true misogyny is something that does need stamping out.

      This is nothing like that.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I played to the end, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen the ending (granted, I could have YouTubed it). Look at the last cutscene again – a naked, helpless figure being carried out by a strong, gruff warrior into the sunset. It borrows from the classic image of a swooning woman being rescued by a brave man. Whether or not it intends to, it reflects conservative gender roles in the images it chooses to show us.

        Another thing is the way that her will is treated by the ending. Brood War seemed to imply that she had her own game, and was using the swarm to enhance her own power, whereas Wings of Liberty’s ending seems to imply that her will is simply the imposition of another mind, a separate layer that can be stripped away to find the “good” character underneath. It takes a strong female character from a previous game and decouples the strength entirely from her person. So my point was not that the infected Kerrigan didn’t have a lot of power (as you say, the game ascribes a lot of power to her and her forces), but that the “happy ending” is that she is saved from her strength and power by a righteous masculine figure.

        Then again, perhaps this will make more sense in the next game, and that as you say it’s simply clumsy storytelling that it ends on this note. But I’d argue that the thrust of the ending is pretty sexist, even if it wasn’t intentional or overt.

        But I accept the point that conflating conservative gender roles and the hatred of women might not be helpful, even if I condone neither. I’ll try to be more precise in my language in the future.

        • LintMan says:

          I don’t think anything in WoL is trying to retcon her drive and acquisition of power as some external force – rather just a corrupting influence. It’s a kinda wonky storytelling but I don’t think they were trying to neuter her character at all – just to make it clear that Kerrigan isn’t really to blame for her evil deeds and atrocities.

          As far as the “swooning woman” – I think they needed to bring her to a low point for her character arc, so that she can struggle with her past and with the enmity of those who won’t forget the evil she has committed, while she also works to regain her power so she can save the universe.

          Yeah, they could have had the magic artifact instantly poof her into being good again without the vulnerability or losing her powers, but then there’s not a lot of story to tell.

      • Jenks says:

        I honestly couldn’t care less that they made a shitty, trope laden stereotypical female character. I care that they took one of the best villains in video games and turned her into that. It haven’t played it, but I believe they did the same thing to Samus in the last Metroid game as well.

        If you played Brood War and then Starcraft 2, and you thought that her character was consistent, you’re an idiot. You can’t possibly believe that. Complete fucking retcon of the events of Brood War for both Kerrigan and Raynor.

        • Brun says:

          one of the best villains in video games

          Overstatement of the decade.

          I believe they did the same thing to Samus in the last Metroid game as well

          Yes, but I think that was a good thing. It added some depth and dimension to Samus’ character. Let’s face it, she was always a highly one-dimensional character (that dimension being the badass bounty hunter and nothing else). Weakening her a bit made her more interesting – it made her human.

        • Asurmen says:

          In what way were they both retconned?

          • Jenks says:

            BW ending: Jim:I swear to god I’m going to kill you, Kerrigan
            SC2 opening: Jim: god I miss Kerrigan, she was awesome.
            SC2 ending: Jim murders friend to save the Kerrigan

            Awesome.

            Go back and play BW. Kerrigan is a pathetic joke in SC2 compared to BW. Raynor is even worse depending on how you look at it.

          • Asurmen says:

            Yeah, that’s not a retcon at all. There’s several years between Brood War and WoL. That comment was said just after she had killed a friend, with the interveining years with Raynor achieving not much other than depression and alcholism. Just because someone said something in the past doesn’t mean they’re going to stick to it, especially after Kerrigan has been shown to have been manipulated and now has a chance of being human again.

            Anything else?

          • Alevice says:

            There is no evidence Kerrigan has been manipulated. For all we know, only the overmind was enslaved. In any case, raynor is quite the forgiving man. “This girl murdered many of my best friends, turned my rebel gang into ashes right after we helped her, basically ruined my life and that of millions of people, she finds all this shit hilarious, but I miss her anyway”.

            The chance for “redemption” came some time after.

          • Jenks says:

            I lol’d at that not being retconned. Please.

            Then again, you’ve taught me some people are as naive as Blizzard thinks we all are.

          • Asurmen says:

            Ah, I’m naive. Good one. Care to provide a better example of supposed retcon than the one you used?

          • Jenks says:

            There’s no such thing as a retcon when you can reverse anything you want since “time has passed.”

    • solidsquid says:

      Dunno if the ending was really misogynistic, she was pretty much nuked from orbit and had her brain scrambled by the effects of the artifact detaching her from the swarm. That’d leave pretty much anyone out of it, and pretty much as soon as they started advertising this they made it clear that this was temporary, and that she wasn’t just going to let go of everything that had happened

      • Jenks says:

        They shouldn’t kill her (which is what Raynor swore he’d do in BW), she’s just a woman. They should save her and protect her!

    • Jeroen D Stout says:

      I doubt the story would have ‘needed’ her to be naked, unconscious and defenceless had she been a man. That in itself does not make it ‘sexist’ but it is fresh for a Hawkeye initiative-type of reversal; have Jim be carried off by a woman in a super-suit, looking all drowsy and resting his head against her protective arms, his thin nimble naked limbs hanging meekly in her strong grasp.

      • Crazy Horse says:

        That wouldn’t satisfy the hounds either because obviously this implies that a woman needs a power-suit in order to save a man and carry his helpless ass off into the sunset. Maybe if Kerrigan had been saved by Lassie? What if Lassie was naked instead of her..

        Some appallingly misogynistic fault could be found in any number of alternate scenarios Blizzard could have produced. Whistle-blowers blow whistles. It’s just what they do.

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        Certainly, some people will see sexism where-ever they go and we can argue over the power-suit being a male power fantasy or not… but I still find it hard to believe Kerrigan’s portrayal in that scene would have been the same had genders been reversed. The way that scene plays out does show certain traits that slant the universe over the gender-axis. Of course I cannot prove what the scene would look like had Jim been saved; but I feel we can safely deduce that from the way the rest of the universe looks.

        Perhaps whistle-blowers keep blowing whistles because the situation hardly changes?

        • GepardenK says:

          Yeah of course the scene would have been different if Jim was saved. Thats not sexism. Men and women are different and there is nothing wrong with using gender differently in fiction. I dont think the scene from Psycho would have been equally powerfull if it was a naked man that was killed in the shower, is that sexism aswell?

          • KillahMate says:

            (Yes, yes it is, although a very subtle kind. You imply that the woman who was killed is more ‘valuable’ and a greater loss than a man would be, which makes the scene more powerful. It’s fine if you feel that way as a man, but assuming that valuing the woman more is some universal characteristic of the scene and not just your own personal reaction to it is the sexist bit. Sexism is in the perspective – assuming that the way we as men see the world is the only way, or at least the default, and that if other perspectives do exist they are less relevant. This is also a perfectly human reaction, exacerbated by our culture and upbringing, but the point of gender equality is that we should be able to rise above it intellectually.)

  5. colw00t says:

    It’s interesting watching the Starcraft cinematics if just to get an idea what the unit scales are supposed to be like. Battlecruisers should cover an entire normal starcraft map if they were to scale.

  6. Arcanon says:

    Maybe I’m getting old too, but the whole “I’m a fucking badass, I’m going to exterminate millions BECAUSE VENGEANCE” sounds really stupid to me. Is it because Blizzard thinks this is what little kids like or because they can’t write good stories and dialogue anymore?

    Not to mention the “prophecy” in Wings of Liberty…..lamest plot device ever? Why does Sarah have to be Darth Vader all of a sudden?

    • RedViv says:

      When was Blizzard ever about subtle villains that would only want to subdue a tiny part of the world?

    • Ernesto25 says:

      To be fair that was hinted at the end of BW but i do agree. I liked the WOL campaign but half way through (when zeratul appears) the plot started going down the cliche routes and we are all meant to join up with the enemy because Jim Raynor beat up his friend making the crew loyal. I much preferred to focus of raynor v mensk than a “prophecy”.

      • Bhazor says:

        I hated everything with the Protoss missions. I could just about tolerate the endless pseudo philiosphy when it was Rastafarian trolls but the Protoss bored the arse off me.

        • Ernesto25 says:

          I liked playing as protoss at the time especially the final but the story just felt shoved in and subconsciously i wanted to get back to the main plot. really it was padding with little reward but start down the path of an uneasy alliance etc.

    • Jenks says:

      ” Is it because Blizzard thinks this is what little kids like or because they can’t write good stories and dialogue anymore?”

      Besides polishing everything up super shiny, can you name anything Blizzard does well anymore?

    • Arcanon says:

      At least in Brood War and WoL she was infested and acting according to the Zerg creed: learn, adapt, evolve. Now that she’s human again they’d better find a not too ridicolous reason for all this.

      Well of course Blizzard villains always think big xD but they can be interesting too: watching Sarah manipulate everyone in BW was good, in WoL all she does is speak nonsense about prophecies and threaten Jim every time they meet…..*cringe*

      Or, I don’t know, Kael and Illidan in Warcraft 3 are “grey villains”, with complex reasons above the “let’s kill everything because we can” of the boring demons.
      Then in World of Warcraft their reason for everything is “madness”.

      Maybe the writers just don’t know what to do with them after a while.

      EDIT: or maybe Blizzard was never THAT good, and my standards for writing and story have risen substantially after The Witcher 1-2.

    • FhnuZoag says:

      Can someone tell me what the zerg are supposed to be avenging, please? I thought their starcraft plot was basically just invading world after world eating everything?

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      To be fair, if I ever become the directing force behind an all-consuming swarm of unstoppable organic killing machines, I intend to do the same thing.

    • dmoe says:

      Don’t look too much into it. It’s Chris Metzen, he writes like a 12 year old Metallica fan.

  7. Deptfordx says:

    I didn’t recognise those suit colours, which chapter of Space Marines was fighting those Tyranids?

    Cool Carnifex’s though.

  8. Ernesto25 says:

    Well it used the oldest trick in the book and told us nothing about the game like dead island and countless others. i did enjoy it and i thought the CG was good but mainly because the colour scheme for the trailer was black and dark brown. Looking forward to the single player but not really the MP i just hope they try something new with the missions rather than the same old stuff.

    • Moraven says:

      Its an Opening Cinematic. Lots of games have these. They never tell you about the game. This is the same exact video you will see when you load the game for the first time. And there is a lot of other Cinematics in the game that tells nothing about the game.

      The Dead Island trailer that got rave reviews was a Promo Trailer. It was the first look of the game and garnered interest into it. Things like this is you wished told more about the game. The Last of Us trailer at E3 showed a lot, but did not do a lot to tell you how the game worked. It was much like a movie trailer to promote the game. Dead Island has a much different opening cinematic.

      • Ernesto25 says:

        Yeah i did play the game but other opening cinematics say more than it was just a dream i may as well have read fanfiction.

  9. Giuseppe says:

    Well, let’s see: unlike in Wings of Liberty, you don’t need to cough up the ca$h to play the original StarCraft in multiplayer, and the community is still strong around it, and Wings of Liberty also had a pos, throwaway singleplayer campaign not worth your money. Yeah, I was really disappointed with the daft storyline and the poor quality of the singleplayer missions… so any reason for someone like me to consider buying Heart of the Swarm? I think not.

    • Eddard_Stark says:

      WoL story was horrendous, no doubt there. But why do you consider the missions to be of poor quality? I personally thought that’s where they didn’t screw things up and build upon the original. Didn’t get bored to the very end, almost every mission offered an interesting twist.

      • Giuseppe says:

        I felt that there were too many missions where you basically had to build a high enough quantity of whatever new unit they introduced in that particular mission in order to succeed. Afterwards, in subsequent missions, most of those “new” units felt barely of any use. I never felt that way in the original game. It was like WoL was saying “here’s a new unit for you to try and here’s a tailor made mission for that unit. Enjoy it, ’cause you’re not likely to need that unit again”.

        • Eddard_Stark says:

          Ah, I see what you mean and partially agree with you. Easiest way through some missions was indeed to churn-out as many of the new units as possible. Luckily I mostly ignored the obvious paths and went some painful unconventional ways, had quite some fun. But you’re right in that regard they did spoil some of the missions. Quite consistent with how developers handle it these days. Hold the players’ hand as much as possible & have an easy way to beat the game with huge neon signs all over it.

          • Ernesto25 says:

            I slightly felt like this but i pretty much had the feeling that is was just average made better by the research system between games.

          • Popcornicus says:

            You weren’t playing on a high enough difficulty level.

  10. Sardonic says:

    Wings of Liberty’s story was right around Star Wars Episode 1 levels of storytelling, here’s to hoping Heart of the Swarm isn’t around episode 2 level.

  11. Crimsoneer says:

    It’s strange how SC2 is the only acclaimed game of the last 5 or so years I haven’t played, because it stubbornly refuses to be under £15-10. Blizzard has such a monopoly on it’s distribution, and it’s a huge shame, because I’d love to play it. Just not enough to spend £20 for it.

    • mynsc says:

      Were all the other “acclaimed games of the last 5 or so years” under 15 – 10 £ when you bought them? Or else I don’t exactly understand what you’re trying to say. Anyway, I’m sure that if you wait 1,2 more years, the price on WoL will go down within your price range.

      • Crimsoneer says:

        I’m pointing out that the original SC2 hasn’t come down – well, it has, but barely. It turns up for £15 here and there once in a blue moon, but by and large, you either buy it from Blizz online at full price, or by it retail at only slightly cheaper. No Steam like 75% sales at all, because it’s not allowed on any digital distribution services.

        • mynsc says:

          SC2 was available for 20 bucks during the winter holidays. I believe that’s around 12 – 13 £, so there you go. Its original price of 60 $ has been reduced to 40 now and it will probably decrease even more after HotS launches. I really don’t understand what more do you want.

          • Crimsoneer says:

            I’m not complaining, just pointing out that it was interesting. Over in the UK, SC2 was £20 on the Blizzard online store for Christmas. That’s still pretty darn steep – if you shop around and pre-order, you can buy most games for £22-£24 at launch these days. While SC2 is back to £33 on the Blizzard store now.

            Again, not complaining – if I really wanted SC2, I’d shell out the 25 or so quid for it – but it’s interesting. By avoiding retailer competition and monopolizing distribution, Blizz has been able to keep the price of SC2 very high. Quite similar to what Cliffski does with his titles. I;d be curious about what effect it’s had on sales.

          • mynsc says:

            SC2 is available pretty much everywhere it matters except Steam. If anything, this says more about Steam being a monopoly rather than B.NET

            I mean, you can’t monopolize something that is already yours. If I were to sell my game only on a certain street corner, that wouldn’t be a monopoly but my right to decide how, where and for how much I sell my own product.

      • KillahMate says:

        All the other acclaimed games of the last 5 or so years *were* under 15 – 10 £ when *I* bought them, and I managed to buy nearly everything you might think of. Impulse control and delayed gratification (and good discount tracking) do wonders for one’s wallet.

        More on topic, I’m also a single player kinda guy. I’m not up to speed with Blizzard staff, but did their writers change about ten years ago? Because from what I’ve seen, all of their games since have featured abysmal, bad-fanfiction-level storytelling. And I was pretty fond of their older stuff! Maybe because I was younger?

    • Carra says:

      Yes, they don’t dump their games. And they have no reason to, even at €20 the SC + brood wars pack kept selling for years.

      It’s also a good reason to buy the game at launch. With other games I’m afraid it will be at half price in four months time, no such worries with a Blizzard game.

  12. Droopy The Dog says:

    Do I detect the world’s most recognisable stock scream sound at 1:44?

    All that money on 3d artists and none to spare for bespoke sound effects?

    [edit] Whoops, missed the second comment mentioning it

    • RogB says:

      its never used because of budget, its used because anyone working in sound design feels the need to tuck it away somewhere in every single project, as a nod to everyone else who has done it before them.
      its a sound design ‘in-joke’ thats become far, far too obvious.

  13. reggiep says:

    …even if the plot underlying them didn’t hold a candle to StarCraft I

    Maybe you were just a wee lad 15 years ago, and Starcraft 1′s story seemed novel to you then. I’m pretty sure both stories are equally junk sci-fi if you compare them in the same adult mind. I mean, the entire premise of the game is generic sci-fi. The story is just a mechanism to deliver the gameplay.

    Some games need a strong story. Others don’t.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, Starcraft 1′s story did seem pretty interesting comparatively when I was 15. Then again, it’s largely based on 40K, which is more interesting than many game stories (I mean, a vast, slowly dying theocracy is a pretty interesting premise as far as games go, even if there’s a lot of pap around it).

    • Eddard_Stark says:

      Despite the fact that most of us were indeed in our teens when SC1 came out, I still think SC1 story is actually way better than in the sequel. Or as a matter of fact in most Blizzard games tbh, escpecially the recent ones. It isn’t a gem by itself truth be told and it still mostly consists of tropes and homages but I feel like they really pulled it off in SC1 with some memorable characters that don’t go herp-derp, have some motivations and act more like humans (aliens in some cases) without being overcliched and melodramatic as those in SC2. And the writing itself was bearable, pretty down-to-earth for the most part. Oh, and retcons. RETCONS.

    • Vorphalack says:

      ”The story is just a mechanism to deliver the gameplay.”

      Oh no. The story is the magic glue that holds the polished but soulless game play mechanics together, the thing that makes people buy *this* game opposed to all the others in the genre. Blizzard North were capable of taking a fairly derivative fantasy / sci-fi setting and creating characters and plot that hooked you. Activision-Blizzard believe that ”the story is just a mechanism to deliver the gameplay”. I don’t buy their games anymore, and that is one of the major reasons why. The magic story glue is gone, and all that remains is a soulless but polished husk.

  14. jackass00 says:

    Am I the only one that heard at the end of the trailer that Kerrigan is saying “…for I am a queen of delays”?

    • Vorphalack says:

      ”….the Monarch of Moratorium! The Regent of Remission! The Sovereign of Setback! The Princess of Procrastinat-”

      And then she woke up, and it was all a dream. The end.

    • guygodbois00 says:

      You, sir or madame, have made me laugh. +1 power to your weapons system.

  15. suibhne says:

    Glad to see that Blizzard’s writing hasn’t improved since SC2/D3.

    Tho at least the narrative framing (revealed at the trailer’s end) gives an excuse for the overwrought wordplay.

  16. JackDandy says:

    Is it just me or the intros of SC1 and Brood War feel about 200x better then SC2′s?

    “What you got for me out there, Joey Ray?”

  17. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Why don’t blizzard just make a film, it’d prolly be more interesting than their games & they clearly REALLY want to.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, Squeenix tried living their we-want-to-make-films-really dreams. Unfortunately the result got panned (and while I can be seen criticizing their effect on games all over RPS, I honestly think they got a pretty rough deal on that).

      • dE says:

        I feel like a lot of the Flak was owed to not being perceived as an actual Final Fantasy Movie. They then proceeded with another movie, this time a close tie-in to FF7 (Advent Children). It was a gratuitious, way way over the top anime render flick, made from 100% fanservice. And this one, while infinitely more silly (but also funny in a way) was a commercial success.
        The tie-in with the PS3 (Buy a PS3, get the movie too) single handedly tripled the Sales for that Console in Japan during the movies launchweek. Funny how it goes.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      There’s a Warcraft movie planned, but it seems to be stuck in production hell.

  18. A-Scale says:

    Please give us more information about Horace. I am quite enamored of this new religion you’ve created and would like to adopt it.

  19. Calculon says:

    I think its all well and good (and some what funny) to pick apart the Blizzard video, but for me the essential point is:

    SC2 is still broken.

    They have had HUGE balance problems since day 1, and continue to have significant balance concerns. For an actual “Zerg expansion” (because Zerg was gimped in Wings of Liberty) the Protoss and Terran actually turn out to get a significant boost. Most of the Zerg unit adds got nerfed, again.

    To me the gameplay is more essential. I had once hoped that HoTS would balance SC2 and give me a reason to play again, but that isnt the case.

    Still I suppose I had some good hours of frustrating gameplay out of my original purchase, but I had hoped this would be more akin to SC1 and its longevity.

    Yae for Blizzard screwing up….again.

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