Stepping onto the Blizzard campus in Irvine California you get a sense that this is the epicentre of some of the most innovative and impressive gaming franchises ever made. From the massive Orc statue that adorns the courtyard to the model building club and comic book library, Blizzard pushes its staff to embrace their inner geek.
On the day, only two missions were available to play but they definitely gave us an insight into where the title is headed and provided a detailed look at new level mechanics, the unfolding story and the many ways that players will be able to customise the Swarm to fit their play style.
Since we last saw Kerrigan
We were told the missions we played were about four missions in to the overall story of Heart of the Swarm, specifically chosen so as to not ruin the story. From what we can deduce, since the end of Wings of Liberty, for whatever reason, Sarah Kerrigan is trying to regain control of the Zerg. Naturally, she is holding a grudge against Mensk and intends to use the Zerg to take him on. However, she is no longer the Queen of Blades so retaking control will require a great deal of effort.
Lead Writer Brian Kindregan was obviously light on story specifics but stressed that Heart of the Swarm is not only the story of the Zerg but also the story of Kerrigan as the two are always going to be interwined.
“One of the defining features of the Zerg is that they never sit still, they are constantly changing, evolving and becoming something new. You can never really know what they are, you can [only] get a snap shot of what they are right now and the same is actually true of Kerrigan," he said. “Back in the days when she was an assassin for the confederacy, she would have her mind wiped after every mission so she was in this constant state of change and flux. Obviously she went through even more transformations later so those two – that race and that character – seem to fit together really well. There was never any doubt in my mind that she was not done with the Zerg and they were not done with her."
’We have got this intriguing thing going where she appears human but she has the Zergy dreadlocks and she is commanding Zerg forces in the field,” he continued. “Despite being a powerful psionic when she was a human assassin, she was never able to do anything like that so clearly not all is as it seems here. For whatever reason, she is trying to regain control of the Swarm and not all of the Zerg accept her. They don’t recognise her as the former Queen of Blades so there is some political intrigue there.”
He also let us know that both Raynor and Zeratul will appear in the Heart of the Swarm campaign. He went into a little more detail about Zeratul saying “He is definitely a guy who knows more about what is going on than everyone else. While Jim was off drinking and Kerrigan was off as the Queen of Blades plotting the destruction of everyone else, Zeratul was flying around the galaxy trying to learn as much as he could about the deeper powers at work and events that had been unfolding for a long time. Whenever he shows up there is an excellent chance that he is going to drop some sort of a bomb.”