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Discussing StarCraft II's Storyline

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 05:11 AM

IGN recently posted a new interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Andrew Chambers. The lead writer for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty discussed the storyline for the single player aspect of the eagerly anticipated return to the StarCraft universe. The game will introduce a level of choice and interaction not seen in the original StarCraft and its expansion Brood War.

IGN AU: Blizzard is famous for iterating and changing and tweaking and polishing its products right up until the end, so at this stage, is it all locked in?
Andrew Chambers: No. No, there are literally still fairly major chunks that we're re-examining... let's take an example I'm familiar with. Say we have a conversation between two characters, and it's a cool conversation; we like what's going off in it, it's nicely done, the voice actors did a really good job with it, and so forth. You're playing through the game and you run across this conversation and you're like, yknow, that probably isn't the best place for it that conversation could actually go a couple of missions earlier and be more impactful... so we're still doing stuff like that, even now, and we will be doing that right up to the eleventh hour. That's one facet that's the facet I deal with, so the artists, animators, all the rest of it, are also dealing with their own particular areas of interest.

And from a more overarching view as well we're constantly getting feedback. We have a strike team at Blizzard who are giving us feedback; they play through the game, it's all people who aren't on our team, so they haven't seen it before, and they'll give us feedback and their initial impressions... They've not been in meetings for, like, four years explaining it all they're just looking at what you've produced, and that can be a real eye-opener at times, because the things they think are awesome, you're like 'oh, that was just a throwaway thing', and things that you're convinced are awesome they're like 'I don't get it'. And so we go back, we retool, and figure out how we can tell that part better.

IGN AU: As a writer, you want to have a satisfying conclusion to your story, but you also know that you have two more games to come after this. How do you do that while still leaving enough open for future instalments? And are the stories told in parallel or are they sequential?
Andrew Chambers: We actually planned out the whole storyline during our initial work stage on StarCraft II, because originally, it was going to be pretty much like StarCraft 1 three campaigns, three races, a certain number of missions each. As we developed the story and it became very apparent that ten missions was just not going to be enough for even one race to tell their story in, and we'd have to rush rush rush to get through the whole thing, it became readily apparent that the right thing to do was separate campaigns, and that actually made it a lot easier to get a satisfying conclusion to each campaign, because you can focus far more on well, what's a victory for Jim Raynor? You don't have to necessarily worry about what's a victory for the Terran. What's a win for him? And equally, as we move forward into the other races, it will be like what's a win for them?

To answer your question about whether it's all happening at the same time it's intended to be sequential, so our expansion will pick up from the very end of the first game, Wings of Liberty, and suffice to say, at the end of Wings of Liberty it should be a very satisfying conclusion, but there's a lot of doors still open 'but what about?', 'isn't that going to mean?!', 'did you think about?', and so on. [And then] in the Zerg campaign we've already got natural conflicts set up, so hopefully it will be a satisfactory conclusion, but also [opens up] a lot more opportunities to continue the story forward from there.
Click over to the page below to read the rest of the Q&A.
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