It’s the common consensus that StarCraft 2’s story is rather meh, especially compared with StarCraft 1’s grittiness and complexity. Whereas SCI had political intrigue, twists & turns, multi-layered characters, and themes that spoke to real-world issues such as xenophobia & changing societies, SCII chose to go a different route with much simpler character motivations, a recurring MacGuffin, and the introduction of space Satan.
There’s also been a lot of criticism over SCII’s story, which is deserved, but I rarely see anything that’s actually constructive or positing possible ways the story could’ve been done right.
So, as the title says, how would you rewrite StarCraft’s story?
This doesn’t just have to be just SCII’s plot, as there were quite a few things that could’ve been improved with SCI’s story as well. I’m also not asking about gameplay in the campaign, though certainly gameplay would be (or at least should be) informed by lore.
Although I don’t have anything cohesive myself, some personal things I would’ve liked to see:
- Take out Amon, and the physical Xel’Naga species, as a whole. The Xel’Naga worked better as part of the mythology of this universe rather than actual creatures inhabiting it.
- If SCII needed a big bad for the three races to unite against (which admittedly was cool in concept for the finale), make it Duran/Narud, as he was already a prominent figure in the Brood War. It could be that if the Xel’Naga were just mythical figures, then like in some real-world belief systems some would go to extreme lengths to prove their idea of “god” was correct. In Duran’s case, he created the hybrid thinking that they were the true image of the Xel’Naga, and damn anyone who thought otherwise.
- Make the hybrids actual characters. In this case, I really wished Maar was expanded upon beyond just a one-mission boss. As the hybrid were pretty quickly reduced to just being another enemy the game threw at you, I would’ve liked to see what their budding motivations and personalities were. If Duran was to be the primary antagonist, Maar could’ve been the secondary one.
- WoL lacked consequences, HotS was driven by a shallow & confused motivation, and LotV forgot about the more grounded stories that made the StarCraft universe so interesting to begin with. It makes me think that the story wasn’t planned out, and that it was written as things went along. An actual outline needs to be written beforehand or else the story just meanders and becomes a muddled mess.
- All three races exist concurrently. Raynor, Kerrigan, Artanis, etc. all are living and existing at the same time. So what were Artanis and Vorazun up to during the events of WoL? Were Kerrigan and Zagara just faffing around looking for poorly-defined plot devices when not taking over worlds? Are we to believe Arcturus was just sitting around while his enemies were very clearly conspiring against him? Even if each campaign was just focused on a specific set of characters, there needs to be some hint as to what the other major characters are doing in the meantime.
- Although a broad suggestion, I would’ve liked to see the return of the more grounded and complicated elements of the SC story. The shifts in allegiances, having to adapt to new stratagems, and clashing of ideologies were things that made SCI’s story so impactful. Missions like New Gettysburg, The Culling, and The Trial of Tassadar were great at expressing just how complex this universe is. A simpler story may appeal to a more mainstream audience, but the flaw in that thinking is that an RTS game isn’t exactly a mainstream form of media, so the story is trying to appeal to people who most likely wouldn’t even bother to glance at it while simultaneously off-putting people who would actually give it a chance.
I have more I would change, but for sake of time and in interest in opinions, I want to see other people’s vision of an ideal StarCraft story.