BlizzCon 2014 – StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Overview Panel Transcript
Story Art Team
Thavirat: How is it going BlizzCon? My name is Justin Thavirat and I help out as one of the lead artists on StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void; and I work with the story art team and our job is to help push the story forward by creating the cutscenes and the different conversations that you the players get to experience in between the different missions of the campaign.
Now for doing our job right we’re really helping create the fantasy of what it is to play as a Protoss by creating highly detailed, high fidelity art assets that allow you to get up close and personal to the different characters and environments in the game; and we’ve brought some of those characters and environments and cutscenes with us today and we are really excited to share them with you now.
This first cutscene we have here is what we call the Spear of Adun introduction; the Spear of Adun is an ancient Protoss arkship and in this cutscene you’ll see it fleeing from Aiur and onboard you’ll see Karax, a new Protoss character introducing Artanis to the different functions and features on the Spear of Adun. So let’s check it out.
So that’s one of the first real-time cutscenes that the team back at Blizzard has created and I think they did a fantastic job with that and it really helps set the tone of what we have in store for you in Legacy of the Void; and it’s going to be in cutscenes like these that you are going to meet a whole host of awesome characters, some familiar and some new.
The first one I have to share with you today is Artanis; now this is obviously the character you play as in Legacy of the Void and he is also the hierarch of the remaining Protoss race. If you look at his armor design you’ll notice it’s got that traditional Protoss style but instead it has got more of a silver like design to it that helps dignify him as the leader of the Protoss and that silver armor combined with the impressively broad shoulderpads and the iconic back-plate really help show him off as the leader of the Protoss race.
Next up we have a familiar Dark Templar, Zeratul; this should be recognizable to anyone who has played StarCraft II and he continues to go on about dark prophecies and warns and advises Artanis during the campaign of void and it’s cool to see him up here because you get to see his striking contrast in character and costume design to Artanis because as a Dark Templar, he’s got more of a tattered robes, the ancient armor plates and the severed nerve chords.
This is Vorazun; she is a brand new female Dark Templar character and she is the matriarch of the remaining Dark Templar on Shakuras; and eventually she joins Artanis’ cause aboard the Spear of Adun to reunite the different Protoss tribes.
In designing Zeratul we wanted to draw some inspiration from traditional persian motifs and as you’ll see there in the layered colored robes or the veil covering the face and we combine them with more familiar Dark Templar motifs like the Zerg skeletal armor, the severed nerve chords and the glowing green eyes; and together she turns into a really awesome character; she has an awesome role in the story and it’s a really cool new spin on what a Dark Templar could look like.
This is Karax. Karax is a Phasesmith. As a phasesmith he is basically an engineer aboard the Spear of Adun monitoring the different systems on the Spear and advising Artanis of the different features and functions of the ship.
You’ll notice with his design he is a little shorter and a little stockier, his armor is a little more functional instead of ceremonial and where his nerve chords used to be he’s re-augmented them with these cybernetic tentacles that allow him to interact and manipulate the different technologies on the ship.
This is Rohana; she is a female Protoss preserver and as a preserver she retains the collective memory and intelligence of the Protoss race through the Khala and she uses that intelligence and knowledge to advise Artanis throughout the campaign.
You will notice that her nerve chords are splayed out behind her and they are harnessed in this mechanical almost clock-like headdress that really symbolize how synchronized she is with the Khala — so synchronized and so in-tuned that she literally levitates off the ground.
Spear of Adun
In addition to these cool new characters, we also have tons of environments for you to check out in Legacy of the Void and one of the biggest most impressive environments we’ve made is the actual Spear of Adun ship itself.
It’s an ancient arkship and we’ve created this short video here to help show it off to you today.
This ship is massive; it contains the remaining Protoss civilization on board along with entire armies of zealots, fleets of carriers and even motherships. When designing the Spear of Adun we wanted to create something that was very high concept and very Protoss but at the same time it’s an ancient ark ship so it had to have a historical element to it, something that felt archaic or ornamental and fuse those designs with traditional Protoss epic visual language and in the end I think we created something that was very worthy of the Protoss’ final chapter in this game.
Aboard the Spear of Adun you are going to get to interact with different rooms or what we call sets and these sets have different functions aboard the ship.
This first set that we have is called the War Council and in the War Council you’ll talk to characters like Rohana or come to manipulate or customize a Protoss army for the campaign.
When designing the War Council we wanted something that was very dark, very foreboding and it felt totally appropriate to where Artanis would come to and wield the power of the Protoss army, and one of the coolest things about the War Council is that it will change over time. So as you progress through the campaign mission arks and unlock new Protoss units, those units will start to populate and inhabit the background of the War Council.
For example, when you get to a point in the game where you unlock the Colossus, the Colossus will start to appear in the War Council; and you’ll see other ambient units in the background there like void rays, zealots, stalkers and as you progress through the campaign it really helps to sell the fantasy of the Protoss amassing and building a powerful army and eventually you’ll even get carriers flying out of the hangar of the War Council once you unlock them in the game; it really brings this environment — this set — to life.
Another set that we have is what we call the Bridge and the Bridge is basically the command center of the Spear of Adun. Aboard the Bridge you’ll interact with different characters like Karax or interact with familiar Terran characters like James Raynor.
When designing the Bridge we wanted to create something that was very opened up to the space behind it so you could really take in the grand vistas of the epic cosmos behind itself. The only thing that it helps with is that it helps show you where you are in the different arcs of the campaign; for example when you are on a mission on Korhal while assisting James Raynor on the surface from the bridge you can see Korhal in the background and Raynor’s fleet orbiting the ships.
One of the coolest pieces of technology that is on the bridge is that device in the middle there and it’s what we call the Celestial Array; and Artanis will click on that to choose what mission arcs he wants to embark on or what missions he wants to engage.
It is basically a piece of UI, but it’s really cool and it creates a 3D holographic representation of the galaxy and it really helps sell the fantasy of what high tech Protoss is all about; so that shows how in that point in the campaign Artanis gets to choose between going to Korhal or Shakuras.
The last video I have for you guys today is a video of the Spear of Adun showing off the scale of the ship so as you’ll see here in this video it starts off at the tail end by the engine and it progresses up the side of the ship and we want to show you as a relative scale of where the bridge sits inside the Spear of Adun, so as it comes up here up to the front, that tiny spot is where the bridge is and it really helps sell the fantasy of how massive this ship is.
Our team back at Blizzard is super excited for what we have in store for you; we can’t wait for you guys to check it out, if you haven’t already please check out the demo; there’s additional content over there that you can see for the first time and that’s what I have for you guys today; thank you very much, handing over to Matt who will talk about campaign design.