I think Legacy of the Void was a draft or two away from being a great story - there's a lot of latent stuff there, which I can't tell whether the authors intended. I'm not even sure if it should be more *explicit*
LoV is the story of the Protoss being forced to give up everything that made up their identify. They are forced at gun-point to give up the psychic connection they share, allowing them to feel each others thoughts and emotions. They are forced to abandon their culture's caste system. There is a growing realization that, as they become more of a melting pot, a lot of their traditions will fade and change.
This all plays out more or less the way I'd expect it to. The characters start making post-hoc rationalizations as to how this is all a good thing that they're totally fine with. (Some of these rationalizations are true, others less so)
I don't think this should have been more *explicit* (I liked how subtle it was) but I wish it felt there was a little more sense of the internal conflict driving the Sour Grapes.
Their relationship with Freedom™ is also interesting. They give up the hyper-strict traditions/literal-mind-sharing that gave them their strong unity... and the result is that there is LESS civil war, more openmindedness, MORE cultures brought into the fold, which allows them to build an even stronger, galaxy-spanning melting-pot utopia.
This feels vaguely analogous to the rise of the United States. I wish it included hints of how that melting-pot-utopia hasn't always gone the way we liked.
The Caste System / Cultural Supremacy
If you've read Plato's Republic, you probably noticed that the Protoss are modeled after it. Their society has three castes - the Templar (warriors), Khalai (craftsman), and Judicator (philosopher kings).
There's a character, Karax, a crafstman, working to build new tools to help his leaders. There's a really great scene where Shit Hits the Fan, and his leader Artanis suddenly puts him in command of a battalion and given a crucially important military task, and told by his leader "I believe in you. You got this."
The expression on Karax's face is great there - Protoss basically don't even have faces, but he manages to convey how much fear he has of this. "I can't do this. I'm going to fail and my friend/mentor/leader is going to be so disappointed in me and my people are going to be destroyed." But after giving himself a moment to feel scared and sorry for himself, he gets to work.
He does a great job. He returns to the base and receives an impromptu ceremony recognizing him as a Templar Warrior.
Then Artanis (the leader) says something gloriously Trying-To-Be-Progressive-But-CHRIST. "The age of the Caste system is over. Now, we are all Templar."
Artanis is a Templar. They are in the middle of a war, so Templar-skills ARE pretty relevant. But I thought it was great - accurate - how casually Artanis assumes that eliminating the Caste system will mean HIS people remain culturally supreme.
In particular, at the end of the game, the age of the Templar seems mostly-over. They aren't at war. They're building a peaceful society now. It's Karax's skills, not Artanis', which are going to define the future.
If this had been briefly addressed in the final Protoss cinematic - if Karax had narrated instead of Artanis, or if we had gotten a relationship-culminating scene where Artanis tries to do something but sort of stumbles and it's Karax who helps him, that would have made this genuinely poignant.
As is, I can't tell if any of this was intentional, or if the writers honestly believe the speeches they wrote for Artanis.
After the Protoss Campaign is an epilogue. All the races work together to defeat a Negative Utilitarian God. Kerrigan ascends to Godhood herself.
I'm surprised they totally skipped over the implications there (rather, the implications are all there, but StarCraft is usually NOT subtle about this sort of thing). This whole time, we've been told that a race with Purity of Form (and psionic power), and a race with a Purity of Essence (capable of great change in the face of adversity) will combine to become the perfect creation. The Protoss and Zerg were created to be those races.
Except, apparently, it's an essential part of the cycle that the races NOT be created artificially, which the Zerg and Protoss were.
It's Kerrigan who is the perfect creation. And I *think* it's implied that both her psionic potential and her adaptability are purely human traits - that have nothing to do with her become Part-Zerg - that's a choice she made for herself as PART of her human adaptability.
I liked that.
I loved the scene of her ascension - of her final moments saying goodbye to Jim.
I SUPER loved the final scene, after everything is over - Negative Utilitarian God is defeated, the Protoss and Terrans are off building flourishing societies, Kerrigan has disappeared off to wherever Alien Gods go after they ascend.
...and Jim, rugged cowboy adventurer who helped save the universe, is sitting by himself in a bar, drinking. All his friends have moved on and found new ways to be useful. Jim is now irrelevant.
I love how long they lingered on this scene - I felt a strong sense that they could have ended there. The last scene from StarCraft, ever, *could* have been a happy Galaxy with one man sitting alone by himself, because rugged-loner-cowboys don't actually have much to do when the war's over and it's pretty sad.
But after lingering on that scene long enough to showcase it COULD end there, they give us the happy ending Jim deserves. And maybe the universe doesn't really give people what they deserve... but... know what? I'm cool with that. Jim and Kerrigan have been through hell and back for each other multiple times, and at the end of the day StarCraft is an escapist power fantasy, not a depressing Oscar Bait movie, and that's fine.
"Hell, it's about time", was a perfect line to end on, and I cried.
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