Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Chris Metzen Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2009, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Articles, StarCraft 2 News

Hi, I am Medievaldragon. I had the opportunity to visit the Blizzard Entertainment Headquarters to play the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single player campaign. I barely played through six missions, but I can tell you it was an AWESOME experience from a lore nerd point of view.

After hours playing the game, I asked Chris Metzen, Blizzard’s senior vice-president of Creative Design many questions about the single player and its relevance with the printed media such as the novels, manga and comic book. Here is our interview coverage with Chris Metzen.

TRANSCRIPThttp://www.blizzplanet.com/blog/comments/

Blizzard Quote:
I was playing the single player, and I saw something very interesting.  The mission is titled Tooth and Nail.  It is set in the protoss shrine-world Monlyth.  I noticed these protoss are the Tal’drim tribe, which is interesting because this is the name of the tribe in Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy by Christie Golden—shown in book two: Shadow Hunters.

The Tal’drim in this book are however known as The Forged.  They were among the protoss who were abandoned and left behind during the Invasion of Aiur.  Most of the protoss evacuated through the warpgate to reach Shakuras, and to avoid zerg from reaching Shakuras, they sealed the gateway leaving behind many protoss to their own fate.

Jim Raynor and Fenix stayed behind to make sure the Zerg wouldn’t reach the gateway.  These protoss survivors were deeply affected emotionally reliving their abandonment by the Xel’Naga, left behind to despair. Their faith in the Khala was affected, and they eventually rejected the sanctity of the Khala.

The Tal’drim survived thanks to a mysterious patron who protected them from the Zerg, deep in the forbidden caverns of Aiur.  This patron granted the Tal’drim known as The Forged a special drug named Sundrop which inhibits chemically the Khala without cutting off their head appendages.  In short, the Tal’drim are effectively blocked from their psychic commonality with the other protoss survivors in Aiur known as Those who endure, and are unable to read their thoughts.  It’s as if the Tal’drim had devolved to be like those protoss from before the Aeon of Strife, before the Khala was taught by Khas.

My question to you is, Are these other Tal’drim protoss in Monlyth also under the influence of Dark Archon Ulrezaj?

Metzen: How do I answer that.  Are the Tal’darim influenced by Ulrezaj?.  That’s still playing out.  To some degree it’s the same group, but the group might be larger than what you saw in SHADOW HUNTERS specifically.

In the first two missions set in Mar Sara, players have access to the Joey Ray’s Bar and can interact with Jim Raynor who is drinking.  There is a piece of newspaper attached to the bulletin board on the wall and you can interact with it. It says the Zerg has returned to invade the fringe-worlds and Emperor Arcturus has recalled the Terran Dominion forces to return to the core-worlds, leaving the fringe-worlds to fend on their own.

Jim Raynor heard the call for help, and rescued 800 civilians, including an orphan girl,  from a place known as Meteor Station – a Kelmorian Mining Post.  The lore fan-spider-sense in me tingled wildly. This is quite interesting, because the only place the fans have ever heard of this place: Meteor Station, was in the short story by Grace Randolph titled Last Call.  This short story is from the Starcraft: Frontline Volume 3 by Tokyopop.  Are we going to meet some of these characters, locations and plots from the mangas in the Single Player?

Metzen I think in general with the novels we’ve been doing recently with Christie Golden and definitely a lot of the manga short stories we’re definitely trying to season the game and the ancillary fiction with as much ideas, either in cross-pollinated ideas as possible.  We always like taking little hooks from one thing or another and translating into those different medium stories.  It just feels a little more contiguous ultimately.  It’s kind of interesting that these names and these ideas are being leveraged across the board.

So I think with the Tal’drim specifically there is definitely a tie there to the events happening in the Dark Templar trilogy but it’ll probably play itself out on a much longer basis.

I am definitely loving all these lore references found throughout my single player hands-on experience,  While in the Hyperion, I visited the Cantina Room and met Mr. Graven Hill, the local black market pirate.  Jim Raynor can hire different Kel-Morian mercenaries from him to help you in some of the tough missions for a price.  This really excites me for a very good reason.  I am a subscriber of the Starcraft comic book by Wildstorm comics.

As it stands, in the comic book, the War Pigs are working for the Terran Dominion, and they have been ordered to hunt down and kill Jim Raynor. However, I am guessing that at some point if the Terran Dominion abandons the War Pigs to the Zerg like they did with General Duke, and Sarah Kerrigan, and like they are doing in the present with the fringe-worlds, the War Pigs might take a turn and join the rebels as mercenaries. Are we going to eventually hire the War Pigs in Starcraft II at the Cantina?

Metzen: Interesting, will we meet the War Pigs in StarCraft 2?  I think, as it stands, they don’t make an appearance in Wings of Liberty specifically.  But we’ll keep it in mind, because we’ve been enjoying where the comic series has been going and there’s potentially a lot of rich characterization there so we’ll see down the road.

During my tour through Blizzard’s Starcraft II offices I saw on the wall a poster of various character animation portraits that will be used in the game’s interface. I saw Starcraft: Ghost’s Nova’s portrait.  I also saw Gabriel Tosh in the mission titled Mining Your Own Business set in the planet Redstone III.  I am psyched to see this character too because he is going to appear in the Pocket Books novel titled STARCRAFT: GHOST SPECTRES by Keith DeCandido on sale March 30, 2010 and he also appears in the Tokyopop manga titled STARCRAFT: GHOST ACADEMY on sale January 1, 2010.

I also saw Reporter Kate Lockwell in the single player, a character that also appears in the STARCRAFT: FRONTLINE manga.  Are we going to see Nova and Colin Phash (the telepath boy)? This boy was introduced in the short story War-Torn in the Starcraft: Frontline Volume 2 and 3, and has been confirmed to appear in Starcraft: Ghost Academy too.  Since we are seeing Gabriel Tosh from that manga in the game, are we going to see Colin Phash in the single player?

Metzen: I’m not as sure about Phash making an appearance in the game specifically but I think we’ve said before Nova’s certainly a character that is near and dear to us and we’ve got plans for her [in] the Ghost Academy manga and the upcoming novels Spectres as well.  So, yea, we’ve worked a little cameo of Nova in but I’d had to give away exactly how she plays into the story. It’s pretty cool [and] it’ll feel worthy for those fans of the character that never actually got to play her in her own title.

During my single player hands on experience I read in a piece of newspaper the name Michael Liberty.  That really intrigued me.  This is the same reporter who debuted in the Pocket Books novel Starcraft: Liberty by Jeff Grubb.  He has made a few cameos in Starcraft: Queen of Blades by Aaron Rosenberg and in the Tokyopop manga short story titled Newsworthy by Grace Randolph in the Starcraft: Frontline Volume 2.  Are we going to see Michael Liberty reporting news from the rebels’ side through clandestine broadcasts on the TV screen at the Cantina Room?

Metzen: I think Liberty actually does not show up in this campaign.  We had talked about it a lot earlier on but because he’s so extreme in his views where he’s so anti-government that we needed leverage, we kind of needed to create a new reporter that was a little more even in the kind of stories that she could report.  But I still hold out hope that we’re going to get Liberty in because he’s potentially a really cool character to use.

There is an interesting concept played out through the short story Do No Harm by Josh Elder.  A Terran Dominion scientist has been capturing Protoss and experimenting with their DNA to create a Human-Protoss hybrid prototype.  There have been other previous prototypes, but this one in particular is pretty strong and uses Ghost technology to stealth. The Terran Dominion plans to create an army of these hybrids to protect the core-worlds.  Are we going to see a follow-up of this play out into the Single Player? This guy is pretty much the Rexxar of Starcraft.

Metzen: I think that one, for now, is kind more of a one-off.  I don’t think there’s any plans to follow up on that theme anytime soon in terms of the game itself, in terms of the game story.  But I dig that story a lot that I think it’s more of just a really cool story by itself.

I remember you said in Blizzcon 2007, there were plans to add a planet encyclopedia into the Star Map where players could have the opportunity to learn some lore about each planet. Is that still the plan?  I didn’t get to see much of that in the single player build I just played.

Based on the build that you guys have been playing today we’ve pulled back a degree of that.  Most of that was a design decision, a UI decision, [where] we wanted the interface to be as clean as possible.  The current iteration is very much the one we’re running with barring some minor changes that could happen, but I think we’ve pulled a little bit more away from the grinding Encyclopedia Galactica idea that you were talking about.  It just didn’t take the shape that we were anticipating.

In this instance I think “less is more”.  We’ve still got a lot of lore based on a lot of the planets and their histories and their unique environments and things like that so a lot of that does inform the story and then per some of the blue screens or whatever there’s some data there that gives you a sense of the context of each planet but it probably won’t take as grand a shape as some of the things we were chasing earlier on.

In Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy, book three: Twilight we learn that Zeratul has been moving from place to place these past four years using the Xel’Naga gateways that are revealed to be spread all across the galaxy. Jake Ramsey and Zamara were stranded in a snowy planet for example, before entering the coordinates to reach a tropical planet where they find Zeratul’s ship.  Is it me, or are there breadcrumbs in the novel hinting that we will explore other star systems in the single player by using these Xel’Naga gateways?

Metzen: I think at some point it’s reasonable that we’ll use those Xel’Naga gates and explore the unexplored.  It’s hard to answer in terms of giving anything away for StarCraft II but we wouldn’t have built them [laughter] if we weren’t going to use them.

That’s interesting.  You know, I don’t know off the top of my head.  I don’t think I’m the guy to answer that one. [coughs, I’m not authorized to ...]

The Snipers?

Metzen: Right.

[we all laugh—this is a joke between Metzen and I referenced back to our previous video interview during the New York Comic Con 2009 (February) when I asked him about Gilneas. They have big plans for Gilneas, but he couldn’t say anymore because there were snipers on the roof that you know ... would shoot him. As he said this, he was looking at the roof—the snipers referring to Blizzard Public Relations Department.]

What has been your personal experience trying to cram up all this lore from the novels, the manga and the comic book into the single player as one solid integrated continuity of the Starcraft universe? We know that you had to split the Starcraft II single player game into three separate episodes: Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void to fit all the lore.

Metzen: Right.  How do I respond.  I think we haven’t gone out of our way to cram all the lore from comics and all that stuff into the game.  Really we’ve been building the game’s story for so long that things like the Dark Templar trilogy or all the things you see in the manga really have just kind of organically spun out of what we were building anyway.

The trick to StarCraft II now being in these three installments is that there was a lot to play with in the first place.  We had 10 years worth of expectations and stories we wanted to chase and arcs of these characters that we wanted to explore.  So we came packing with a lot of ideas, and the idea of separating each of these chapters into their own boxed product essentially allows us to really round out each race’s stories without having to throw a bunch of stuff out.

We actually get to say everything [that] we set out to say in terms of story and we’re very proud of how Wings of Liberty has come off and I love the ending.  I can’t talk about it, obviously, but I really love Raynor’s arc and I feel everything [that] we wanted to engineer into his great journey – in his way, his redemption for what he feels are past mistakes – I really feel that we got all that in there.

While it might start on a bit of a lower note, this is not necessarily a super human guy at the height of his game at the start of the game, he definitely finds his feet very quickly and becomes the man we need and expect him to be over the process of Wings of Liberty.  It’s just been very cool to see all that come together and have all the other Ancillary lore really inform the story as its taking shape as well.

Special thanks to Chris Metzen, Shon Damron, CW, Karune and Bob Colayco for inviting me to this single player press event.  And to Troglodyte from StarcraftWire.net for compiling the transcript.

Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight Video Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, StarCraft 2 News

On June 13th, Christie Golden had a public appearance and signing schedule at the Book Revue in Huntington, New York—where she also read a few pages from the World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King hardcover book.  This book made the New York Times Bestseller Hardcover List twice in a row barely four days after its official launch into bookstores.

I had the opportunity to ask Christie Golden what her feelings were after hearing how successful the sales of her ARTHAS novel was, and interviewed her to ask questions about Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight.  Most of the questions were submitted by the lore community. Christie Golden answered all of them.

I read this book, and I can tell you it is amazing. Many things are revealed. There are a few cliffhangers that will be answered in Starcraft II eventually. And you will learn the shocking truth of the Xel’Naga and the purpose of their experiement with the Protoss and the Zerg.  There are many twists awaiting you.  Your crave for the Starcraft II single player will be increased a hundredfold.

Watch our video interview with Christie Golden for some teasers.

Christie Golden: Book Revue Videos

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

I had the opportunity to travel to Huntington, New York to witness the World of WarCraft: Arthas event held there by Christie Golden at the Book Revue Bookstore.  I had a brief time to ask her questions about the upcoming StarCraft: The Dark Templar, TWILIGHT—the last book of the trilogy that hits bookstores on June 30th.  The community-submitted questions for the most part were answered.  There is something in the video that fans who fill up wikis need to edit.  It has been decided there won’t be a Warcraft Trilogy. All three books will be stand-alone books. The event organizer was very kind to let us do the interview in a secluded office to minimize background noise, and allowed me to take video of the speech and book signing.  I appreciate it.

After the interview, Christie read many pages from World of WarCraft: Arthas to the audience that came to see her. She read the prologue and the scene where Arthas was ordained at age 19 into the Order of the Silver Hand.  Next, she let the audience ask questions about the book, followed by the book signing session.  I can tell the crowd was excited and happy to meet and shake hands with Christie Golden.  There were people of all ages there: children, teens, young adults, over age 40.  All young at heart, and World of Warcraft players. There was no age barrier. All were one.

A fan myself, I was thrilled to be there. I have to thank Nethaera and Jaime Costas (Pocket Books) too.  Jaime came to meet Christie in person for the first time, and to bring us both a fresh copy of StarCraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight.  I was so excited and thankful. Brought it to the table to get it signed by Christie, and she was like: “… wait a minute. This is Twilight?!”  It was a fun moment. Right then Jaime gave Christie her copy of Twilight. I can tell how much she loves her work on Twilight. She was so excited to hold the book on her hands.

Christie loves all the artwork Glenn Rane has done for the covers of her books, and admitted she and her husband have framed these high-quality posters that Blizzard has provided them.  “They look awesome!”—she said.  Christie Golden will be at BlizzCon in Anaheim, CA. Make sure to bring along your books or you can purchase them on the Blizzard Store within the Anaheim Convention Center.

I took video of the reading of pages from ARTHAS, some of the Q&A with the audience and the book signing.  I divided the four videos into chunks of nigh 15-20 minutes each for those who would like to watch them.

StarCraft # 1 - Simon Furman Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, StarCraft 2 News

We had the opportunity to ask questions to Simon Furman, writer of StarCraft # 1—the ongoing Wildstorm comic book, to discuss details of the first arc. He is widely known for his work on The Transformers series.  We wanted to find out how his experience benefits the StarCraft series to spice up the conspiracies and tone of the Koprulu sector, specially when the comic book is based in the time-frame of the upcoming StarCraft II single player storyline.

How does your experience with The Transformers translate into your new role in the StarCraft comic book? And what’s your feeling on taking this project?

SF: Just to reassure people, the StarCraft comic is a robot-free zone as far as I

WoW: Night of the Dragon - Live Chat with Richard A. Knaak

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon has gone to its fourth printing due to its popularity.  This is a sequel to Day of the Dragon and one of the major reasons it continues to be read by fans is because it answers the questions of many raiding players … why are we killing Sartharion in the Obsidian Sanctuary (beneath the Wyrmrest Temple)?  Where did this Twilight Dragonflight come from?  Why is Sartharion protecting these eggs?  The story came to be in the book Night of the Dragon where the Blizzard Creative Team and the book author fleshed out the backstory behind the Obsidian Sanctuary.

Remember Lady Sinestra … the black dragon that flies down into the Netherwing Ledge and seals a pact with the Dragonmaw?  This book and the Obsidian Sanctuary dungeon are tied-in with that scene from the Burning Crusade expansion. More important … where is Deathwing? The book will open your eyes to a threat looming the horizon of the world of Azeroth. Whether you have or not read the book, your chance to get all these questions floating around your mind can be answered by no other than the World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon writer—New York Times Bestselling Author Richard A. Knaak.

Attend to the live public chat with Richard A. Knaak this very Thursday, May 14 at 8pm EST to talk about Night of the Dragon.

Time Zones

US East – May 14, 8pm
US Central – May 14, 7pm
US Mountain – May 14, 6pm
US Pacific – May 14, 5pm

Note: Europeans can access the live chat on Friday, May 15:

UK – May 15, 1am
Paris – May 15, 2am

2009 NYCC Interview: Walter Simonson & Louise Simonson on World of Warcraft Comics

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

I found Walter Simonson and his wife Louise Simonson at the 2009 New York Comic Con this past February 7, and took the opportunity to jump them with a few questions about the World of Warcraft comic book.  Specially by then, issue # 15 had kicked in into newsstands introducing the return of Garona Halforcen—from the novel Warcraft: The Last Guardian.  They were at odds trying to dodge the interrogation, but they were very sweet and kind to provide as much teasing as possible for those fans who haven’t yet subscribed to the official World of Warcraft comic book.

They are a very fun couple, and I loved the experience spending some minutes with them.  The future of the comic book and the MMORPG look very interesting with more focus on the Horde, and certain events yet to come that will make the Alliance and Horde clash once more.  We already saw what happened at the Wrathgate, and the continuation of that conflict between King Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream in the Secrets of Ulduar cinematic.

I am a subscriber of the comic book and know what’s going on.  The comic book # 15-18 reveal why these two adversaries hate their guts … and Garona is in part, whether accidentally or not, responsible or blamed by the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde.  Something big happened in Theramore during the second attempt to reestablish the summit between Thrall and Varian. Grab your copy to find out.  The inclusion of Garona into the MMO is imminent no doubt. In the meantime, check out my video interview with Walter and Louise Simonson to get the excitement within you rolling.

Starcraft # 1 - Ben Abernathy Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft Comic Book, Store

The StarCraft # 1 comic book by Wildstorm Comics and DC Comics will make its official launch on May 27th at all newsstands nationwide.  This is one of the most expected comic book titles based in Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft Universe. The comic book heralds the release of the RTS sequel StarCraft II and will give us a glimpse into its single player storyline.

We approached Ben Abernathy (Wildstorm Starcraft Editor) to find out further details of this comic book beyond the solicitations to increase our expectations and crave for this new ongoing series.

What timeframe does the comic take place in?

Ben: Our book takes place in 2552.

What can you tell us about the main characters? And will known heroes such as Jim Raynor, Zeratul, Matt Horner, Tychus Findlay appear in the comic book?

Ben: The main characters are a motley group of mercenaries known as the

Christie Golden Live Public Chat - WoW: Arthas

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

The WorldofWar.net and Blizzplanet Community got a special treat courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment and Simon & Schuster, Inc. with a Live Public Chat with Christie Golden.

The main topic of this chat is the upcoming soul-chilling World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King.

Fans were able to find out how it ties-in with World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. The book ships on April 21. Below is a transcript of the chat.

Chris Metzen & Micky Neilson Pocket Star Books Lore Q&A Video Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Event Coverage, Interviews, New York Comic Con 2009, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft News, Starcraft: Ghost News, Warcraft 3 News, World of Warcraft News

On Saturday, February 7th—Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for a book signing session at the Simon & Schuster booth (1402). Thanks to Jaime Costas from the Pocket Star Books publisher; Shon Damron and Rob Tokar from Blizzard Entertainment’s Public Relations Department an interview was scheduled at the event.

Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson answered lore questions based on the StarCraft and World of WarCraft pocket star books for a length of 24 minutes. I split the video into two parts. This interview is packed with a lot of fun, spoilery and informative answers to various concerns from scenes that happened in Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, Warcraft: The Last Guardian, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal, the Warcraft RPG Books, and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon. And a massive influx of info about the upcoming books—World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King (April 21), Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight (June 30), World of Warcraft: Stormrage (2010) and Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (2010).

After watching this video interview, you are going to faint, and wake up with only one thought in mind: “you CAN’T MISS reading one of these pocket star books !!!”  Guaranteed. These books tie-in deeply into the events of the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and could we dare to say … future expansions?

I gathered lore questions from the following communities: WorldofWar.net, StarcraftWire.net, Scrollsoflore.com, Blizzplanet.com, WowInsider.com, WoW-ESP.com, Starcraft-ESP.com and WoW-Hungary

Video Part 2

Transcript

Medievaldragon: This is Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet and WorldOfWar.net. We are here to interview Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Blizzard Entertainment and Micky Neilson, Senior Writer and Voice Director of Blizzard Entertainment. I picked up some questions from the Community about Pocket Books lore. We’ll start with the Starcraft questions first.

Medievaldragon: Ulrezaj is composed of 7 dark templars according to Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, but only composed of 4 in the Enslavers 2 Episode 5B: Dark Vengeance. could you fill us in on how that happened?

Metzen: Essentially we just made a call. Originally, I think in the Enslavers campaign it was 4, but Enslavers has always been kind of quasi-canonical.  There was a lot of new fiction developed for Enslavers that we thought was really cool, but as we were developing this trilogy with Christie we knew we wanted to bring Ulrezaj back, which was kind of a cool idea, but we felt that going to 7 was better for the fiction in general. It kind of gave us more options to dig his origin out, who were all these arch-criminals that comprised him, so we felt that going with 7 just felt a little rounder. So… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Medievaldragon: Does the Umojan Protectorate and Kel-morian Combine have their own versions of the Ghost program, or is it exclusive to the Confederates and the Dominion?

Neilson: I like that question.

Metzen: Kill it!

Neilson: My answer would be that they do, and that it’s something a little bit different, something we haven’t seen yet, and something that we should definitely investigate in the future in the fiction, because it sounds like a really cool idea.

Metzen: That sounds like a dare right there.

Neilson: That’s right.

Medievaldragon: Will the Terrazine gas plot be explored in the upcoming Starcraft Ghost: Spectre book?

Metzen: Well the Terrazine and its significance to the “alleged” Ghost spectres is definitely handled in the upcoming novel Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by Decandidio. Decandido, pardon me. Sorry Keith! We definitely get into what Terrazine is, what it’s used for, and I would bet, wink wink, that we might see a bit of that play out in Starcraft 2 as well.

Neilson: Yes…

Metzen: Yes indeed.

Medievaldragon: Can we expect a sequel to Starcraft: Queen of Blades? We are missing the period between the Overmind’s invasion of Aiur and Tassadar’s sacrifice.

Neilson: Official announcement? I don’t know what’s official and what isn’t as far as…

Metzen: We’ve been working on an outline, we call it… well I’ll just say it. We call it Heir to Adun is the title of that possible novel. We’ve done a number of outline treatments on it to really dig out Tassadar’s story, and Tassadar’s nature as this kind of Twilight Messiah for the protoss people. What was really going on there at the fall of Aiur, and really digging out all the political things that were happening with the Conclave, and the Judicators, and the Templar. We definitely have a rocking story built for a novel, but we don’t have any plans yet on exactly when we would publish it or I don’t even know if we have a writer lined up yet, but we have an awesome outline for it.

Medievaldragon: Yeah, we have been expecting it for a while. (laughing) I know it takes time.

Metzen: If I had my way it would have been out already.

Neilson: It’s going to be a little while

Medievaldragon: Okay, we’re going to move to the Warcraft questions.

Medievaldragon: A fan asked:  The body of Sargeras that Aegwynn killed was said to be an avatar in Warcraft: The Last Guardian, does this mean that Sargeras’ real body is still out there somewhere? Or is Sargeras pulling a Lord Voldemort trick to ensure his return?

Neilson: Sargeras is still kicking around. You can’t put him down.

Metzen: He’s out there somewhere.

Neilson: He’s not going to stay down for long.

Metzen: Yeah totally. And I think the hooks we had for his physical body, wherever it may be are so visually stunning that I think we have to… it’s like low hanging fruit, we’re going to have to bring him back somewhere. I’d be very disappointed in us if we didn’t leverage him fully.

Medievaldragon: He would be like the ultimate encounter.

Neilson: Hmm… yes.

Medievaldragon: In The Last Guardian, Medivh attacks Garona with a spell, saying “let me show you my world Garona. Let me drive my own divisions and doubts into you. You will never know who you serve and why. You’ll never find your peace.” This is most commonly seen by fans as Sargeras cursing Garona into betraying everyone she works for… Is this true? Is that why she has been missing all these years?

Neilson: As to what’s going on with Garona, we’re launching into the second arc of the WoW comic. There are going to be a LOT of questions answered regarding Garona… why she did what she did, her whole backstory. It all ties into Med’an, this new character, who’s going to be really important to the lore. So for the community to learn a lot more about Garona, they should definitely check out the comic book.

Medievaldragon: Will there be a follow-up in the pocket books at some point?

Neilson: For Garona? Maybe.

Metzen: I didn’t hear… a cameo within a book?

Neilson: Not out of the question, I’m sure.

Metzen: Yeah, I think we’re still feeling it out. We just recently started leveraging the character again, so there’s a lot of interest in the character, so I can see us getting [cut off]

[Plays a scene from warcraft 3 of Arthas approaching the Revenants blocking the path to Frostmourne]

Guardian: Turn back mortals. Death and Darkness are all that await you in this forsaken vault.

Arthas: I doubt there’s anything down here more terrifying than what we’ve faced already.

Guardian: Believe what you will, boy. You shall not pass.

[after fight]

Guardian: Turn away… before it’s… too late.

Arthas: Still trying to protect the sword are you?

Guardian: No… trying to protect you… from it.

Medievaldragon: What were the Revenants’ motives to care for Arthas’ fate? Will it be explained in World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King?

Metzen: It’s in the book.

Medievaldragon: In the book? Alright

Neilson: Buy the book.

Metzen: It’s really good. Really good… Christie just rocked this book.

Medievaldragon: In World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, we see a glimpse of Malygos proposing to the Wyrmrest Accord the purge of the mages prior to the Nexus War. Kalecgos departs to Outland at the end of the book. What’s Kalecgos’ stance with the Nexus War?

Metzen: Interesting. I think Kalecgos is loyal, he’s a blue dragon. Their function is to kind of police mortals’ use of magic, so to some degree he wants to do what Malygos wants him to do. He’s loyal, he’s a team player, but I also think that Kalecgos has a huge heart. I think he has a deep conscience, and I think he’s terrified of how these things have just spun out of control, and I think he regrets the loss of life and probably looks at it as a totally heavy handed solution to the problem, so I think he’s probably a little torn.

Neilson: And he’s spent a lot of time with mortals at this point too. He’s grown close to some mortals with the whole Anveena thing and everything else, so he would definitely be torn. His feelings would be torn.

Medievaldragon: He was a bit arrogant at the beginning, but his experience with Anveena kind of softened him.

Neilson: Absolutely.

Metzen: Right, kind of drew him closer to the experience of mortals. Totally.

Medievaldragon: Now that Malygos is dead, will there be a new Aspect of Magic (such as Kalecgos); or is that position gone forever? Could a dragon of another flight become the magic aspect… temporarily… for example: Krasus… who is an Archmage?

Metzen: I would say to question A: (slowly motions with his lips toward the poster of the World of Warcraft: Arthas book).

Neilson: (laughing)

Metzen: And to question B, I would say no.

Medievaldragon: Okay… I kind of gotcha…

(all laughing)

Medievaldragon: What can you tell us about the upcoming Worlf of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak?

Neilson: Stormrage is gonna be fantastic. What’s really cool about Stormrage is that we will be able to actually live the Nightmare, through this book, that’s going on in the Emerald Dream turning into the Emerald Nightmare. One of the coolest elements, in my opinion, is that the nightmare is starting to spread into Azeroth, and we’re going to touch on that in the manga as well, so we’re going to have a story that touches on, for instance, what is King Magni’s worst nightmare? And because the Nightmare is spreading into the reality of Azeroth, we’ll be able to see that. The book’s going to be fantastic, answers all kinds of questions, what’s been happening to Malfurion, what’s going on, who’s behind it… al those questions are going to be answered.

Metzen: I would just say too, I mean Malfurion’s always been, personally, my favorite Warcraft hero. He’s my favorite to write, so I’ve waited a long time to get this guy back into the mix, and have him play a significant role in the shaping of Azeroth. He’s a mega player, and he’s been off the scene.

Neilson: For a long time.

Metzen: I’m really stoked on this book. We really designed the essential backbone of the book to be just hyper Druid overload. If you’re a WoW Druid, this book’s for you. It features all the major druid characters, and players. I love it. Love it, love it.

(Video Part 2 Transcript)

Medievaldragon: Will there be a cameo of Jarod Shadowsong in World of Warcraft: Stormrage? The official website’s encyclopedia says he departed the druids and was never seen again.

Metzen: I don’t remember. For some reason, I don’t think so. But we would be lovingly surprised if he did. He doesn’t play a significant role in it.

Medievaldragon: Aaron Rosenberg’s World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness helps modernize a lot of the lore revolving around Warcraft II.  One aspect of the lore that fans have been wondering about, is Gilneas.  Was Gilneas scheduled to make an appearance in that book, but had to be trimmed out, or will Gilneas be revisited in future books?

(Neilson grins at Metzen)

Metzen: Ah, ah, I would say we have some very, very, Very interesting plans for Gilneas. (Metzen docks slightly looking toward the ceiling) But there are snipers up in the roof that would shoot me if you know … (everyone laughs). We are doing some awesome stuff for Gilneas.

Neilson: … stay tuned!

Metzen: Stay tuned.

Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal reveals Cho’gall was killed. Or was he?  How did the Twilight’s Hammer survive the Broken Isles’ massacre?

Neilson: Cho’gall is gonna make a come back. He’s not dead. You are going to see he will play a large role in the second arc of the World of Warcraft comic book. So, exactly how he survived … he’s just too tough. Two axes to the chest weren’t enough to take him down. He just appeared dead. (Laughs)

Metzen: Mostly.

Medievaldragon: If he is not decapitated, he is not dead.

Neilson: That’s right.

Metzen: That’s right.

Medievaldragon: (jokingly) … and that doesn’t mean he can’t return. Somebody plugs the head back to his body and …

Metzen: Necromancers.

Neilsen: Necromancers.

(Everyone laughs)

Medievaldragon: What’s happening to Blood Elf culture (especially Rommath’s role in it) now that the Sunwell was restored with M’uru?

Metzen: What we showed at the end of Burning Crusade, like during the whole Sunwell event, was that the warped naaru M’uru was kinda transformed back into his purest self, purest light that Velen used to reignite the Sunwell, as a fountain of Holy power, as much as it is arcane. So the suggestion was that over time the Blood Elves will start to actually use real Light power, in a healthy way, instead of dominating it. So what will likely happen over time is a slow transition, but what Velen did was give them a chance to redeem their civilization, a chance to get back to their roots, a chance to upset their magical addiction. So that kinda thing will probably gonna play out very slowly.  We didn’t talk much about it in Wrath of the Lich King, but it is a theme I love a lot, but it has to be played out very slow.

Medievaldragon: I like that aspect of redeeming them … Does that mean that at some point they are going to get back to their roots and restore the Council of Tirisfal?

Metzen: ha-ha! … no … comment.

Medievaldragon: Are we ever seeing the Scythe of Elune questline and how it all tied into Karazhan and the Dark Riders explored in a future pocket book?

Metzen: I will say there are elements of the Scythe of Elune questline that are not … over … (long silence).

Neilson: (laughs)

Metzen: … (longer silence) Alright, that’s all I’m saying. (laughs)

Woah, WOAH! (Metzen jokingly makes a motion with his hands and legs as if tight-rope walking).

(Everyone laughs)

Medievaldragon: Quick sand! Quick sand!

(laughs)

Medievaldragon: Is the existence of Finnal Goldensword canon?  She’s Admiral Proudmoore’s half-elf daughter.  If so, are there plans to introduce her in the pocket books?

Metzen: I’m sure this will be controversial, but I don’t necessarily consider her canonical. And based on that, we don’t really have any plans to use her in the future. I think she appeared in one of the Warcraft RPG books. It’s not a character I have thought out about, so at this point I’m not sure if we are gonna do much with her.

Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King will devote a portion of its time to the love triangle between Arthas, Jaina and Kael’thas.  Now, many of us have played Warcraft III and have also run Gnomeregan, so, we’ve got to ask … Where does Thrall factor in?

I’m not quite sure of what that questions means.

Neilson: Well, I think they are wondering: Is there a romantic interest between Thrall and Jaina? I think that’s what it’s implying.

Metzen: Ohh …

Medievaldragon: Not sure—why they are asking about Gnomeregan.

Metzen: Yea, it’s worded a little weird. Well, I would say the whole Kael’thas, Arthas, Jaina triangle thing is totally handled in the book. And it’s R-r-really good! But it explains the whole relationship, and how that all went down. Christie just handled it perfectly. So I’m excited to really see that.  But relative, the question was, is there a little you know … green fever going on with Thrall and Jaina?  umm … (takes deep breath) … I don’t know, I know people are kinda fascinated a little about that but …

Neilson: (laughs)

Medievaldragon: Ohh … I know now what they meant. In Gnomeregan, there was a punch card in binary code that when you decoded it, it reads: “Thrall and Jaina in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”

Neilson: Ohhh!

Metzen: Right, right. I don’t know, I would say I try to be pretty conservative with all that stuff. I would like Thrall to settle down with a nice green girl…

Neilson: (laughs louder)

Metzen: …you know, and have little green babies. I’d like the dynasty of Orgrimmar to be pure blood, right. But you never know. I hope he keeps things together and doesn’t do something stupid before we can actually build this stuff in the game. So … you know Thrall.

Medievaldragon: Hormones …

Metzen: What’re we gonna do.

Medievaldragon: What should we expect in World of Warcraft: Arthas and how does it ties-in with the game?

Neilson: I think one of the things that are really, really amazing about ARTHAS the book is … you play Classic WoW, right, so the whole time you are running around. The Lich King is basically sitting there on his throne. So the question is: What’s going on? What’s going through his head? So this book actually gets you inside his head during that time. You will find out what was going on. Really be able to get inside the mind of evil. Getting inside the mind of Arthas. Find out what makes him tick. Even when he was saying things to Uther, when he disbanded the paladins, and things like that. Really gonna go indepth on that to find out what was going on inside his head. All the layers. Christie did a great job putting in all these different layers of what’s happening. So there’s the dialogue that we heard in the game, but there is much more deeper story that you won’t get unless you read the book.

Metzen: He effed up with himself.

CGI Interview: The Making of Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

I am glad I subscribed to a few CGI Animation and 3D community newsletters back in the days when I used to promote and recruit staff for the Starcraft Chronicles unofficial fan CGI film, a few years ago.  CGChannel has announced their latest interview with Blizzard Entertainment’s CGI Artists Jeff Chamberlain and Fausto De Martini to talk about the making of the Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer. This three-pages interview contains four never-seen-before pre-rendered footage video clips. The interview covers which techniques and software tools were used to create the Sindragosa frostwyrm, Arthas, Frostmourne and the special effects of Arthas sweeping away the snow to reveal the ice floor.

This interview can be a dream for those who are CGI students or aficionados, and to those who would love to join the Blizzard team at one point. It will help you know how the different teams work the pipeline. Read the full interview. Help others find this awesome interview by commenting at N4G.

Blizzard cinematics are popular in part because of the excellent animation of characters, effects and camera work. Does Blizzard use Motion Capture or other technologies to achieve this level of animation?

We’ve built a team of really strong keyframe animators, and we have always keyframed our animation—and we prefer it that way. As I said, we strive for a hyper-realistic look, so our characters proportions are way augmented from what they would be in real life. As a result, they would tend to look a bit odd if they moved like someone with normal proportions would. Keyframed animation allows us to move our characters in a stylized way that fits the overall look. Also, there’s something about the level of quality you can get from a keyframed animation compared to a motion-captured one.

We have used motion capture a lot for getting a realistic handheld feel in our cameras, and in the interest of creating more and better content, we’ve looked into using motion capture as a tool during previsualization. Having the ability to quickly try out different angles and layouts for a shot by utilizing the speed of motion capture is very compelling from a director’s viewpoint. As far as the final frames go, we plan on sticking with our stylized keyframed animation.

The reanimated corpse dragon in the Lich King cinematic is beautifully executed in its design, modeling, effects and animation. Can you tell us a little bit about the tools and techniques used in those sequences?

We approached the sequence in which Arthas raises the frost wyrm in exactly the same manner as we approach all of our projects. We start with a loose script written by a few cinematics guys: Blizzard Entertainment’s vice president of creative development Chris Metzen; and the leads from the game team. The idea then moves to storyboarding and 2D concepting. Once that’s done, we start pre-visualizing the sequence. Modeling, animation, and production tech tend to then take over for a while, generating the meat of the project. Finally, finishing (lighting and compositing), effects, and matte painting take it all home.

Wrath of the Lich King was a project with a lot of firsts in our pipeline. It was the first time we used Maya to animate and lay out every shot, the first time we rendered every shot in Renderman, and the first time we used Nuke to composite. Some other products we use are 3ds Max and Mudbox for modeling, Mirage for storyboarding, and anything we can get our hands on for effects and matte painting.

World of Warcraft # 1 Comic Book - DC Comics Walter Simonson Q&A

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzard Entertainment Creative Design Director Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment writer Micky Neilson, and Wildstorm comic book artist star Jim Lee unveiled the World of Warcraft: The Comic Book on San Diego Comic Con 2007 by the end of July, and at BlizzCon days later. You may read the original press release.

Blizzplanet caught the attention of a free sampler days before the official announcement (Image Scans). And immediately sent a heads up to Kotaku and Newsarama.

Today, we talk with Walter Simonson about the World of Warcraft comic book from DC Comics / Wildstorm where he is main writer and head-honcho of both story arcs. Walter is working alongside Jim Lee and Blizzard Art Director Samwise Didier (Covers), Ludo Lullabi (Art) and Sandra Hope (Ink).

Many know who Walter is, but to those new to comic books:  Walter Simonson is a popular and veteran American comic book writer and artist hired by DC Comics, Marvel Comics and other publishers along the past 30+ years.  Walter is known for his work and memorable legacy: The Star Slammers (1974), Metal Men, Manhunter (DC-Detective Comics), The Mighty Thor, Wonder Woman, X-Factor, Fantastic Four, and Orion among others.  You may read further recognition and awards in wikipedia. He doesn’t work alone in this endeavour.  Chris Metzen and Blizzard Entertainment walk the extra mile offering Walter collaboration and support to stay true to the World of Warcraft universe.


November 2007
Issue# 1 Cover
December 2007
Issue# 2 Cover
January 2008
Issue# 3 Cover

1. Will the Warcraft comic series be a limited or ongoing series? I’ve heard that there are plans for at least two story arcs, and after those tales are told will the comic series end or continue?—by Rowan Seven

Walter: This Warcraft comic is going to be a 12-issue story, broken into two 6-issue story arcs.

As far as future Warcraft comics are concerned, that decision is in other hands than mine.  Right now, I’m just working to create 12 kickass issues.

2. Is the amnesic main character some hero from the past, or a character that we already know of? Or is he someone entirely new? The ball was pitched during the San Diego Comic Con asking whether he was the missing King of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn. Chris Metzen and Micky Nielsen somewhat evaded the question. – by Kenzuki

Walter: You know, if Chris and Micky—somewhat evaded the question’, there’s NO way I’m going to step into the line of fire!

wink

3. Are the events of the Wow# 1 happening before or after the events of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred?—by Medievaldragon

Walter: The events in the comic book take place after World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred.

4. At what point in the timeline does this story take place?—by xlandhenry

Walter: The present.

5. The DC Direct action figures are obviously characters from the World of Warcraft comic book. So I have to ask, why is there a Draenei character and What could you tell us about Vindicator Marrad? Did the Exodar crash on Azuremyst Isle this far back in time pre-Burning Crusade?—by Medievaldragon

Walter: Actually, it was the other way around. Several of the characters in the comic were based on the action figures. I’ve picked up on some of them in the comic, fleshing them out and giving them histories.  But I’m not trying to use every figure, just ones that fit into the story.  At the moment, there isn’t a Draenei in the comic book.  No Vindicator Marrad. The Exodar crash isn’t part of this story which occurs post-Burning Crusade.

6. Will Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore, Vol’jin, Cairne Bloodhoof, Lady Sylvanas, Lor’Themar, Bolvar Fordragon, Mekkatorque or any of the other Horde or Alliance leaders appear in this comic?—by Kenzuki

Walter: Ummm, some of these characters will be in the comic as we go along.  Jaina Proudmoore for one but don’t tell anybody I said so.  Some of the other names have come up in plot discussions and may even appear but my lips are sealed.  wink

7. Chris Metzen referred to the main character as the anti-Thrall. Could you elaborate what this means? Seeing as the amnesic hero lands on Durotar, it seems he might meet Thrall in Orgrimmar soon.—by Medievaldragon & Saibot

Walter: Mmmmm.  I think I know what Chris meant but I’d really rather not put words in his mouth.  I don’t know if you can pry an answer out of him, but I think that he’s the guy to elaborate on that thought.  I have enough difficulty keeping my own thoughts straight.  As things stand now, our hero won’t be meeting face-to-face with Thrall although he will be in Orgrimmar.

8. What would be the Blood elves stance towards this hero?—by Mark_Romaneck

Walter: One of the main characters in the story is a blood elf and I like to stick to specifics rather than generalizations, except of course when I’m avoiding a direct answer because I don’t want to spoil the story.  So what I can say here is that our blood elf thinks that our hero is hot.  wink

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

9. What sort of qualities does our main hero have? Can you give an in-depth description about what makes him a good/interesting protagonist?—by Aldrius

Walter: I could but really, I prefer to let the story spin itself out in the comic rather than giving the game away here. I will say that our hero is a surprisingly effective warrior, a human who seems to have hidden talents, but a character with flaws (I don’t just mean the amnesia) that are troubling.  And potentially fatal.  For example, no matter how good you are, nobody should zone out in the middle of a battle to the death!

10. Will we see any interesting female characters in the book? (Any of note from previous WarCraft games or books.)—by Aldrius

Walter: There’s a female blood elf (see answer above) in the comic who I think is very interesting.  You’ll have to make your own judgment call about her when the comic comes out.  I myself find that Valeera is a lot of fun-cranky, sexy, independent, curious, driven, and proud.  And nicely drawn.  (g)

And there are a number of other interesting female characters who will be appearing the comic, some in lesser roles, some in major ones.

11. Will the comic book hero have any sort of redeemable qualities?—by Aldrius

Walter: You’ll never know how much I want to say that you’ll be able to redeem our guy for 5 books of Green Stamps.  But my wife tells me that nobody out there except us old guys will understand that joke.  So I’ll skip it. I do think the hero has some cool qualities-the major ones being an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and an indomitable will. But what makes the character equally interesting are the qualities he doesn’t have and is in search of. And as I mentioned above-he’s a very formidable warrior.

12. Comic books usually show narrative flashback stories, be it a character telling a past experience to someone, remembering something within his mind, or simply as a writer introduction to the issue’s plot. Can we hope to see mention of previous Warcraft eras such as the Troll Wars, the Three Hammer Wars, the First and Second Wars, War of the Ancients, etc?—by Medievaldragon

Walter: You do know this IS only a twelve issue series of comics right, not a trilogy of novels?  wink  I am using flashbacks in the course of the story, but I’m using them as revelatory memories regarding the hero’s life.  There are some mentions (sort of) of some of the deep Warcraft histories-and these definitely inform the actions of these characters—but the focus of the comic is on the present or the fairly recent past.

13. How much material from the Warcraft RPG Books (Arthaus) and pocket books did you use for the first 6-issues of the World of Warcraft comic book? Could you mention which books?—by Medievaldragon

Walter: I don’t know that I’ve taken any material from the Arthaus books other than background stuff.  There’s been a ton of consulting with Blizzard so I’ve gotten a lot of information directly from them.  And they’ve been exceptionally helpful at answering my questions and making useful suggestions in a timely fashion.  (That last bit is so important I can’t tell you!)

14. Can we expect much, if any interaction with characters from the games, novels, RPG Books such as Rhonin, Krasus, Falstad, Vereesa, Eitrigg, Tirion Fordring, Taelan Fordring, Velen, Finnal Goldensword (Jaina’s half-sister), Tandred Proudmoore? Or will the series primarily revolve around characters of its own creation?—by Hawki

Walter: There is interaction within the comic between the characters created within the story in the comic and some of the characters from the game.  Just none of the ones you’ve mentioned.  See below.

wink

15. Will we see familiar Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) from cities and outposts of World of Warcraft in the comic book? That would be a nice touch.

Walter: There will be both major and minor NPCs appearing in the comic book. Some appear briefly in passing, others in more major roles.  A couple of them-but not the only NPC ones-included Hamuul Runetotem and Magatha.  Other than that, my lips are sealed-again.  Sort of.

16. Dragons have been a part of the MMORPG since early quests in Wetlands. Will the comic book portray any of the Dragon Aspects or their dragonflight, Kalecgos, Tyrygosa, Nefarian or Lady Katrana Prestor in Stormwind (aka Onyxia)?

Walter: Boy. This is REALLY a question I’m not going to answer.  wink

17. Will you be a returning writer after your 6-issues run commitment?—by Medievaldragon

Walter: I’m writing the 12-issue story, so essentially, I’m writing two 6-issue arcs that will form a single story.  Everything after that is in the lap of the gods.

18. Will there be Outland or Northrend scenes of certain characters plotting schemes remotely, or contacting spies within the Horde/Alliance? For example, Rommath the ambassador was sent by Kael’Thas to Silvermoon. Pathaleon the Calculator is seen sending a holographic transmission to Blood Elves in Bloodmyst in early quests. the Scourge has a perma-link with Arthas the Lich King alike that of the Queen Borg.—by Omacron & Medievaldragon

Walter: No scenes directly related to Outland or Northrend will be appearing in this 12-issue arc.  We will see a fair amount of plotting skullduggery in secrecy by shadowy figures including assassinations, political intrigue and such, but all of it has to do with this particular story. Some of it is, however, based on existing lore within the game own storylines.

19. Seeing as this is an alliance-centric story on Kalimdor, will Theramore, Bael’Modan or the Wildhammer village north of Ashenvale play a large role?—by Omacron & Segwarides

Walter: Well, we will visit Theramore.  A pivotal event in the story occurs there, but our heroes are really passing through.  They do stop in Ashenvale for a time. There is a fair amount of traveling in the story, which is pretty much what you’d expect when you’re on a quest.  I don’t believe that the other locations figure in this tale.

20. Will the series involve only story arcs relating to one central storyline or can we expect occasional one-shots in which the core characters are not involved?—by Nephalim

Walter: This particular series consists only of the 12 issues in this storyline.  While the main storyline concerns our protagonist, there are several other characters who have their own arcs that intersect with our man but also follow their own directions. However, all their stories will be told within these 12 issues.

I don’t know whether or not there will be any spinoffs down the road.  That’s an editorial decision.  And oddly enough, none of the editorial staffs of the various companies involved ever call me up to have me tell them what to do. Hard to believe, isn’t it?  :-pppppppppppppp

21. In World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred, Aegwynn ends up becoming councilor of Jaina Proudmoore and has remained disguised at her side ever since at Theramore. Can we hope to see Aegwynn interact with the amnesic hero at some point?

Walter: Ummmmmm – it’s entirely possible that such hope might be rewarded.

22. Will there be a third party included in the main plot in addition to the Alliance and the Horde? i.e. Twilight’s Hammer Cult, Shadow Council, Burning Blade Cult, Goblins, Scarlet Crusade, Defias Brotherhood, etc.—by Kerrah

Walter: Definitely.  I’d prefer not to give any more details right now but I will say-you’re getting warm.

23. We know we’re going to see Dire Maul in issue two, and some sketches in the sampler showed the entrance to Booty Bay. Can we get any names of other familiar places the comic will explore?—by Jawbreaker

Walter: Sorry. I don’t want to give anything away.

[Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff and the Pools of Vision, Ashenvale, Darnassus, the Eastern Kingdoms]

Who said that!?

24. Virtually all of the characters known to be appearing in the comic have distinct classes (Warrior, Rogue, Paladin, Druid, Hunter, etc.). How literally do you intend to portray their roles, spells, and abilities?—by Hawki

Walter: As accurately as possible without being too specific-sounds paradoxical doesn’t it?  What I mean is that, at Blizzard’s preference, I’m keeping things like magical spells slightly non-specific.  So nobody’s going to be specifically casting the Spell of the Thousand Dancing Insects. (Sorry-I’m watching the Indians/Boston baseball playoff game in Cleveland right now!  Midge-city back during the Cleveland/Yankee series if you’ve been paying attention.)

But Broll, a night elf Druid, will be using a staff and not a sword.  We’re trying to work with the specific instruments/tools/artifacts of the various characters.

25. Will we get to see the lore surrounding the MMO dungeons such as Dire Maul more fully fleshed out, or will it simply reiterate what we already know about them while focusing more on the protagonists and the action?—by Dalkagar

Walter: See the answer after the next question.

26. In issue# 2, the amnesic hero ends up in Dire Maul, an ancient location formerly known as Eldre’Thalas. The first 5-pages of the comic book shown at MTV Multiplayer reveals the Shaman Rehgar Earthfury is collecting gladiators to take to Dire Maul Arena and that’s how the amnesic hero ends up in Dire Maul. Will the story show any of the three dungeon NPCs of Dire maul such as Prince Tortheldrin, or the Satyrs on the east-wing? A backstory of the Shen’dralar night elves and Eldre’Thas?

Walter: I’ll answer these last two questions together.  Regarding Dire Maul, there is going to be some elaboration in the comic about what goes on there that you haven’t seen before. So I guess you could say that we’re expanding the lore a bit.  And since this Dire Maul is part of a comic and not a computer model, I expect you’ll see some stuff there you haven’t seen before.

There will be characters in Dire Maul-a lot of them actually-in the comic but they are characters created specifically for this story.  And we’re going to witness an event involving ogres (and others) that occurs regularly in a hitherto underutilized part of Dire Maul.

27. Is Rehgar a member of the new Horde, or does he have connections with a third-party organization such as Burning Blade, or Stormreaver remnants?—by Segwarides

Walter: Rehgar is part of the original Horde that invaded Azeroth under Warchief Blackhand.  Today, however, he’s part of Thrall’s Horde (the modern Horde).

28. Will the comic book go into the backstage plots and details of popular World of Warcraft MMO questlines such as the missing diplomat, The Howling Vale / Scythe of Elune (a long questline where Velinde Starsong summoned worgen wolf-men into Ashenvale), the Druids of the Fang (Wailing Caverns), Raene’s Cleansing? What other questlines could be expected in the comic book to attract the interest of fans?—by Medievaldragon

Walter: None of the above, which isn’t to say that we aren’t addressing some long-standing unresolved questions of lore.  But if I told you what we were really doing, you wouldn’t need to read the comic now, would you?

wink

29. Are we gonna get to see any significant tauren characters that plays deep into the story? As of right now even the major tauren characters have little part in most of the story arcs.—by Terrorhoof @ Deathwing

Walter: Several of the issues coming up involve tauren characters interacting with our heroes.  A couple of NPC taurens will make appearances in the story.

30. A peculiar pattern of comic books nowadays is that when they become very popular and successful they get spinoffs such as the various Superman titles. Has the team thought of a Horde-oriented comic book title? Or other spinoffs such as the Adventures of Rhonin and Krasus through time—Nozdormu chose them to help 10,000 years in the past for example. Maybe they could travel to other timelines in Warcraft’s past or future. The Adventures of Khadgar and the Alliance Expedition through space in other planets these past 20 years? That would be cool. I would buy it.

Walter: Actually, I think spin-offs in every entertainment medium are fairly common.  Comics, TV, even movies (if you count sequels).  But be that as it may, all of our effort right now is focused on trying to get these 12 issues right, and the story in hand well told. Even 12 issues of a comic isn’t a lot of material compared to, say, a novel.  I think your ideas are great but realistically, you’re talking about a LOT of comics there!

Not that I wouldn’t love to do them. I could use the work.  But right now, this is the story of our guy and his friends.  And enemies.

wink

31. Limited Series are also common in comic books. I would personally love to read World of Warcraft: The Three Hammers War # 1-6. Wow: The Troll Wars# 1-6. Wow: Ordering of Azeroth# 1-6 (featuring the Titans vs. Old gods). Wow: The Guardians of Tirisfal# 1-12 with an older Aegwynn as narrator. Other time-frames here. Has Chris Metzen and the DC Comics team considered Limited Series spinoffs? As a comic book reader and collector myself, I consider these are viable formats to expand upon the stories of the Warcraft games.

Walter: This doesn’t seem to be a question so I don’t have any answer for you. However, your suggestions certainly sound like fun. See the first two sentences of the last paragraph of the answer above!  (With any luck, my editors will see this!)


Thanks a bunch to Walter Simonson, Alex Segura (DC Comics) and Blizzard Entertainment.  Special thanks to the World of Warcraft community at the WoW official forums, Blizzplanet’s Warcraft Lore forums and Scrollsoflore.

This comic book ships out with issue# 1 on November 14. You may order World of Warcraft# 1 at a newsstand or comics shop near you, or online … Up to 75% off your new comics – MailOrderComics.com
.

Discuss the Q&A with other fans on our forum.

Links of interest:

 

WORLD OF WARCRAFT # 1 – PREVIEW (BELOW)

Starcraft II - Glynnis Talken Interview - Sarah McKerrigan

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzplanet interviewed Glynnis Talken three years ago, and with Starcraft II finally announced at the South Korea Worldwide Invitationals last May 19th, fans have gotten psyched with the idea whether the same voice actors would be hired by Blizzard Entertainment to voice Sarah Kerrigan, Zeratul and Jim Raynor.

Recently, I interviewed Robert Clothworthy, who is excited and willing to take his role once more as Jim Raynor.  Today, Glynnis Talken reveals how she feels about Starcraft II and her return as Sarah Kerrigan.  Glynnis visited the Blizzard booth at San Diego Comic Con as an attendee, and highlighted her interest in retaking her role. Read her recent August newsletter revealing her reprise as Kerrigan in Starcraft II.

1. It has been nearly ten years since Starcraft and its Brood War expansion. How do you feel about fans remembering you as a celebrity in the games industry and wanting more?

Glynnis: It’s very flattering. I started getting a rush of e-mail from gamers the moment StarCraft II was announced. And you know, even though it HAS been almost 10 years, it’s amazing, but I haven’t aged a bit…not a BIT, I tell you!

2. How has this popularity affected you and your career?

Glynnis: Being a voiceover actor, whatever popularity I enjoy is largely invisible. I don’t wear my Kerrigan wings on the street, and it’s not exactly like I’m talking on my cell phone and someone goes, “Hey, aren’t you The Rogue?” But when people find out, they’re usually tickled, and I’m delighted to make their acquaintance.

3. Have you done voice acting for other games after Starcraft: Brood War and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction? Or have you mostly focused on book writing?

Glynnis: Book writing has taken up a huge amount of my time. I still do voiceovers for other things, but the only other video game I’ve done since the work for Blizzard is Savage: The Battle for Newerth for S2 Games.

4. Do you wish to retake your role as Kerrigan in Starcraft II? Why?

Glynnis: Absolutely! Kerrigan is a great, well-written character to play, and just as fans expect high quality and consistency from Blizzard’s visuals and programming, I think they like to see consistency in casting. I mean, no one wants to see the ghost of Anakin being replaced by Hayden Christensen, right? Ahem.

5. Have you kept track of Starcraft II after the game was officially announced in South Korea? What do you like?

Glynnis: I heard the announcement from my fans before I saw anything in the media.  I attended Comic-Con this year, where Blizzard had a killer booth, and the trailers were phenomenal on the big screen! Knowing Chris Metzen’s gift for world-creating and storytelling, I’m sure he’s come up with some really cool stuff.

6. Recently Blizzard has been exploring into fields it has never been into before such as the World of Warcraft film by Legendary Pictures and the DC Comic Book. The South Park episode of World of Warcraft, which is currently nominated for the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. So it wouldn’t surprise me if Blizzard goes a step further. If Blizzard ever produce a Starcraft TV Animated Series or Hollywood film, would you like to play as Kerrigan?

Glynnis: Oh, gosh, I don’t know… Are you kidding? Of course! One of the most fun projects I ever did was recording the voice of Julie Winters for MTV’s animated series, “The Maxx.” It was great to be in an ensemble cast, playing off the other voice actors. It’d be a kick having audio, play-fights in the studio for the battle scenes. There’s a bit of debate online about the prospect of a Starcraft movie, whether it should be live-action or animation. Needless to say, I vote for animation.

7. What have you done in your career the past three years since our previous interview?

Glynnis: I’ve been very focused on my novels. Warner Books bought my Warrior Maids of Rivenloch trilogy—“Lady Danger,” “Captive Heart,” and “Knight’s Prize”—so I’ve been writing and promoting those for the last few years. In fact, I just sold “Knight’s Prize” into Russia! I’m currently working on another trilogy of stories set in Canterbury—“Lord of Shackles,” “Lord of the Hunt,” and “Lord of Exile.”  I write a new book about every nine months—kind of like making babies, I guess.

8. You changed book publisher a couple of years ago, signed with Warner Publishing and changed your name from Glynnis Campbell to Sarah McKerrigan. Why did you choose Sarah McKerrigan as your new pseudonym?

Glynnis: It was kind of an homage to the character and a nod to my gaming fans.  Unlike most “romance” novels, my books feature kick-ass warrior wenches, so the name seemed appropriate—McKerrigan (spawn of Kerrigan).

9. Could you list all the Medieval Romance novels written in the past years, including current and upcoming?

Glynnis: In addition to the books listed above, written by Sarah McKerrigan, I wrote four books for Berkley under my real name, Glynnis Campbell—the Knights of de Ware trilogy, consisting of “My Champion,” “My Warrior,” and “My Hero,” and a novella in “A Knight’s Vow.”

10. Personally I would like to see you writing a Starcraft Novel. You are part of the Starcraft scifi universe and know its storyline well. I think you could use your writing experience on a Starcraft novel. Would that be a problem with Warner Publishing if you wrote for Pocket Star Books?

Glynnis: Authors sometimes write for more than one publishing house, so that wouldn’t be a problem. But since I have a voiceover career, too, finding the TIME to write for more than one house would be tough.

11. If you were given the opportunity to write for the Starcraft or Diablo franchises, what would you like to write about?

Glynnis: Honestly, after spending so much time inventing my own worlds where I have total creative control, it would be hard for me to step back and write according to someone else’s universe. Besides, since I write historical romance, I’d probably have Kerrigan and Raynor knocking boots by Chapter Five.

12. Any upcoming public appearances at book stores or special events?

Glynnis: There’s a calendar of upcoming appearances on my website at www.sarahmckerrigan.com , and I usually do at least one booksigning a month. On August 11 at 2pm, I’ll be at New & Recycled Romances in Costa Mesa, California for a booksigning and tea.  As always, I’m delighted to meet gamer fans, even when I’m wearing my author hat, and I’m happy to sign merchandise, do photos, and give out Kerrigan hugs any time.

Glynnis Talken

aka Sarah McKerrigan…
…stories to keep you up all night!
The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch Trilogy (Warner)
LADY DANGER (#0-446-61617-6) April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART (#0-446-61616-8) October 2006
KNIGHT’S PRIZE (#0-446-61886-1) April 2007
Damsels in shining armor…riding to the rescue
www.glynniscampbell.com / www.sarahmckerrigan.com

UPDATE – March 11, 2009: Glynnis is officially not rehearsing her role as Kerrigan in Starcraft 2. Blizzard decided to take a new voice direction. Details here.

Jeff Grubb Comments On Warcraft: The Last Guardian Audiobook

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Merchandise, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, Lore, Novels, World of Warcraft News

Jeff Grubb is a legend among fantasy authors for his decades of experience in the field. He has worked for Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Magic the Gathering, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Al-Qadim, Marvel Universe, Pokemon, Thieves’ World, Wizkids, DC Heroclix and the Star Wars Miniatures: Rebel Storm.

In the Blizzard Entertainment worlds, Jeff Grubb will always be remembered along with Richard A. Knaak as the pioneers of the Warcraft novels. Jeff Grubb wrote Warcraft: The Last Guardian (2001) – the story about Medivih, Khadgar, Garona and Lord Lothar.  The story was based in the First War, inspired by Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (RTS game, 1994).

As reported a few days ago, I interviewed Dick Hill thanks to Richard A. Knaak.  Dick Hill is the professional narrator and actor that worked on the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook (Dec 2008). The Warcraft: Lord of the Clans audiobook (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian audiobook (Aprill 2009).

As a follow up to the audiobooks interview, I contacted Jeff Grubb to get his feedback concerning the reprint of his Warcraft: The Last Guardian in the audiobook format. Read the interview below.

Medievaldragon: Hi Jeff. What are your feelings now Warcraft: The Last Guardian is getting published as an audiobook, narrated by Dick Hill?

Jeff Grubb: I am delighted to hear that Last Guardian is becoming an audiobook and that Richard “Dick” Hill is going to read it. I’ve been listening to more and more audiobooks on my commute – wrapped up the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books and just finished “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union”. I’ve become a fan of the format, and pleased to see how well my story has held up over the years.

Medievaldragon: Are you ever writing a new Warcraft or Starcraft book? The fans, and myself, miss you badly. It was a great work.

Jeff Grubb: I enjoyed my experiences writing for Warcraft and Starcraft, and should the opportunity present itself, would be glad to do so again. At the moment, however, my day job is building exciting worlds, characters, and situations for Guild Wars at ArenaNet, and while they have been very understanding about me continuing my freelance writing, they have given me the hairy eyeball when the subject of working with their biggest competitors come up. So for the moment, I must demure. smile

Medievaldragon: I have some random thoughts for you that I would want you to share with fans. You quit WoW some months ago, and I am not sure if I read you returned to play with some friends afterwards. How do you feel about Khadgar in Shattrath City? Garona Halforcen is making its return in the DC Comics World of Warcraft # 15-16 too. Both follow-ups bring so many great memories from your book. Dan Liberty might show up in the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty video game.  I was a sad panda after finding out a few years ago you worked at that Pokemon gig, and later you joined the Guild Wars development team at some point. You would have done so much for the Warcraft universe at Blizzard Entertainment in my opinion. Hope to see you soon back in the Warcraft / Starcraft franchises.

Jeff Grubb: I played WoW heavily for a while, then quit, then came back earlier this year with a group of friends, then quit again. My big problem is that I play with Real World friends, who would then either outlevel me or quit to get their lives back, either option leaving my character an orphan. I had characters scattered around a half-dozen servers. As a result, I never got to end-game content – and never got to Shattrath. I’m glad to see that Khadgar survived and is pulling the races together, and wondered what happened to Garona.  If Daniel Michael Liberty makes it to Starcraft II (Originally I named him Danny, but he turned into a better character when everyone called him Mike), that would be great as well. My general attitude to my characters is to do my best by them, and not to feel bad when others continue their stories.

I also never say never, so I may yet come back to Azeroth.

Medievaldragon: Really hope you do. Thanks a bunch for responding to a community that loves and misses your work and legacy for the Warcraft franchise. Karazhan, Moroes, Khadgar, Medivh, Aegwynn, Garona, Black Morass. Great memories.

Blizzplanet Interview - Pop Cap Bejeweled WoW Addon

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzplanet had a round of questions with T. Carl Kwoh, PopCap Games Producer, about the Bejeweled Addon for World of Warcraft. This addon is expected to be among the top downloaded and played by millions of players. World of Warcraft is an addictive game, and there is a lot of things to do. However, there is downtime here and there: Fishing, waiting for the PvP Battleground/Arena queue, waiting for the LFG tool to find you a group, leveling a tradeskill, waiting for the raid group to fill up, and flying to distant locations. What to do during those downtimes? Play the Bejeweled addon without need to alt + tab to the desktop.

Is the Bejeweled addon a Pop Cap independent project? Will the Bejeweled addon be provided only from the Pop Cap website?

T. Carl Kwoh: We’re doing this independently as a third party add-on. The official place to get the addon is on the PopCap website here: http://www.popcap.com/wow though it will also be later mirrored on major WoW UI sites. This will not be offered through any sort of official patch.

Has Pop Cap Games talked with Blizzard prior to developing the World of Warcraft addon? If so, what was their stand?

T. Carl Kwoh: We showed the mod unofficially and “off the record” to some contacts at blizzard late in development and overall the response was pretty positive. However we have not approached them officially regarding this mod.

Are there plans to create new addons based on other Pop Cap games?

T. Carl Kwoh: At this time, we don’t have any plans to do other addons based around more of our games, though we certainly thought about what else could work during development of the Bejeweled mod. If there is enough interest in the Bejeweled mod, we may consider doing stuff with some of our other games down the line.

Will there be Bejeweled matches between players? If so, how many players are supported?

T. Carl Kwoh: There are friends and guild high scores lists that players can compete on, however there are no direct multiplayer games of Bejeweled in this addon.

Does the Bejeweled addon offer achievements integrated with the World of Warcraft Achievements system for accomplishing special and unique feats? Or does the addon has its own Achievement system interface?

T. Carl Kwoh: The addon does not integrate with WoW’s in-game achievements system, but rather has its own in-addon achievement and skill system. They are integrated into the Bejeweling “Trade Skill” as one time accomplishments that will net you extra skill points on your way to 375 (and eventually 450). Additionally we have Friend and Guild high scores lists that players can compete with each other on.

Any interaction or special features with Fishing tradeskill planned?

T. Carl Kwoh: There aren’t any specific hooks (hehe) that the addon has for the Fishing tradeskill, however you can scale down the window pretty small and tuck it into the corner so its easier to play while still keeping an eye on the bobber. After late stage feedback from several sources we’ve also added in quieter versions of the sounds that you can switch to in the options so that you won’t miss the bobber sounds as easily in your gem matching frenzy.

What was your goal with investing time and manpower to develop this addon free for World of Warcraft players?

T. Carl Kwoh: The goal was to create an awesome addon that a bunch of us in the office are guaranteed to be using for life, and one that we hoped other world of warcraft players could have fun with as well. Since Michael Fromwiller (the San Jose State University student who created the original “Besharded” mod) had already started the leg work it was an easy opportunity for us to support one of our fans and an aspiring developer, get something awesome made for ourselves, and get something cool into the world for others to enjoy.

Are you planning to update the addon, if needed, each time there is a World of Warcraft patch and/or add new features?

T. Carl Kwoh: We will be keeping the addon current for any patches/updates to WoW. We are already compatible with the 3.0/WotlK API changes, so when those come out we’ll just need to update the TOC file. We definitely want to keep the addon functioning, so we’ll be keeping it up to date.

There are no new features planned at the moment, however that’s not to say there won’t be feature updates down the road. However that process will be very organic and depend on interest and time of everyone involved.

Download the Bejeweled Addon at the official Pop Cap website.

Got questions of your own about the Bejeweled addon? Submit them here to forward them to Pop Cap Games for a second round of questions.

Update: WoW Insider interviewed the original creator of the Besharded addon, who now works at Pop Cap.

Women: From Punk/Metal to World of Warcraft - The Explicits Band Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews


In a macho-driven society there is no place for successful women who can both pursue a career, fulfill their dreams and be a competitive gamer. Such women are a myth. Right?  Or so shortsighted people think. World of Warcraft nowadays has a population of over 10 million players worldwide. A large percent is composed by women of all ages. I have been able to play alongside women playing Rogues or even tanking a raid with their Prot Warrior and doing a heck of a job like any man, if not better.

Today, Blizzplanet interviews a young woman age 20 who currently studies a career in college, has fulfilled her dream … to sing, compose, play the guitar and be founder of her own punk/metal band; and enjoys playing World of Warcraft. That singer you are listening right now in the background is a woman:  Renee Phoenix from The Explicits Band.

LOS ANGELES (Top40 Charts/ Explicit Records) – While her friends are consumed with college life, Renee Phoenix of the punk/metal band The Explicits was able to find time to close the books and record her self-titled debut, due out independently on Explicit Records on April 8, 2008. As a Junior at The University of North Florida, she somehow balances achieving her English degree with the demanding schedule that comes along with playing in an up and coming band. “The entire process was exciting for all of us,” she describes of the recording of the album. “I’m a very impatient person so I couldn’t wait for this project to be completed and blast it in my car.” When she is not knee-deep studying to finish her career, or singing in her punk/metal band The Explicits, Renee enjoys playing World of Warcraft.

Who are the members of the Explicits and their roles in the band?

Renee: We have Kevin Vu on lead guitars and backup vocals, Jarrod Welsh on drums, Noah Ray with bass and me, Renee Phoenix, on lead vocals and guitar. We’re all 20 with the exception of Noah who is 18.

When did the group decide to create this band and how did it happen?

Renee: I was, and still am, attending college at The University of North Florida. In my Sophomore year, 2006, I had an idea to form a band and quickly recruited by friend Jarrod on the drums. We then found a bassist, well we found and went through a few bassists, and finally ended up with Noah. We were originally a three-piece for quite some time, but I decided to add an extra guitar in there for some girth and got Kevin on board.

What type of music are you producing in this album?

Renee: We’ve been classified as everything from punk to metal to screamo. Honestly, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what the hell we are. All the material I wrote for this release came from me. I refuse to write something to stay within a certain “genre.” I write whatever I feel like writing at the time and feels right.

Are you a World of Warcraft gamer? Or do any other members of the Explicits play it? If so, what are your character races, and level?

Renee: Sadly, I’m the only person in the band that plays Warcraft. During the recording process, our engineer and producer, Stan Martell, played as well so we had something to talk about and keep us entertained. I had a level 60 rogue gnome until I deleted that account and now I’m working on another character who is a warrior gnome.

What attracts you to World of Warcraft?

Renee: I love the controls, graphics, everything. It’s a game that one can get easily addicted to. The whole aspect of role-playing is appealing to me. Oh, god that sounds sexual…let me clarify…role-playing as a different character … you know, this just isn’t going to work. I like the game, I play it often, and it never gets old.

If you had the chance to be a World of Warcraft developer for a day, what features or fixes would you do to the game?

Renee: I’d change the overpopulation in the alliance areas. Starting from scratch is somewhat annoying when you have 10 different people killing all the boars when you only need 1 more boar’s rib.

What do you think of the social network aspect of World of Warcraft?

Renee: It’s a lot of fun when people group together for raids and dungeons. I like the multi-player aspect of the game. This one time my friend ran around half naked trying to get other people to take their clothes off and managed to be successful at it. Then they all proceeded to dance together and form a train. It was hilarious.

What do you think about women gamers?

Renee: It’s very sexy. I think more women should definitely play. I mean, I find it a lot of fun. Just because you’re a girl, doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate for you to play. F*ck societies labels, do what you want to do and have fun doing it damn it.

Talking about women, where do you get all this passion and energy to sing, or as you called it recently … a war cry?

Renee: I love singing. The energy from the audience is where a lot of my passion comes from as well as the enthusiasm a lot of our fans have for our music. It’s the best feeling in the world when someone likes what you’ve accomplished and have put a lot of hard work into.

What could you tell fellow World of Warcraft fans to encourage them to listen to your music?

Renee: It’s different from what you’ve been brain drained to on the radio. Just because people like to say we’re punk or metal, doesn’t mean we necessarily are. Give us a try, as it seems to be that a lot of people, who don’t like the all-encompassing rock genre, seem to like us for some reason. So listen to us or I’ll poop on your keyboard.

The Explicits will make a public appearance on March, 28 2008 at Bourbon Street Station *Studio 80*
1770 Saint Johns Bluff Rd., Jacksonville, Florida 32246.  If you wish to listen to some of their song clips visit their official MySpace Site. The Explicits are available soon at a place near you through their upcoming Spring Tour.

SUFFOCATE – LYRICS

Hey, my conscious on the run.

It’s only cause I forgot to tell you
that you’re not the only one.

Come, and show me what you got.

My guess is better than yours as
its not what I am, it’s about what I’m not.

Whoa, come on and hate me.

My reputation precedes me.

In everything that you see.

May not be the best of me,
or of her, or of him that could be.

Nothing in the past relate.

Pledge to us your undying hate.

With these memories of few.

Suffocating me, suffocating you.

Breathe, in your fascination.

About how I overcame
how I suffered with our asphyxiation.

You, you’re not all that I got.

I hope with these last words that
I scream from my mouth, that you.

Starcraft: Dark Templar Trilogy - Book One: Firstborn Q&A with Christie Golden

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzard Entertainment and Pocket Star Books – a division of Simon & Schuster, inc., A Viacom Company – bring you Starcraft: The Dark Templar, a trilogy novel series written by Award-winning Christie Golden.  She has a track record of over a million books in print sold, fascinating sci-fi and fantasy readers.  Among her outstanding twenty-five novels and several short stories in the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror are Steven Spielberg’s novelization of Invasion America, TSR Ravenloft line (1991) with her first novel, the highly successful Vampire of the Mists; Star Trek novels: “The Murdered Sun”, “Marooned”, “Seven of Nine”, and “The Dark Matters Trilogy,” “Cloak and Dagger”, “Ghost Dance”, “Shadow of Heaven” and “VOYAGER: HOMECOMING” among others.

In the Blizzard Entertainment universes, Christie Golden has given us Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde … novels that have influenced canon content in the MMORPG.

The questions of this interview have mostly been provided by fans of the Starcraft Community.  Find out more about Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy—which immerses fans into the Protoss history, showing us a glimpse of what to expect in the Starcraft 2 storyline.

Will we see protoss characters we have been previously introduced to, such as Raszagal, Zeratul, Adun, Tassadar and Artanis? Will there be terrans such as Raynor, General Edmund Duke, Arcturus Mengsk, Dan Liberty or other characters from previous novels or from the game? What role will they play?

Christie: Yes, you will see all kinds of familiar faces throughout the series. Since this is set after Brood War, though, no Duke I’m afraid. Don’t want to give too much away, but this is a very big and important series and many of the main players in the game will make appearances. Some of them have very significant roles indeed! It’s been very exciting to be able to use well-established characters in addition to creating my own. I hope the readers enjoy it!

What timeframe is the Starcraft: The Dark Templar novel trilogy based on?

Christie: Post Brood War, about four years on. Many things have changed …and some things remain the same.

Will the novel trilogy fathom into when, where, and why the templars broke away from the other protoss, becoming the dark templar and Adun’s involvement? How much of the protoss history and culture will be covered?

Christie: You’re going to get to see a lot of protoss history revealed in this series and you’ll meet some major historical figures. Some of the most important moments in their development will be portrayed. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll learn some things that will, I hope, be exciting and fresh. It was very fun for me to be able to address these moments in history and be the author who got to bring them to life. I find the protoss fascinating and I’ve really enjoyed getting to go in depth with them, their culture, and their history.

Will we read about the Xel’naga, hybrid experiments, abandoned temples and such?

Christie: The Dark Templar Trilogy is going to touch on many, many things that have been mentioned, hinted at, or left unexplored. While on the one hand it is a very intimate story, focusing on three primary characters, it’s also rather universal in scale as well. Big things are happening in the StarCraft world, and this series will reflect it. There is indeed a temple, with something unique inside it that our main character will discover.

What locations and planets will the story take place in throughout the trilogy?

Christie: Hmm … well, there are few backwater planets that many events occur on. But we’ll also travel to places that have great meaning to the protoss, like Aiur and Shakuras. As I haven’t yet started Book 3 … who knows where else we’ll go?

How much will Firstborn vary from the plot of the game and the manual?

Christie: Since it’s not a direct novelization of any segment of the game, hopefully it won’t vary at all! I want to keep the flavor of the game—dark and gritty and rough around the edges — and augment it at the same time. My hope is that this will be a great addition to the game.

What is the basic plot of the trilogy? Who is Jake Ramsey, what Terran faction he works for, and what is his role?

Christie: Ah, my poor Jacob Jefferson Ramsey. He’s no superhero, just a rather ordinary guy with a few extraordinary traits who’s gotten caught up in the whirlwind of a desperate moment in the galaxy’s history. Jake is an archeologist, a very good one…known for some rather outrageous theories and for having a mind that has a knack for puzzle-solving. He’s been given the task of getting inside one of the Xel’naga temples by a benefactor known as Mr. V. Eventually, of course, he figures it out … but what he finds there is completely unexpected and changes his life—and those of everyone he touches—irrevocably. He’s our main point-of-view character, a sort of Everyman who is much more special and unique than he first appears. He’s a wonderful character to explore this storyline with.

Where is this Xel’naga temple located at? Is it the same temple from StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel’Naga book?

Christie: No. It seems as though new temples are, more and more, coming to light….

Did you play Starcraft and its expansion: Broodwar to research info about the dark templars for the creation of this trilogy?

Christie: My husband played it through while we were abroad for six months. I watched over his shoulder and got a pretty good understanding of it, as well as the chance to see all the cut scenes. I understand why StarCraft fans are so die-hard in their admiration of the game.

Did Chris Metzen give you an outline of how the trilogy should start and end, and most of its plot? How much freedom do you have when writing Starcraft: The Dark Templar? Have you been given specific guidelines in terms of story elements and/or characters and then your job is to flesh things out, or can you come up with pretty much anything you want and hope that Blizzard thinks it’s a good idea and goes with it?

Christie: When I wrote Lord of the Clans, I definitely worked from a very well fleshed out outline. For Rise of the Horde of course, it covered a part of history that was already pretty well established. With this series there were a few things that Chris really wanted to see addressed, and we did a lot of back and forth about where we wanted to take the story. I also consulted with Andy Chambers and Evelyn Fredericksen, who have ended up being my chief points of contact. All are wonderful and creative people who are very excited about the game and the trilogy.

Since it is a trilogy, it is obvious you have a lot of time to get back and forth with Chris Metzen over the phone and email. How often do you both discuss details of the book? Does he check each chapter as they are written?

Christie: Chris, Andy and Evelyn are very “hands on” and accessible when I have questions, which is rare and wonderful in the world of tie-in fiction. Most of what we need to do is handled by email. Because of a time crunch for Book Two, “Shadow Hunters,” they did start perusing the manuscript before it was finished, but they certainly don’t look at it chapter by chapter.

Is the trilogy canon enough to impact, influence or carry-on into future StarCraft projects such as your Rise of the Horde did in World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade?

Christie: A good question. Rise of the Horde was truly a unique and wonderful experience. I was inspired by the story and the anticipation of the expansion, and Chris and the designers in turn were excited by some of the things I was developing. It was such a thrill to be invited to play-test and actually see some of the thing I had created come to life in the game. I’m currently grinding warbeads for a talbuk—hey, I gotta ride the thing I created, don’t I? Considering the nature of some of the events that are portrayed, I can safely say that yes, Starcraft: The Dark Templar series is going to be considered canon.

How much of StarCraft Ghost: Nova plot will affect the trilogy?

Christie: To the best of my knowledge, the plot of StarCraft Ghost: Nova has been pretty completely novelized by Keith R.A. DeCandido. Some of the information about how things work in the government, though, particularly the structure of the ghost program, have found their way into the series.

I know writers are given freedom to an extent to write material of their own, specially in a trilogy. Lot of ground to fill in. Since you have played World of Warcraft and interact with the roleplaying community, I got to ask. Have you had contact with the starcraft community for feedback, read fanfic at starcraft.org, or heard community petitions that might be useful in your book to satisfy what fans want to read?

Christie: Actually, I did not, other than to understand that people were very hungry for more protoss. Other stories are being developed to tackle specific things Blizzard knows the readers want. This is more of an epic storyline that encompasses much of what it is to be protoss…oh, and a leeetle secret of galactic proportions.

Do you listen to the voice-acting in the game to learn the personality of the characters?

Christie: It’s nice to be able to do so! Yes, I did. Blizzard always does a great job with the voices.

The book description says Jake Ramsey finds the remains of a dark templar and its spirit merges with Jake. This brings up an interesting thought. Tassadar learned to wield dark templar energies. Do you think Tassadar’s spirit could be lingering on somewhere?

Christie: As you say, that is an interesting thought. Actually the being Jake finds is known as a preserver, a protoss who has all the memories of all protoss who have ever lived. And as I said…you’re going to learn some things about key moments in protoss history. To say more might spoil things.

Will you write new Starcraft, Diablo or World of Warcraft novels after Starcraft: The Dark Templar? We hope you do =)

Christie: Why thank you! I hope so too. As many of you already know I am an avid fan of World of Warcraft, and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing both the books set in that game. I’d be thrilled to do more.

If Blizzard gave you the freedom to let you choose a timeframe or event set in the protoss or terran history for a new book or trilogy, which would it be and why?

Christie: Wow, excellent question…I think I’d love to get really in depth with more of protoss history. In this series, it’s a subplot, though a major one. Doing it that way seemed to whet my appetite for exploring their past more thoroughly. They’re a fascinating people.

Thank you, Christie for answering the community-submited questions.  And thanks to Chris Metzen and the folks over at Blizzard Entertainment.  The local bookstore confirmed the first novel in the trilogy is on stock. Go grab your copy or order online Here.

Now that the Q&A is out, and you know what the novel trilogy is about, feel free to submit further questions.  Christie is open and excited to discuss more details of the trilogy with the Starcraft Community.  Visit the official Starcraft 2 website for features, screenshots, gameplay video and teaser trailer.

Post a Comment at our Starcraft 2 Forums.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Archeologist Jacob Ramsey has spent the last two years on a fruitless excavation. It seems like a miracle when he gets an invitation to join an elite group of archeologists in the excavation of one of the Xel’Naga artifacts that are suddenly appearing on various worlds. When Jake stumbles across a dying Protoss and attempts to revive him, the alien psychically and violently begins to “upload” its memories, essentially rewriting and rewiring Jake’s human brain. Jake soon learns a terrible secret—one so important that the dying alien was willing to pass it on to an enemy in order to ensure that the knowledge survives. And what Jakes decides to do with the information will seal the fate of worlds throughout the galaxy.

The marketing info provided by the catalog says the novel will be showcased at BlizzCon 2007. Hopefully that means Christie Golden will be at the Pocket Books booth, book signing.

ALTERNATE DESCRIPTION

“Jake Ramsey—an unassuming, yet talented archaeologist—has been given the chance of a lifetime. Hired to investigate a recently unearthed Xel’Naga temple, he knows this latest assignment will open up whole new possibilities for his career. Yet, when Jake discovers the remains of a long-dead protoss mystic, his hopes and dreams are irrevocably drowned in a flood of alien memories. Bonded to the spirit of the dead protoss, Jake has become the sole inheritor of the protoss’s total history—every event, every thought—every feeling.

Struggling to maintain his own fragile identity amidst the raging psychic storm in his mind, Jake soon realizes that he has stumbled upon a secret so cataclysmic in magnitude—that it will shake the very foundations of the universe.”

FIRSTBORN

An original tale of space warfare based on the bestselling computer game series from Blizzard Entertainment.

Contributors: Kimera757, Artanis,  Livewyr7 @ USEast, arschneider, iMAniaC, cassius987@Uswest, Medievaldragon and Darktemplar.


Starcraft: Dark Templar, book one: Firstborn