StarCraft 2 preview for Heart of the Swarm on display at BlizzCon 2011 last week was pretty much the same thing we saw a few months ago on the Blizzard campus. Fun as it was, we instead used our short time talking with with Blizzard's lead art director Samwise Dider to have him let us in on just how Blizzard is able to make StarCraft's three races so darn iconic.
His answer was pretty simple. "Protoss," he says, "they're basically elliptical and circular. Terran are basically angular and square, and Zerg are very erratic and organic and spiky." Sounds plain enough. But when one of the game's new units (specifically the Protoss' Tempest, a strong capital ship with some heavy anti-zerg ability) showed up on the screen during the Opening Ceremony, players immediately knew the 'toss were getting a new toy. Is it as easy as shapes?
"With Protoss," says Didier, "as long as you have a few of the basic things; big golden arcs and sweeping sort of angelic-looking wings and surfaces, you can make almost anything into Protoss. With Terran, they're all about the clunkiness, boxes, utilitarian. You take em out of the box, they're ready to go."
And the Zerg? They're "just a gumbo of teeth and snot and bile," according to Didier. "We wrap them in the movement of a snake or a spider or a roach, there's your Zerg stuff." Boiling these races down into their elements like that is just another reason why this company, and its games, are so incredibly popular. "It's very easy to tell these races apart, because they are so diametrically opposed," Didier concludes, before deconstructing the series completely: "Gold, gray, brown."