StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Matt Morris and Brian Kindregan from the StarCraft II development team took the stage today along with Chris Metzen, senior vice president of story and franchise development, to unveil the latest developments in the upcoming expansion.

The panel kicked off with a brief overview of Wings of Liberty, discussing the story and where it left off: Raynor and Sarah reunited, with Mengsk crawling back to the shadows, his plan temporarily thwarted. We know Kerrigan is once again on the warpath in Heart of the Swarm, attempting to reassemble her brood, but "why?" is to remain a mystery until the game is released.

While many of the Heart of the Swarm campaign mechanics were originally announced back in May, much of the panel today focused on where the game has progressed since those details were unveiled. The time since the initial announcement has been spent crafting new and unique mission mechanics with even more impressive, interactive, and mind-boggling features in the planned 20+ missions.

As you control Kerrigan and rebuild her brood, it will be up to you to decide how to evolve your fighting force. While standard army mutations (upgrades like those in Wings of Liberty) will unlock at key points throughout the game, you’ll also be presented with evolution choices that will take you to remote locations to obtain the genetic code needed to advance.

In one example, the zergling is given a choice to evolve one of two ways. In your first choice, you go to attack indigenous leaping creatures and harvest their DNA. By integrating the DNA of the indigenous leaping creature, you can modify your zerglings to grow wings and leap as well.  For your second choice, you're contacted by a queen on a remote world who wishes to join your brood. She’s evolved her zerglings to hatch rapidly and spawn three zerglings per cocoon, and believes her strain would be of use to you.

Each of these approximately 14 skirmishes will be a short mission that will only take a few minutes to complete, and will present both evolution choices through gameplay, allowing you to test their strengths and ultimately help you pick which genetic code you wish to splice into your own brood.

While you'll be tending to key strategic missions with Kerrigan, the swarm will be rampaging across the sector, and they'll need your guidance. Throughout the campaign your brood mothers will contact you for advice on tactical decisions as they carry out your orders on distant planets. These decisions will also determine how you’ll achieve success, providing you with bonuses to your arsenal and abilities. You’ll also have choices at key points to engage in the ‘Destruction of Worlds’ mechanic, adding a planet’s resources to your own as your swarm pours over its surface.

How will you consume the galaxy?