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Why you should spend the weekend playing Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
When Wings of Liberty was released on July 27, the launch venue over at Funan the Digital Mall Singapore curled around the building twice over. We spoke to Brian Kindregan, Lead Writer for Blizzard Entertainment Inc and story developer for Starcraft II and we’ll let him convince you why you should be huddled over your computer taking out Zerg over the weekend.
1. Deep Character Development
Jonathan Ho: Wow, Lead Writer for Starcraft 2, how difficult was that? What was the most important thing?
Brian Kindregan: Being true to these characters and having their personal stories, what’s dear to them, what they’re experiencing, having those believable and real and part of the bigger story is the most important thing. Plus having Chris Metzen involved on a daily basis helped a lot, after all the Starcraft universe and the characters within are developed by him.
2. Tricia Helfer (Six from Battlestar Galactica) is in it
Jonathan Ho: So, we’ve heard that Tricia Helfer provides the voice for Sarah Kerrigan. Did you try to make up excuses to meet her or get her over to your place?
Brian Kindregan: I do go to the recording sessions, I haven’t yet been to a session with her but I hope so soon.
3. Great Storyline
Jonathan Ho: How difficult was it to tie in all the Starcraft novels, comics and heritage from the first game including Brood Wars?
Brian Kindregan: It was really tricky because obviously each medium has its drawbacks and limitations. Essentially you tell different stories through each media, it can be difficult to track. The important thing is that you really understand who these characters are and once you hit their motivations and you play the role in the Starcraft universe, it all comes together.
4. A Greater Storyteller
Patrick Chew: You have a degree in film, how different is it to write for games?
Brian Kindregan: It’s still story telling. I was a storyboard artist, its still story telling through drawing but basically staging camera angles and refining screenplays for film. The differences are only on the surface and though film is a powerful medium, it’s very passive, the audience is passive and watching the story unfold; with games, you have to get ready to interact and take control. It’s two different mindsets. The single campaign in Wings of Liberty really pushes the boundaries with what you can do with story telling.
5. Commitment to Kick Ass Gameplay
Patrick Chew: That commitment to quality was probably why it took 12 years to finish?
Brian Kindregan: Blizzard doesn’t just want a pretty good game, they want a perfect game. “When it’s ready.” That’s their philosophy.
Patrick Chew: What’s Jim Raynor up to these days?
Brian Kindregan: It’s been 4 years since the events of Brood War, everything that Jim has really suffered many setbacks and it has taken its toll, this rebellion against Arcturus Mengsk and the Dominion. When we meet him, he’s been living a hard life out on the edges of space. He’s a man on edge, wondering if he can make the rebellion work. He’s angsty and I felt it was the perfect launch pad.
Jonathan Ho: Do you have a favourite race within the game?
Brian Kindregan: Not from a storytelling perspective. Each race brings something fun to the table. I love how crazy the Terrans are, trying to understand how the Zerg think is really interesting. But I love the Protoss, their history and high technology in multiplayer.
6. You can trust a Lead Developer who plays World of Warcraft
Jonathan Ho: When we first met, you were just logging into World of Warcraft, so very quickly, tank, dps or healer?
Brian Kindregan: Dps.
Jonathan Ho: Have you downed Arthas?
Brian Kindregan: Unfortunately not! I’ve been busy with Starcraft 2.
Jonathan Ho: There are two other games to be released, the Zerg and Protoss campaigns, will it take another 12 years?
Brian Kindregan: It definitely won’t. All the software is there, we won’t have to re-invent the wheel.
7. Play off local Battle.net Servers eventually
Patrick Chew: There are talks that Blizzard will be launching servers South East Asia with an office in Singapore, will we see World of Warcraft servers out of here?
Brian Kindregan: The primary focus is making sure that Starcraft is as polished it can be for a great in game or Battle net experience.