StarCraft® II

Kerrigan, Her Infestation, and Her Will

Posts: 362
I've been having these questions since StarCraft 1, but now with the ending of Wings of Liberty they have resurged with an even higher priority;

It has been stated by the Overmind itself in StarCraft 1 and restated by the Prophecy missions that Kerrigan had Free Will. That's the whole point of the creation of the Queen of Blades, free will. Even the first missions given by her on the first campaign she gives priority to her own objectives instead of the Swarm's, starting the very first conflicts with the rest of the cerebrates.

However, Is this freedom of will a little bit limited, still atached to... let's say, "The Zerg Swarm Instinct"?

After all, she was always a Killer, Ghost, also victim of Psi and Zerg experiments, but still, was all of that enough to embrace her infestation and leadership of the Swarm with such a cold and brutal command? The infestation itself, besides the overmind, guided or influenced a part of her will?

And now, what is going to happen to her will? Is she still the queen of blades in mind (I'm not talking about Psi powers or connection with the swarm, just her mentality, her intentions), or is the queen of blades gone for good, and now she is the, more or less, ghost woman that fell in Tarsonis, meaning that it was the Infestation what had the Evilness, or at least, a combination for both?

I bring this subject because I would find it very uninteresting if she was evil just because she was infested and now a happy terran trying to save the universe with her boyfriend, not just a Zombie, mind control cliché, but just a repetitive uninteresting path.

I would like to think that Human Kerrigan and the Queen of Blades were the same woman, the same will that went through brutal changes, but the same woman and will nevertheless, and now in a weakened human form, still, the same woman and will.

But the ending of Wings of Liberty, and all that "We can SAVE Kerrigan" makes me think that the story is going as the first option, like she has always been a poor victim. Save her from infestation form, ok, maybe. But save a little nice girl from the infestation that made her evil... I hope not.

What are your thoughts on this?
And remember, I'm not saying one thing or the other, I'm actually asking, in case I missed the answer.
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Posts: 71
Frankly, there are such a huge number of factors that could have affected her personality since becoming infested I'd have a hard time concluding the Zerg didn't have any kind of influence. I just don't think her being betrayed and left to die alone would have had that kind of effect on her - maybe if she'd survived uninfested it might have driven her mad to the point of insane rage against Mengsk, but not to the destruction of billions of people I don't believe.

Even if the Zerg just unleashed some kind of dark force that had lied dormant within her, I would still say they had an influence. But it's just really hard for me to ignore the before and after takes of what she was and what she became.

But being human again doesn't mean she will automatically become the Sarah Kerrigan we knew so briefly in the first Terran campaign of SC1, even if everything she was as the Queen of Blades was entirely at the mercy of Zerg influence.
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Posts: 351
When something as simple as alcohol can change someones personality, when there are stories of brain tumors completely changing how their victims behave, how trauma can create entirely new and independent personalities inside someone, what makes you think an alien infestation rewriting her DNA would not affect her mind in some way?
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Posts: 362
I agree with both, but my point is that hopefully the Evilness wasn't 100% because of the infestation, but a mix of her own plus infestation.
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Posts: 465
The Overmind didn't explicitly state that Kerrigan had free will. It said that Kerrigan was left with her spirit and part of her personality, but that doesn't necessarily imply free will.
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Posts: 170
I think it's probably a little of both: part her and part zerg. I don't think we're going to see a nice, sweet, happy Kerrigan after this, and I easily see her making decisions with the zerg in mind as opposed to the terrans. I always felt that the Queen of Blades was the darker side of Kerrigan magnified to great proportions, and probably no small amount of the Overmind's protective side with concern to the Swarm. I don't see that diminishing too greatly even with much of the zergy-ness gone from her physical form. I think she'll be more reasonable and more willing to ally with Raynor, especially against a larger threat as I think we'll see with hybrids, but there will still be a strong Queen of Blades remaining, just different.
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Posts: 90
When something as simple as alcohol can change someones personality, when there are stories of brain tumors completely changing how their victims behave, how trauma can create entirely new and independent personalities inside someone, what makes you think an alien infestation rewriting her DNA would not affect her mind in some way?

This is my thinking as well. I see her as a dual personality. Sarah that Raynor knows, and the Queen of Blades the rest of the galaxy knows.

In All In just at the end before the artifact powers up you get a picture of Sarah not the Queen saying "Don't give up." In fact, there are times between her transformation and this campaign where she spares Raynor's life because he isn't really a threat. The Queen isn't stupid, and seems to be rather thorough, so why would she do that? My guess would be Sarah wouldn't allow it.

Granted, I come to this game new and never having played the first game my impressions of the characters are based around this new spin Blizz has put on it. Perhaps if I was an old time player I'd have a different take and/or hope for it. But as it looks now, it seems the old Queen is gone, most likely replaced with Sarah who, I'm guessing, won't be the same person you knew in SC1 but will still be quite a bit like her. Don't think you could go through something like that without getting changed in some ways.
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Posts: 36
There is a very important moment that you are not taking into consideration in your analysis of her free will. Remember at the very end of "All In," right when you are about to win the campaign? Human Kerrigan sends you a message right after the Queen of Blades yells at you. She says "Don't give up." It is as if the human Kerrigan was still in there, fighting to get out.

I don't think it would be uninteresting if the infestation is what made her evil. I actually thought that it was pretty clear in SC1 that she was a completely different person when she emerged from the chrysalis. Her intentions and behavior completely changed. Now that she is human again, I think it would be interesting if she becomes depressed as she tries to cope with the toll she has taken on the galaxy. I think it would be interesting if many people try to assassinate her even though she is the same woman who fell on Tarsonis. (Or at least a darker, tortured version of her with a guilty conscious). And more importantly, I think it would be interesting if she actually wanted to be assassinated because of the guilt she must carry.

Just my thoughts.
Edited by Bellerophon on 8/8/2010 10:59 PM PDT
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Posts: 30
I think it would be interesting if she becomes depressed as she tries to cope with the toll she has taken on the galaxy. I think it would be interesting if many people try to assassinate her even though she is the same woman who fell on Tarsonis. (Or at least a darker, tortured version of her with a guilty conscious). And more importantly, I think it would be interesting if she actually wanted to be assassinated because of the guilt she must carry.

Just my thoughts.

I agree, I would enjoy this. I don't think it is too sappy to say it would be cool to have her hating herself for a while, but then upon slowly seing Raynor's willingness to risk all for her redemption, put her past behind her and help restore the Sector.
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Posts: 72
The only thing that i dont think thats being addresed here in regards to kerrigans infestation and whether she will still be a malevolent force in the korpleu sector (spelt that wrong) is, that she is no longer the queen of blades. The next expansion in Sc2 is a zerg based starcraft meaning a zerg only campaign (there could be something simalar to the prophecy missions), how the hell are they gonna tie this into the story in the expansion with out subtracting from the gameplay? Who will we be following through out the zerg campaign, i mean as far as i know the only one who was ruling the swarm was the queen of blades. Are there any more cerebrates powerful enough to control the rest of the swarm? or is there a new fledgling overmind?

It seems like a really difficult task to try and follow up kerrigan losing infestation. How can we be looking through a zerg perspective with out a queen of blades or even keep track of Kerrigans mental status, while looking at the next act of the story through zerg eyes. What major players do we have anymore in the swarm with any sense of will? I mean the cerebrates that served the overmind are dead, the overmind is blown to bits, the young overmind the UED used is dead, what character can we possibly be trying to observe the swarm through? The only being that was mentioned in the campaign of Sc2 so far that has influence over the zerg other than kerrigan is this "Dark Voice".

I hope to god we dont have to look at the swarm through his eyes.... i mean how interesting can that be really? At a first glance that sounds cool but really think about it, he has no attachment to the swarm. He/she doesnt really care about their existence in the universe, the zerg is just a tool to him. Also, if we had to look through the perspective of a "dark voice" how can we really find out what happens to kerrigan and raynor? Its not like we can follow up on the characters we grew attachment to in this first campaign. I cant see myself getting any kind of attachment to a "dark voice", kerrigan and the overmind the true leaders of the swarm i grew to love as complex characters looking to maintain a foothold in the universe for the swarm are gone now. It would almost be anti-climatic looking through the villians eyes in the second act. Im not saying its not possible just saying i dont know how they could do it.

Looking at Wings of Liberty now in hindsight maybe it had to much story. Maybe that sounds weird but hear me out, a zerg perspective without a leader? The zerg are a collective hive mind from what i understand that follow the will of either the whole or certain individuals that are part of that whole. The loss of Kerrigan could mean a very weak story for the expansion, their are many questions that are raised at the end of the campaign but most of these questions seem like they only could be answered either through a protoss perspective or a Terran one. How can we find any of that out with out any exposition? haha

Im not trying to sound pessimistic im just nervous, i know the gameplay of the expansion will be amazing, but will the story hold up to that of the original sc1, BW and now the wings of liberty? I pray i am wrong and hope the zerg somehow reclaims their queen early on in the story or their is still some sort of psionic link between kerrigan and the swarm.
Edited by MattDamon on 8/9/2010 3:53 PM PDT
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Posts: 211
I'm pretty sure I have the picture down as to how the situation is and how it will play out.

This is all from piecing together the lore, here are some known stats which lead to my conclusion.

---- SPOILER ----

1. We know for a fact that the Overmind > Kerrigan in terms of power and control (This is reconfirmed in Brood Wars, that the 2nd Overmind would have dominated Kerrigan's will.

2. We know for a fact that Kerrigan was a completely different person from the Queen of Blades. However she retained parts of her memory as per the overmind giving her some of her past life.

3. We know that from Zeratul's prophecy chain that:
a. The hybrids were going to take over the zerg's will
b. The dark voice had instilled primary commands of destruction in the zerg who were
once a non malevolent race.
c. We know that 'Kerrigan' is the key to saving the zerg from the hybrids/voice of darkness

4. There are little hints throughout WoL as well as the direction of the story (esp the final mission where we see kerrigan as a seperate entity from the Queen of Blades) that Kerrigan is no longer the evil entity that she portrayed in Brood Wars. In fact, the zerg race is now portrayed as a race, who's will was altered and dominated by a greater evil bent on the destruction of the universe.

This leads to the conclusion that, Sarah Kerrigan lost her 'self' when she became the Queen of Blades. Considering her prior behavior and aversion to mass killing, ie. Not having nuke capabilities, and being totally against the use of Psi Emitters, which transformed into a cold blooded killer.

You might say that the events altered her personality but that's not very convincing. From lore (starcraft story, outside of the games) She was a confederate ghost prior to joining Sons of Korhal. Her superior officer had spent a year torturing her mind with mind altering devices and she still was averse to killing innocents after being captured/liberated from her position by the Sons of Korhal.

Now lets jump to the present. The story with Jim Raynor which lead to her 'de-infestation' makes sense because, as the queen of blades, she still retains the zerg initiative to conquer the other races. As we know, since the overmind could control her, The hybrids would have no problems taking over her will. Her de-infestation allows her to be rid of the zerg initiatives and allow her to regain her freedom, and therefore allow her to truly fight against the hybrids

Furthermore, Jim is told that Kerrigan is the key to saving the universe. As the queen of blades from BW, her prerogative would be to dominate the galaxy, so this does not make sense. Sure the Queen of blades has a vested interest in stopping the hybrids, but that only brings us back to the same story in BW with the second overmind controlled by the UED. Once its over, she will still try to kill all the protoss and terrans. Not a whole lot different

Her de-infestation and the affect it has on erasing the 'zerg instinct' programmed by the Dark Voice is much more plausible. This allows her to free the zerg from the clutches of the Hybrids as the story line is leading to. (zeratul/tassadar conversation where the overmind wanted to free the zerg from the slavery of the hybrids) This also allows an atonement of her crimes, since it was not really her committing them. Its like brainwashing or hypnotizing someone against their will to have them commit crimes. They were not in control of their own functions and therefore gives Jim Raynor a reason to forgive her actions. Jim's personality and his rational would not be conflicted into accepting her and forgiving her for Fenix's death, which had originally caused him to swear an oath to see her killed

ps. We know it will be kerrigan who saves the zerg (that much is already told), Heart of the Swarm will be kerrigan gathering and 'liberating' the zerg from the brainwashing of the Dark Voice. There will definitely be resistance as most of the sector (terran/protoss) will be in a frenzy to destroy the unorganized zerg, and the hybrids will be trying to dominate them. So Kerrigan will probably be traveling around a lot to save the zerg from destruction and slavery while growing her own powers in order to control more and more of the zerg population.

Could it happen differently? sure, but with analyzing the lore, and ruling out different paths (such as a new zerg overmind, which is stupid since it would be dominated by the hybrids in no time and contribute no story progression), this conclusion is the most dramatic/pleasing (blizzard style) and the most logical from a realistic (character behavior) and storyline point of view
Edited by DrakeRathan on 8/9/2010 4:49 PM PDT
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Posts: 483
It's well known that chemistry can affect mood and personality... hormones and drugs pulling your mind in different directions all the time. You still have free will, but at the same time, your thoughts and actions are influenced by your brain chemistry. It's a strange dichotomy, but true... you have free will but are still (to a degree) a slave to your homones.

Who knows what kind of chemicals and crazy zerg hormones the Overmind was pumping into Kerrigan's chrysalis during her incubation? She has free will, that is to say she is in control of her own actions, but she's absolutely not her old self.

This is hinted at (though we'll have to wait for Heart of the Swarm for concrete proof) when Raynor is carrying her out of the primary hive on Char. Kerrigan looks relieved to see Jim, like she just woke up from a bad nightmare.

That always bothered me after the original Starcraft... I thought that Sarah Kerrigan, who felt enormous regret and outrage over Mengsk's plan to destroy Tarsonis, would absolutely not willingly do a complete 180 and suddenly find enjoyment in exterminating entire planets full of people.

The theory that the Queen of Blades is a result of Zerg conditioning and not Sarah Kerrigan's choices resolves that gigantic problem for me. I approve of this development.
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Posts: 211
she only had 'free will' after the overmind died. Its also a free will + the zerg command to destroy the other races which is pretty much implied since QoB = Zerg and all zerg had the primary command . IE. Overmind has free will, it controlled the zerg, but it said itself that it was dominated by the Dark voice's initiative to destroy the other races
Edited by DrakeRathan on 8/9/2010 5:43 PM PDT
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Posts: 3,243
Having freewill does not mean that psychologically she is the same person as she was before infested. Non-infested kerrigan and Infested Kerrigan can be to entirely different people psychologically and still both have free will. If that makes any sense.
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Posts: 211
Having freewill does not mean that psychologically she is the same person as she was before infested. Non-infested kerrigan and Infested Kerrigan can be to entirely different people psychologically and still both have free will. If that makes any sense.

makes sense and I agree, and/but she doesn't even have total free will. She might even think she does, but only the original overmind knew the truth (and tassadar/zeratul/Jim through the story), because he had the opportunity to see a glimpse of the Xel'naga's history
Edited by DrakeRathan on 8/9/2010 5:52 PM PDT
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Posts: 583
I'm kind of hoping that post-infestation kerrigan will be the angry, bitter anti-hero. then she and raynor can get together on the hyperion and have angry, bitter drinking parties about how the entire universe is out to get them.
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Posts: 192
My opinion has always been that while she had free will, the infestation has altered her personality in such a way as to favor the instincts that best serve the Swarm. What you see is Kerrigan changed and given free will, not just given power and free will.
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Posts: 572
ok, I'm just going to clarify this a bit.
Kerrigan's infestation is different than normal infestation.
kerrigan is more like a terran/zerg hybrid than an infested terran.


second off, zerg units (infested kerrigan counts as both a terran unit and a zerg unit) are "controlled" by overlords, cerebrates, and the overmind. However, the overmind left her "will" so to speak, alone, and did not see the need to try and force her to do what he says. He also left her with most of her humanity intact as well, only truly infesting her body and portions of her mind, but not all of her spirit, or will. The portions of her mind that were changed were modified to be like the zerg, always thriving, looking for ways to make themselves more powerful and to kill all those who dare cross her path. That is why her first instinctive was to undo the mental conditioning that she had undergone as a ghost. There is a strong possibility that in doing that, her mental state was also altered so much so that she lost a good portion of her humanity with that, or atleast, her resolve to not kill as much. However, portions of her mind still retain some of the old kerrigan, thus why she often lets some of the heroes off easy instead of flatout killing them.

you did make one enormous mistake however.. you said the zerg are "evil" whereas they are not. they are simply a ravenous alien species trying to survive in this dark cold void of space =)
think of them as cougars or lions.. they feed off of mostly anything they wander across.. in this case, it's humans and protoss
to be honest, the terran are far worse than the zerg are.. they sell out themselves and kill themselves simply for power or greed.
I guess it could be said that kerrigan's true human nature was revealed during the brood wars, as she instinctively seeked out and destroyed the remaining cerebrates and overmind in order to retain full control over the swarm =)

even during all of this and the events that happened, there were still portions of kerrigan's mind that remained unchanged, hoping jim would save her.
as for what happens next, who knows.. she might retain the memories of what she did as the queen of blades, but not the intent to do it again, as her zerg nature has seemingly been eradicated from her body (mostly anyways)
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Posts: 445
My thinking is that the Zerg campaign would sort of lie next to the timeline of the terran timeline, or before it; having Kerrigan as the main ruler and seeing all of her motivations for everything that happened in the terran storyline, at least what her plan was
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Posts: 18
I'm pretty sure that Blizzard has stated that the three campaigns will be sequential(like Starcraft and Brood War). I Think a good possibility is that the Zerg campaign will be Kerrigan trying to gain control over enough of the swarm to oppose the Hybrids.

What I took from Zeratul's prophecies is that Kerrigan is the only thing that could stop that Hybrids from taking control over the Swarm. It makes sense that they would need it because it seems that the Protoss at least have the technology to hurt them, and their doesn't seem to be huge numbers of them. It also seems like the Hybrids can't just destroy the Protoss the same way they are capable of destroying the Zerg. All together this is why the Hybrids and the Dark Voice use the Zerg to destroy the Terrans and Protoss and then they destroy the Zerg.

If Kerrigan still has some connection to the Zerg it seems likely that she could deprive the Hybrids of at least part of this army, thus giving the Protoss(and perhaps the Terrans in alliance with them) at least a fighting chance against the Dark Voice and its Hybrids. Hence why Kerrigan needs to survive as she is the only person in existence who is able to prevent the Hybrids from gaining this powerful force, or at least from gaining all of it. This also fits with Blizzards description that the mechanics of Heart of the Swarm were RPG like with Kerrigan slowly gaining power and controlling more and more of the Swarm.

This it would seem to work, story wise, for Heart of the Swarm's story focusing on Kerrigan fighting the Dark Voice/Hybrids for control of the swarm and perhaps helping Zeratul and Raynor find out more about them.

After that Legacy of the Void would be the Protoss in direct opposition to the Dark Voice/Hybrids trying to take them down, with assistance from Raynor and Kerrigan. This also fits in with what Blizzard has said that the games macro level will be politics consisting of Zeratul trying to gain the allegiance of the various Protoss tribes, which makes sense if, after the events of Wings and Heart Zeratul suddenly turns up on Shakuras after years absence with portents of impending doom and a rather incredible sounding tale, that some of them would be distrustful, to say the least.

Of course who knows how long development on these will take and who knows how much of this Blizzard has worked out ahead of time and how much they are sort of making up as they go.

That is what I think about it anyway.
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