StarCraft 3: Will there ever be one?

The Marines stand ready to serve

Will Blizzard make a StarCraft 3?

StarCraft has been a series that has affected the gaming community greatly, especially in the realm of esports. Having been so widely accepted as an esport, and with the new release of Legacy of the Void, a question is raised. Where can the franchise go from here? Will there be a StarCraft 3?

Well, to answer that question, it would be best to go through the story thus far, part of what has made this series so great. The series has come a long way from the simple patrols of Marshall Jim Raynor in the original StarCraft, spanning campaigns from all three races: the human-like Terran, the infesting Zerg, and the mysterious Protoss. So, to figure out where the series might go from here, we'll look at where the series has already come from.

StarCraft (1998)

StarCraft opening cinematic

The first game starts off with Jim Raynor, Marshall for the Terran Confederacy, seeking to liberate the colony of Mar Sara from the Zerg threat. During the threat, Raynor runs into a Terran outpost that has been infected by the Zerg. The aliens had been using this outpost to produce their own Zerg-infested Terran soldiers, turning the Confederacy's own troops against themselves. Raynor makes swift work of that, crushing the outpost. However, the Confederacy does not see things that way. Instead of praising him for a job well done, he is imprisoned for destroying Confederate property.

Jim Raynor, as of StarCraft 2

This imprisonment is short lived as the rebel, Arcturus Mengsk, intervenes. Using his rebel army, the Sons of Korhal, Mengsk liberates Raynor, convincing the former Marshall to join his fight against the corrupted Confederacy before turning their attention back to the Zerg. During this fight against the Confederates, Mengsk begins to use technologies from Mar Sara to lure Zerg to Confederate locations, using the aliens to take out his enemies for him. This does not sit well with Raynor, but the tactics gets results.

Arcturus Mengsk makes great leaps in his fight, even drawing former Confederate general, Edmund Duke, to his side. With this strong force in place, Mengsk sends his second-in-command, Sarah Kerrigan to the Confederate capital planet of Tarsonis. While there, he uses Kerrigan to trigger a Terran technology to draw a massive amount of Zerg to the planet. During the battle, he abandons Kerrigan, leaving her to the Zerg as the planet was invaded and the Confederacy, defeated.

Kerrigan's last stand against the Zerg

Jim Raynor, seeing Mengsk leave his romantic interest for dead, is enraged by this. He gathers a militia army from Mar Sara to his cause as he leaves the Sons of Korhal, intending to stand in Mengsk's way of total domination. Meanwhile, Mengsk brings together the Terran forces from across the universe, naming himself emperor and setting the stage for the second campaign.

The second campaign puts the player in the role of the villainous Zerg that Raynor fought for the majority of the first campaign. During this campaign, it is revealed that Kerrigan was not killed on Tarsonis. Due to the fact that Kerrigan was a powerful Ghost, gifted in psionic powers, the Zerg Overmind decided to infest her and use her for their own means. This leads to a campaign where Kerrigan moves to unite the Zerg leaders, their cerebrates, and move against the Terran and Protoss threat.

While this is going on, the Protoss Templar, Tassadar, discovers that the cerebrates cannot be harmed by ordinary energy wielded by most of the Protoss. However, the dark arts of the Dark Templars, an exiled segment of the Protoss, can kill them. This is proven as one Dark Templar, Zeratul, assassinates one of the cerebrates, Zasz. Tassadar briefly allies with Zeratul in an attempt to assault the Zerg on their home world of Char, leading to Zasz's death. This assassination, for a brief moment, connects Zeratul to the Overmind. While Zeratul gains some insight into the Zerg during this exchange, the Overmind discovers the location of the Protoss home world, Aiur.

Zeratul preparing the Protoss to fight the Zerg

With the might of the entire Zerg fleet, Kerrigan leads the Overmind against Aiur, forcing Tassadar and Zeratul to flee with most of the broken Protoss army. Despite the resistance held by the Protoss army, the Overmind manages to touch down and burrow into the crust of the planet, spreading its Zerg army across the planet.

This is where the last campaign picks up. The player takes control of the last of the three races, the Protoss. For seeking help from the Dark Templars, Aldaris, leader of the Protoss, brands Tassadar a traitor. With nowhere to go, Tassadar seeks refuge with the Dark Templars and joins up with Zeratul once more. The player themselves follow Artanis during this, a Protoss who still serves the government at this point in the game.

There are several missions in which Artanis defends Aiur against the Zerg, attempting to push the scourge back. However, it is not long before the order comes to arrest Tassadar for his traitorous ways. During this mission, Artanis joined Tassadar and Zeratul. A civil war is sparked among the Protoss, pitting Tassadar's army against the Conclave, the Protoss government. However, it is during this that the Dark Templar show their worth to the rest of the Protoss. Using their unique energies, they slay two more cerebrates on the surface of Aiur, giving the Conclave cause to reconcile with them.

Tassadar sacrificing himself for the good of Aiur

With this united front, the Protoss, with the help of Jim Raynor, decide to make a final push against the Zerg in an attempt to kill the Overmind. The army breaks through the Overmind's weakened forces and managed to assault the Overmind directly, breaking its outer shell. Unfortunately, this victory comes with many casualties in the process and the army did not have the means to capitalize on this success. Tassadar, channeling the energies of his own Templar powers and the darker powers of the Dark Templar, he infuses his command ship in a last ditch attempt to kill the Overmind. Tassadar sacrifices himself to crash the ship into the Overmind, ending the war against the Zerg.

This closed the curtain on the first game, but an expansion was released shortly after in the form of StarCraft: Brood Wars.

StarCraft: Brood Wars (1998)

StarCraft: Brood Wars opening cinematic

Once again, the expansion is split into three campaigns, one to control each of the three factions. The first, this time, is the Protoss. The campaign opens with Aldaris, Artanis, and Zeratul trying to assist the Protoss in fleeing through warp gates as the Zerg rampage across Aiur. The retreating Protoss are given refuge on Shakura, a Dark Templar controlled planet led by Raszagal. The Zerg follow the Protoss through the gate, claiming a foothold as the Protoss attempt to recover. However, Raszagal reveals that there is a temple once used to worship the Xel'naga, the original race of both the Protoss and Zerg. Activating the tower would eradicate the Zerg from the surface of Shakuras with ease.

Artanis stands ready to serve Aiur

Artanis and Zeratul set out to find a way to activate the temple, running into Kerrigan in the process. The two decide to accept her request for an alliance, her Zerg assisting in their search for the two crystals that power the temple. Unfortunately, Aldaris catches wind of this and begins an uprising against the Dark Templars, appalled by the alliance they decided to make with the Zerg Queen. This is quickly crushed, Aldaris being killed by Kerrigan herself. It is here that Kerrigan reveals her true plans, wishing for Artanis and Zeratul to succeed so the last remaining cerebrates would be killed. This would give her full control of the Zerg.

Despite knowing this, Artanis and Zeratul finish their quest, bringing the crystals to the temple and activating it. The Zerg across Shakuras are destroyed.

This is where the second campaign starts up. The players control a Terran faction known as the United Earth Directorate (UED) in their fight against Arcturus Mengsk's empire, the Terran Dominion. The vice admiral, Alexei Stukov, leads these armies and, upon meeting Samir Duran, acquires a new adviser to assist him with this conquest. The UED discover the psi disrupter that had cost Kerrigan her humanity in the very first campaign of the series. The army lands on Tarsonis in an attempt to make their way to it, though there is conflict in what should be done about it. Stukov wants to harness its power while Duran simply wants to destroy it. Duran advises that the Terran army destroy this disrupter, preventing it from ever being used again, but Stukov prevents this from happening, relieving Duran of his lead just before he can.

Alexei Stukov being given his directives

With the disrupter in their possession, the UED proceed to the Mengsk's throne world, Korhal IV. With an overwhelming might, Stukov's armies crush Mengsk. However, he is saved at the last minute by Jim Raynor, backed by a Protoss fleet. Seeing the UED as a bigger threat than Mengsk himself, Raynor opts to ally himself with his enemy in order to crush the newcomers. The UED still makes a good push against this united force, but the assault is broken when Duran moves his forces out of place. The disruption in their tactics allows the Zerg to break through and interfere with the invasion before Stukov can capitalize on the attack.

Commander of the UED, DuGalle, is unaware of the treason that Duran committed and becomes convinced that Stukov betrayed them instead. He orders Duran to hunt down Stukov and kill him, which he performs successfully. However, just before Stukov dies, he sends out a signal to DuGalle, revealing Duran as the true traitor. With his plots to sabotage the disrupter foiled, Duran flees from the UED. DuGalle makes one last assault on Char, using the device to take control of the Overmind himself, setting the scene for the last campaign of the expansion.

Once again, control for the player comes to Kerrigan and her Zerg. With the Overmind now under the control of the UED, the damage caused to all factions involved becomes overwhelming. In a desperate attempt to stop them, Kerrigan must ally with Raynor, Mengsk, Protoss general Fenix, and Samir Duran. The alliance sets out to destroy the psi disrupter entirely and break the UED's control of the Overmind.

Kerrigan as the Queen of Blades

After the destruction of the psi disrupter, Kerrigan leads an assault on Korhal IV, breaking the UED control of the planet to allow Mengsk to reclaim his throne world. However, it is in this instance that she betrays her allies, slaughtering a large number of Dominion soldiers along with killing both the Protoss general, Fenix, and the right-hand man to Mengsk, Edmund Duke. This is the last straw for Raynor as he promises to one day kill Kerrigan and put an end to all of this. He is unable to stop her, though, and retreats shortly afterwards.

Kerrigan travels to Shakuras after her victory, kidnapping Raszagal in order to blackmail Zeratul into killing the Overmind on Char. This leads to Zeratul staging a rescue attempt to save Raszagal. Unfortunately, he is forced to kill Raszagal when he realizes that she has been infested by Kerrigan and left as little more than a puppet. It is revealed that Aldaris' rebellion from the first episode was an attempt to stop Raszagal from continuing to betray her people.

Zeratul flees from Char in an attempt to find Artanis and unite their forces once more with his newfound knowledge. However, he stumbles upon a genetics factory that Samir Duran has been running without Kerrigan's knowledge. He has been creating Zerg-Protoss hybrids, monstrosities that are far superior to either individual race.

While this is happening, Kerrigan is attacked by a last ditch effort from her enemies. The Dominion, the UED, and Artanis' fleet land on Char. Despite the overwhelming opposition, Kerrigan succeeds in crushing them, annihilating the UED forces. This leaves Kerrigan as the dominant faction in the sector. The campaign ends with Admiral DuGalle sending a final message to his family before committing suicide, ending the UED for good in this area.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (2010)

Wings of Liberty trailer

Four years after the events of StarCraft: Brood Wars, Kerrigan's forces have gathered at Char before completely vanishing for unknown reasons. However, with their disappearance, the Protoss are able to take a step back, returning to their more passive role in inter-galactic affairs. The Terran Dominion has also returned to its former seat of power, dominating the Terran held galaxy.

In contrast to this, Jim Raynor has assembled a sizable militant group known as Raynor's Raiders in an attempt to undermine Mengsk. At this point, he has become enough of a threat that Mengsk has diverted defense funds into specifically hunting down Raynor and his rebels. The game opens with Raynor leading a group on Mar Sara to destroy a Dominion outpost. He meets an old comrade, Tychus Finley, while on Mar Sara and the two unite to take care of the outpost. Along the way, the discover a Xel'naga artifact that they retrieve and take with them. The response is swift, the Dominion forces surrounding Raynor's army quickly, but Raynor manages to evacuate his troops to his command ship, the Hyperion, captained by his second-in-command, Matt Horner.

Jim Raynor is back and geared up for battle

The Raiders continue their battle against the Dominion, but also divert their forces to hunting down more Xel'naga artifacts. The Moebius Foundation buys these artifacts, allowing for Raynor to continue funding his rebellion. Along with this, Raynor meets two newfound allies. A rogue Ghost named Gabriel Tosh agrees to join the rebellion, sending Raynor on missions to procure raw materials that could be used to generate specialized Ghosts known as Spectres. The second ally is Ariel Hanson, a researcher of the Zerg and the leader of a small colony. This colony is being infested by the Zerg and that infestation is being eradicated by the Protoss. Between the Zerg and the Protoss, the colony is in dire straits and Raynor intervenes to find a suitable place for them to thrive. Matt Horner also offers his own set of missions in which Raynor undermines Mengsk's armies on several occasions. Lastly, an old ally returns to give Raynor a message. Zeratul delivers a psionic crystal that allows Raynor to relive visions that Zeratul himself had of an ancient prophecy. In this prophecy, Zerg-Protoss hybrids enslave the Zerg and lead them against humanity, eradicating all of humanity and the Protoss in the process. It is revealed at the end of these visions that the only one who might be able to stop this is Kerrigan herself.

Zeratul fighting against Kerrigan and her Zerg during the visions

With more artifacts in Raynor's possession, he moves the Raiders to meet with the Moebius Foundation. However, he finds Dominion armies waiting there as the leader of the Moebius Foundation is revealed to be Arcturus Mengsk's son, Valerian Mengsk. He wishes to show his father that he would be a suitable heir to the Dominion. To this end, he wants to ally himself with Raynor to assault Char, using the artifacts they have collected to return Kerrigan's humanity. This would greatly weaken the Zerg, taking away their leader. Raynor reluctantly agrees, though this is met with much resistance from the rest of his crew.

After retrieving the last artifact, the Raiders and the Dominion land on Char to make their final assault. The Dominion general, Warfield, is injured in the initial assault and Raynor is given full command of the Dominion forces. With the combined effort of the two armies, the Terrans reach the main hive cluster and are able to set up the artifacts, protecting them until they are fully charged. Once they full charge, the artifacts eradicate all the Zerg within its blast radius and reversed Kerrigan's infestation, to an extent.

Warfield on the battlefield of Char

It is at this point that Tychus reveals that there was a deal struck with Mengsk. He gets his freedom if he agrees to kill Kerrigan. Raynor defends Kerrigan, killing Tychus in the process. The game ends with Raynor carrying a human Kerrigan out from the main hive cluster.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013)

Heart of the Swarm trailer

This one picks up right where the previous one left off. Following the attack on Char and Kerrigan's return to humanity, the Dominion launch an attack to put an end to her. Raynor's Raiders defend her, but the Hyperion, Raynor's command ship, gets cut off before they can pick up Kerrigan or Raynor. They are forced to escape beforehand. Kerrigan remains to continue looking for Raynor, but is unable to locate him. She finds out from a news casting later that Raynor has been captured and executed by the Dominion.

Kerrigan after becoming human once more

Kerrigan becomes enraged by this news. She sets out into Char, ready to resume her place as the Queen of Blades, ruler of the Zerg. She takes over a renegade brood, using it to assist her in destroying the Terran command post. She kills the general in charge, Warfield, but allows the unarmed to leave unharmed. She then travels to Kaldir, an icy planet with another renegade brood. Taking them over, she assists the brood in routing a Protoss force before evolving them to allow them to survive in the harsh environment of the planet. Zeratul, acting on the prophecy he had seen during Wings of Liberty, approaches Kerrigan after the battle. He offers her direction, telling her to seek Zerus, the original home world of the Zerg, in order to return her powers.

Kerrigan sets off for Zerus, learning the origins of the Zerg while on that planet. A Xel'naga named Amon created the Zerg and embedded within them the single desire to kill. Some Zerg managed to resist this. One of these primal Zerg, Zurvan, informs Kerrigan of a primordial spawning pool that would reawaken her powers. Kerrigan delves into it, becoming the Queen of Blades once more. Immediately afterwards, she slaughters five of the primordial Zerg, including Zurvan, to collect their essence and increase her own powers. One primal Zerg, Dehaka, opts to join Kerrigan, recognizing her strength.

Primal Kerrigan emerges

Before leaving, Kerrigan is met with Alexei Stukov once more, now infested by the Zerg after his defeat by Duran's hand. He leads her to a research station ran by a servant of Amon, Emil Narud. After their forces break through the Protoss loyal to Narud, Kerrigan faces off against this servant in a test of power. Narud manages to impale Kerrigan, but is killed shortly after. However, as he is dying, it is revealed that Amon is revived.

Emperor Arcturus Mengsk contacts Kerrigan at this point, revealing that the news report was a lie. Raynor is alive and remains imprisoned as a deterrent against Kerrigan's attacks. Kerrigan immediately contacts the Raiders and, with their help, locates and frees Raynor. Raynor is, of course, disgusted by Kerrigan's reversion to her Zerg form. This does not slow Kerrigan's decision to assault Korhal in an attempt to put an end to Mengsk's rule. Dehaka destroys Mengsk's psi disrupter, allowing for Kerrigan to assault in full force. She is urged to slow her assault by Valerian, in order to minimize civilian casualties. Kerrigan agrees, but still manages to break through the Dominion forces, especially when Raynor's Raiders touch down to assist her. Together, Raynor and Kerrigan go after Mengsk. The emperor reveals that he has an artifact that he could use to kill her, but Raynor interferes, allowing Kerrigan to deal the finishing blow.

As the battle ends, Kerrigan returns to her swarm. With her vengeance achieved, she accepts her role and prepares to do battle with Amon to protect the galaxy from the prophecy foretold by Zeratul.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (2015)

The player returns to control the Protoss in this latest segment. Some time after Heart of the Swarm, Zeratul travels to seek out the place where Amon will be resurrected. He locates a research facility owned by the Terrans and sees Kerrigan's swarm already laying siege to it. He is informed by Talis, a commander of Artanis, that there are Protoss being imprisoned and experimented on. Zeratul manages to break through faster than Kerrigan can, rescuing the Protoss and receiving information on Amon. He travels with Talis to a Xel'naga temple on Atrias where a Void Catalyst is in place. This Catalyst allows the Tal'Darim, a fanatical Protoss faction loyal to Amon, to commune and empower their ruler. Zeratul and Talis do manage to break through, though, entering the temple and destroying the Catalyst. He is contacted by what appears to be Tassadar in spirit form, urging him to collect the Keystone, the artifact that had deinfested Kerrigan. Amon attempts to kill Zeratul by collapsing the temple on top of them, but he manages to escape at the sacrifice of Talis.

With this completed, Zeratul leaves to return to Artanis. Artanis is, meanwhile, leading his fleet to their Zerg-infested home world of Aiur. Zeratul returns to inform Artanis of Amon's return, but the invasion continues as planned. Amon revives during the invasion and takes control of the Protoss through the psionic bond offered by the the Khala crystal. Zeratul and the other Dark Templar escape this fate due to having cut their nerve cord, separating their connection from the Khala. Zeratul and his Dark Templars work to free as many Protoss as they can from Amon's control. The last one Zeratul manages to free is Artanis himself, but he suffers a mortal wound in the process. He passes off his mission of finding the Keystone to Artanis before dying.

Amon exercising his control over the Protoss

Amon begins his quest to eliminate all life in the galaxy. Artanis' fleet arrives in Korhal where Raynor's Raiders are fighting the Moebius Foundation, now under the command of Amon. The Protoss assist Raynor and Valerian in fighting off the Moebius Foundation and manage to retrieve the artifact. Artanis flees with his newfound allies and sets out on a quest to rebuild the Protoss forces. He travels to Shakuras, where he assists the Dark Templars' matriarch, Vorazun, in her evacuation of her people before destroying the planet, and then to a research facility where he discovers a machine with his former comrade, Fenix's, consciousness loaded into it.

Artanis travels to the home world of the Xel'naga, where he finds Kerrigan doing battle with Amon's forces. He joins her in a reluctant alliance and the two learn of the Xel'naga's distrust of Amon. Unfortunately, they find the Xel'naga dead, killed by Amon before they could reach them. A portal to the void is opened during this and the two are ambushed by a group of hybrids. They are, however, saved by the timely arrival of Vorazun and her forces. They were directed to the location by Alarak, a former servant of Amon. He claims that Amon is a false prophet and wishes to assist them in defeating this enemy. With a deal struck between Alarak and Artanis, the armies overthrow the Tal'Darim forces and Alarak assumes control. He declares themselves free of Amon.

While his fleet is wrecking havoc on Amon's forces across the galaxy, Artanis himself stages another invasion on Aiur. Here, he manages to destroy Amon's host body and seals his consciousness into the Keystone. With the Protoss free, their nerve cords are cut to prevent Amon from taking control again and Amon himself is banished to the void. The Protoss, finally having Aiur freed again, begin to rebuild.

Some time after this battle, Kerrigan contacts Raynor and Artanis to form an alliance. She wishes to invade the Void and put an end to Amon forever. The three join forces and set off, uniting the three races for this goal. They manage to break Amon's defenses, Stukov slaying a revived Duran in the process. He had been revived as a combination of himself and Narud, revealing himself to be a Xel'naga as well. They free another Xel'naga, Ouros, who reveals himself to be the one who had used Tassadar's image to contact Zeratul and put things in motion. He reveals that Amon can only be killed by another Xel'naga and fuses himself with Kerrigan to make her a Xel'naga. The armada continues its push, allowing Kerrigan to battle Amon directly, killing him. She orders the armies to leave her as the death causes a psychic backlash throughout the void. The armies manage to escape intact.

Kerrigan transforming into a Xel'naga

Following the death of Amon, all three races have been able to prosper. Valerian Mengsk comes to terms with Matthew Horner and the Dominion comes into peace. Raynor retires from the battlefield, leaving with Kerrigan, whom is now in human form. Negotiations have opened with Protoss, but Alarak's Tal'Darim refused the initial alliance with the Protoss government. They leave to find a new home world. Zagara, a Zerg cerebrate, becomes queen of the Zerg and retakes Char, but keeps the Zerg to themselves for the most part. This puts a close to the series.

Will there be a StarCraft III?

The short answer is that there probably will not be. The story follows the trials faced by Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, and the various Protoss that took command throughout the series in their attempt to free the Zerg from Xel'naga control and bring peace to the galaxy. Amon's revival and subsequent defeat put a close to the wars that were happening throughout the galaxy. The Terran have found peace among each other. The Protoss have begun negotiations with the Terrans. The Zerg have more or less isolated themselves from the world, no longer pushed by this urge to kill. So, for this story line that has been setting up since the original StarCraft, there is no where to really go. The story line has come to a close.

However, that being said, there is still many directions the series could go. With the entire galaxy as the setting, it is entirely possible a new story line can be created in a different place with different characters. What more, we do not really know what Zagara's stance is with the rest of the races. The Zerg could easily rise up once more. There may be more primal Zerg holdings outside of that one world visited by Kerrigan. The Tal'Darim are also off the stage for the moment and have been a driving antagonist for most of the series. They only sided with the Protoss due to seeing Amon as a false prophet. It is entirely likely for them to rise up once more if the right person unites them against the other races.

If a new story line is to begin, it is unlikely that it will be formed with the same characters. Their story arcs have ended. However, like with many great games such as this, there is still hope for a new game to be released. There are many options that Blizzard can go in creating a new story.

Nothing is certain, though. Only time will tell if Blizzard will continue this franchise in the future.

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