In part five of our continuing series, Brian Kindregan, co-lead writer of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and lead writer of Heart of the Swarm, answers more of the community’s most burning lore questions.
Question: Why don't battleships have shields? When the Hyperion engaged the Bucephalus, someone clearly said the Dominion battleships didn’t have their shields up, which implies that Battlecruisers have shields.
Answer: Battlecruisers maintain shields in space, when coming out of warp, in case of attack from other capital-class ships. They are completely vulnerable at that moment (as the Bucephalus was), so "shields up" is standard. Shields are also used during orbital insertion when a planet has an atmosphere. But Terran shields hog far too much energy to keep up all the time. While in an atmosphere and fighting smaller units, Terran ships rely on their thick armor and superior firepower.
Also, please recall that in Wings of Liberty there is an upgrade you can get, the Defensive Matrix, which absorbs 200 damage before failing.
Question: Why didn't the Protoss resurrect or unban the Colossi when Aiur was being overrun?
Answer: They recalled their Motherships! (I'm pretty sure there was a story written about that. :P) Resurrecting the colossi would have been far too slow a process. They simply wouldn't have gotten online in time to make a difference.
Question: In Wings of Liberty, Kerrigan appears to be resigned to the destruction of the universe at the hands of the Fallen One, which seems contrary to what we know of her character. What led her to take such a fatalistic view of things?
Answer: Another great one. The Queen of Blades was clearly a scrapper who would fight tooth and nail, lie, manipulate, and do anything else to win when there was even a fraction of a chance. What happens when you are all-powerful . . . but still come to believe that you have no chance at all? What does that do to you? And remember, although she possessed a great deal more independence than the Overmind, she was still full of Zerg mutagen, which means she was at the very least influenced by the will of the Dark Voice.
Question: What was the UED doing between the events of Brood War and StarCraft II?
Answer: At first they tried to discover the fate of their expedition. Once they did that, they probably deliberated what steps (if any) to take next. And whatever they decided, they certainly needed some time to put their plans/materiel together.
What I'm saying is . . . they got their butts handed to them in Brood War. They could come back, but if they did, it would not be immediately. Men, materiel, political will . . . these things take time.
Question: In the introductory booklet for the original StarCraft, we learn that the Xel'naga created the Zerg in an attempt to make a creature that was pure not in form (like their "failed experiment," the Protoss) but in function. They created the Overmind and tried to remain hidden from it as they orbited Char, slowly influencing the evolution of the Zerg. But then the story goes that the Overmind learned of the Xel'naga's presence and attacked them, driving them clear out of the sector. If the Xel'naga aren't around now because the Overmind crushed their fleet, how could the Overmind have been enslaved by the Xel'naga all along, as WoL says?
Answer: Who said the Overmind was enslaved by the Xel'naga?
Question: Years ago a question was presented on whether or not the Umojan Protectorate and Kel-Morian Combine directed their own respective ghost programs. We now know that the Umojan program evolved into the shadowguards, but what of the KMC's program?
Answer: I fear that whatever R&D the KMC was doing was put on hold after the disastrous (for them) results of the Guild Wars. They're really not doing well these days.
Question: In the StarCraft manual, it was mentioned that the Umojan Protectorate sought a cultural exchange with the Protoss because it felt that Terrans had much to learn from the more advanced race. Is this still a goal of the Protectorate's, and if so, has it made any progress?
Answer: It must be so frustrating for Umojan scientists! They can't intercept/decode the long-range transmissions of a race that communicates via the Khala. (True, the Khala has limits on its range for full-on conversation, but those limits are pretty high.) So the Umojans have to rely entirely upon the Protoss and their willingness to talk. Alas, the Protoss have little interest in the doings of Terrans, aside from a few special individuals like Jim Raynor.
Question: Why is it that you can completely understand the Wings of Liberty storyline by playing through only StarCraft 1's campaign? I feel like anything unraveled in Brood War is *not* mentioned anywhere in Wings of Liberty (disregard the Duran mission; that's considered a "bonus").
Answer: So something in Wings that requires Brood War knowledge doesn't count? Much of the content in Wings is not critical path; that doesn't make it invalid. It just means the player has the option to experience that part of the story or not. So the Duran mission cannot be disregarded.
I will say that this is another area where we made a mistake. The installer for Wings of Liberty plays a recap, and many have noted that it doesn't really cover Brood War. Our mistake here was not conveying the intent of this installer recap. It was NOT intended for anyone who frequents these forums. We honestly thought that you, the lore community, would say, “Oh, I know everything they're going to say," and go off to get a snack or something while the game installed. The installer was intended for those who were new to the StarCraft franchise or had played StarCraft/Brood War 12 years earlier and barely remembered them. So the recap was covering only the most basic things one needed to know to follow the story. Why mention the UED when you don't see much of them in Wings?
Now, you might say that since the recap didn't need to mention Brood War, that's a sign of how little it was represented in the story. I reference this in another answer somewhere, but I'll paraphrase here: most of the events of BW had their impact in terms of characters. The geopolitical situation at the end was not terribly different than it was at the start. The biggest political/military development of BW was the arrival of the UED, and they were out of commission by the end.
I completely understand why those of you who are invested in StarCraft's storyline were disappointed to hear a recap that ignored most of Brood War. That set the stage from the very beginning to make it seem as if Brood War were being ignored. We had a version that covered the entire storyline in detail, and we should have put that up on the web when Wings was released. And we definitely should have done a better job of explaining what that installer recap was supposed to do.
If you’re looking for more lore, here’s part 1 of our StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A, here’s part 2, here’s part 3, and here’s part 4. We’ll have many more answers to your burning questions in the weeks to come.