BlizzCon 2011 brought us the Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Campaign Story and Lore panel, providing us with plenty of news about the upcoming expansion to the popular RTS game. Chris Metzen: SVP, Story & Franchise Development was joined onstage by Matt Morris: Lead Level Designer, and Brian Kindregan: Lead Writer. They talked about things in both the lore of the game, and level design elements that will affect gameplay, so come check out the secrets!
We checked out Heart of the Swarm earlier this year, and some of these facts were in the writeup from our Blizzard campus visit. But, there's also plenty of new stuff in here, so swarm on in and check it out.
Characters you'll meet:
Kerrigan: Although she was rescued by Jim Raynor at the end of Wings of Liberty, her link to the Swarm has not been completely severed. She remembers very little from her time as the Queen of Blades, but she does remember a few things that are universally awful. This weighs heavily on her, and she has to explore her connection to the Swarm.
Zeratul: He's gone rogue, and will be popping up throughout the game. No one is really sure what's going on with him.
Izsha: She is aew character who gives advice to Kerrigan or warns her of dangers so Kerrigan can focus on the big picture. She serves as both counsel and oracle.
Abathur: He was created by the Overmind. He can evolve the Zerg by consuming creatures and pulling out strands of their DNA. The Mutations in Heart of the Swarm felt too close to the Armory in Wings of Liberty, so they've adjusted that to happen on the fly, and those mutations unlock as you play, through Abathur and the Evolution Pits. Each unit has three mutations, along with a finally evolutionary split at the final mutations that changes that unit type. You decide what you want it to involve into, and each final mutation has a mission attached to it.
Za'gara: Tough, merciless brood mother. She leads the brood on Char. She doesn't believe that Kerrigan is the Queen of Blades, and this will ultimately lead to a fight between the two. Brood Mothers are new types: they are sentient independent creatures who can control an entire brood.
There are many stories in Heart of the Swam, and they will be woven together:
- Kerrigan attempting to reconnect with the Swarm.
- Abathur has his own storyline and there is a lot more going on with this character. Eventually if you talk to him throughout the campaign, you can reveal a subplot that has its own climax.
- There are also several ambient stories. The BlizzCon demo contains Nafash. Find out how Nfash's story ends.
- Ultimately, this is Sarah Kerrigan's story, and she's going to have to make peace with her relationship with the Zerg Swarm.
Some other tidbits we learned during the Q&A:
- Samir Duran and Emil Narud may be the same person. Someone asked if he'd be back, and Metzen said "You might have met him already. You totally did, by the way."
- Kerrigan is public enemy number one to the entire Koprulu Sector.
- Nova definitely shows up. You've seen her in a teaser, so she has a role to play in this installment.. But, this is the Zerg expansio, so the focus is on Kerrigan and the Swarm.
- Will there be Easter Eggs on the maps? Morris said "It's always worth exploring the entire map! We're always trying to put everything we can in the map. Enjoy looking for them!"
- Amanda Haley was a Terran medic with tk powers who was infested by the Queen of Blades. She eventually became Izsha, who plays a major part in Heart of the Swarm.
- Blizzard is planning on bringing your choices forward into the game. Depending on certain decisions in the game, they hope to track those through Battle.net and have it change your game dynamically.
- Metzen would like to see the jukebox return in this game. Possibly an infested jukebox?
- You will see a lot of hybrids, and they will do mean things to you.
- You won't be seeing Tychus Findlay in the game. Does that mean he's dead?