In part nine 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: What happened to the nanite serum used to de-infest Alexei Stukov? I ask, because this is all I could think about during the final Colonist missions in Wings of Liberty. Raynor must choose to side with either Selendis to destroy the infested colonists, or Hanson in the hope that she will find a cure . . . but a cure already exists. It has been around for years. Selendis comments that the only cure for infestation is purification by fire, which is confusing because she was part of the Protoss force that aided Raynor during the mission to save Stukov. But even if that weren't the case, why didn't Raynor mention the serum or Stukov? How could he possibly forget such an important event? He did not mention the serum, and if he does choose to side with Selendis, he even agrees that there is 'no other way.' It's an obvious plot hole.
Answer: Raynor is faced with a populous colony where a major infestation is about to break out, and a Protoss fleet is poised to burn it to the ground . . . and he should ask about a serum that was used on one person years ago? A serum that the Protoss fleet would not have with them, would not have a way to acquire or deploy in any kind of timely fashion? A serum that the commander of said fleet is clearly not interested in using? One that the Zerg have likely evolved an immunity to anyway? I respectfully disagree with the assertion that this is an obvious plot hole. As plot holes go, it's incredibly subtle. ;)
Question: Why isn't Raynor more skeptical of Dr. Narud? Knowing how to use an artifact that the Doctor hasn't even seen (seriously, we gather all the pieces) when Raynor has an entire mission about how difficult it is for an elder Protoss to translate Xel'naga writing.
Answer: I'm sure he was suspicious of Dr. Narud and concerned about the accuracy of his research. But what should Raynor have done? Back out of the plan? He had a choice between pursuing his rebellion and putting it aside to take a chance on Kerrigan. He chose the latter option, and so he was bound to see it through to the end.
And remember, in our world, people are often able to harness tech and science they don't fully understand, based on theoretical extrapolation. It's risky, but humans have done it for many years, and there's no reason to think Raynor wouldn't.
Question: Why did Wings of Liberty ignore the events of Brood War and just rehash vanilla StarCraft's storyline with cardboard cutouts and prophecies instead of characters and motivations? I'm not trying to be a jerk. I just honestly want to communicate that that's the only question I can come up with. Sorry.
Answer: You're not a jerk for asking uncomfortable questions. There are ways to phrase a question more constructively, however. :-) I've addressed some of this in other places, but I'll recap to be definitive here.
Wings did not ignore the events of Brood War. The truth is that Brood War changed very little about the geopolitical situation in the Koprulu sector. It changed players' perceptions of the key characters and introduced a faction (the UED) that was taken out of commission by the end of Brood War. Honestly, which events of Brood War could Wings of Liberty have addressed? If the answer is Fenix, I'll agree: there should have been some mention of him. And we failed to provide that.
But that would have been a line of dialogue, two at most. It could not have been a major plot point. After all, the story is about Jim's choice between holding on to past grudges and deciding to hope for a better way. The universe is a dark and terrible place, but Jim has always stood out on the StarCraft canvas precisely because he is an idealist.
I disagree that the characters are cardboard. Jim makes some controversial choices (which angered some in the community) because he is driven by conflicting motivations. His friends and crew turn against him for the same reason. Characters like Tosh present murky choices: do you team up with someone who clearly shares your motivations, even if they don't share your values? Tychus also has a real dilemma. He's offered the chance to get his life back; all he has to do is betray his best friend. And he thinks that friend owes him big time . . . but as time goes on, he struggles with his choice. Perhaps he can't do it. At the very end, he leaves himself vulnerable, essentially putting the choice in his friend's hands. I feel that those characters have some depth to them.
I also don't think Wings of Liberty is a rehash of vanilla StarCraft. It does indeed reference the events of vanilla quite a bit, as the scars inflicted on the characters in vanilla are still unresolved. But the plot points and character arcs are completely different. Are the characters in the same state at the end of Wings of Liberty as they were at the end of vanilla StarCraft?
I'm sorry if you think the characters in Wings of Liberty don't have motivations. I'm not sure how we could have communicated them better, but their motivations are present and expressed in dialogue and action.
If you’re looking for more lore, here’s part 1 of our StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, and part 8. We’ll have many more answers to your burning questions in the weeks to come.