Tricia Helfer starring in Starcraft II

BlizzCon 2009: With the Wings of Liberty beta test expected this year, Blizzard discusses the background story behind its popular sci-fi RTS; Battlestar Galactica star to lend voice to game.

ANAHEIM, California--BlizzCon 2009 has thus far been an eventful one for fans of Blizzard Entertainment. The biggest announcement so far pertains to Blizzard's massively popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, with the game maker announcing the game's third full expansion, Cataclysm. As part of the opening ceremony, Blizzard also unveiled the monk class as the fourth that will be playable in its action role-playing game Diablo III.

The Zerg are back.

Starcraft II fans haven't been left out in the cold either. Blizzard has confirmed that the sci-fi real-time strategy game's eagerly anticipated beta-test period is expected to begin before the end of the year. Earlier this month, Blizzard said that the first installment in the Starcraft II trilogy, Wings of Liberty, is now expected to launch during the first half of 2010 alongside a revamped Battle.net, which executive VP of game design Rob Pardo discussed in detail during a panel yesterday.

With so much attention already paid to Starcraft II's lauded multiplayer component, the company has also begun to pull back the curtain on the game's single-player campaign. As previously announced, Wings of Liberty will largely follow the human faction, focusing primarily on the travails of Terran marine Jim Raynor, who has gone rogue and must grapple with human Emperor Mengsk from the first game as well as his ongoing conflict with one-time love interest and Zerg hive queen Kerrigan.

To delve deeper into the game, Blizzard will discuss Starcraft II lore, as well as maybe reveal a few surprises for the upcoming game.

[2:28] It's day two of BlizzCon, and convention attendees are beginning to show signs of being overloaded by the avalanche of Blizzard's wares.

[2:29] But the turnout for the Starcraft II lore panel appears to be substantial. With five minutes before the session begins, the masses have already taken their seats, filling up easily a hundred rows in front of the BlizzCon main stage.

[2:29] With a melodramatic rock tune wailing over the stage's towering main speakers, the crowd emits a hum and bustle...a marked contrast from the raw enthusiasm seen during the opening ceremony yesterday.

[2:29] Just a few more minutes before the panel is expected to begin, and not a single A/V guy in sight. The stage is heavily stocked with Mountain Dew, though.

[2:30] And we've got an A/V dude sighting! He appears to be fiddling with one of the laptops set up on the stage.

[2:33] And here we go, as the giant projector screens flip to a Starcraft theme.

[2:33] On hand is Chris Metzen, VP of creative development.

[2:33] Metzen greets the crowd, and they spring to life. He says that this year's lore panel will be a bit different, and he is talking about the voice-overs in the game.

[2:34] He says the cast of Starcraft II is going to be on the panel.

BlizzCon is apparently very popular.

[2:34] Metzen introduces "the one honest man in the universe," Jim Raynor, and he plays a clip of an in-game cinematic.

[2:35] And out comes the man voicing Raynor, Robert Clotworthy.

[2:36] Metzen then rolls a second clip, and its Protoss Zeratul, voiced by Fred Tatasciore.

[2:37] Metzen is now introducing a new Starcraft character, someone they made up after beginning work on the game, Tychus Findlay, who is voiced by Neil Kaplan.

[2:39] Metzen now introduces voice director Andread Romano.

[2:39] Another new character, Metzen says, one who hasn't been talked about much, is Gabriel Tosh, voiced by Dave Fennoy.

Tychus Findlay, Private Eye. No, sorry, Tychus Findlay, Space Marine.

[2:40] Another old-school character, Metzen says, is next, the tyrannt you love to hate, Arcturus Mengsk, who is voiced by James Harper.

[2:42] After replacing the original Kerrigan, a move that caused some measure of uproar on the forums, Metzen introduces Tricia Helfer, best known as Six on Battlestar Galactica.

[2:44] Metzen says that the panel will be roundtable, mostly.

[2:44] He asks Clotworthy what it's like to be Jim Raynor, who replies that he's thrilled to see so many people in the audience.

[2:45] He seems genuinely awestruck by the massive amount of people, but plays to the crowd saying "this game rocks."

[2:45] Metzen says that Clotworthy's voice really influenced the development of Raynor's character.

[2:45] Metzen then directs a question to Romano, who essentially directs the voice actors.

[2:45] Romano says that what's interesting about voice acting is that you can never tell what kind of voice is going to come out of a person.

Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer is increasing her sci-fi icon status by appearing in Starcraft II.

[2:46] Romano, who had worked with Clotworthy on shows such as Warner Bros.' Animaniacs, was shocked that Clotworthy was the voice behind Raynor. She was surprised by the depth and range in his voice.

[2:46] Clotworthy says that Raynor is the reluctant hero and a great role model, and there's a great responsibility in performing the role.

[2:50] Metzen is now talking Tatasciore, who voices Zeratul. The previous voice actor of Zeratul passed away a number of years ago, Metzen says, and Tatasciore was a lucky find.

[2:50] Tatasciore, who also voices the SCII character Swann, begins in a highly, nasally voice and then switches to a booming baritone. Yeah, he's got range as well it would seem.

[2:50] Tatasciore says that he sees the character as a kind of "good Darth Vader."

[2:50] Metzen is now talking to Neil Kaplan, who does Tychus Findlay, saying that Kaplan's voice also influenced the character development of Findlay.

[2:51] Findlay, who is scrawny, with large glasses, doesn't even remotely fit the profile of someone who emits the voice of Kaplan, a brawny, special ops warrior.

[2:51] The best thing about playing as Findlay, he says, is that you can stay up until 5 a.m. drinking scotch, and you'll be OK voicing him.

[2:53] Metzen is now talking to Dave Fennoy, who voices Tosh. Fennoy's appearance isn't far off from Tosh's, actually, with his long braids.

[2:54] Tosh (no relation to Peter) is a bit of a lethal Jamaican, and Fennoy has fun onstage describing in the voice the ways in which Tosh likes to deal with people.

[2:55] He says that someplace deep inside, there's something good about Tosh, but he knows that if he is going to survive, he has to look out for number one.

[2:56] Tosh's inclusion in the storyline is the "kind of do as thou will," Metzen says, a product of the very hard, brutal, rough universe.

[2:56] Yeah, things are tough all over.

[2:57] Tosh also has a tie to the character of Nova, best known as the lead in the canceled Starcraft: Ghost console title.

[2:57] She will apparently make a cameo in the game.

[2:58] Metzen is now talking to Harper, who voices the maniacal Arcturus Mengsk.

[2:59] Harper says that it took about three and a half hours to voice his part in the game.

[3:00] He says that he's still got an unopened copy of the game.

It's getting hot in here.

[3:03] He is also recalling the process from the original game, saying that Blizzard wasn't that big back then, and it's such a different experience now.

[3:04] Metzen now moves to Tricia Helfer, the new Kerrigan. Metzen asks if there are any Battlestar Galactica fans in the room, and the crowd goes absolutely nuts.

[3:04] Helfer says that it's very intimidating to come into a game that you don't really know the history of. "I'm kind of a video game virgin in terms of playing."

[3:04] "Frogger was the last game I played, and that was in the '80s."

[3:06] She says her experience on Battlestar has helped with the role of Kerrigan, as well as "voicing more than that character for the game." She will also be voicing the Queen of Blades, since they stem from the same person.

It's the world's tiniest Terran marine and he's killing Zerg just for you.

[3:06] She says that it was interesting trying to bring in the character of Kerrigan into the voice of Queen of Blades, who is apparently fun to play due to her diabolical nature.

[3:07] She says that her role will be fairly light in the first installment in the game. "Cut to next year, and I'll have a lot more to say."

[3:08] A lot of the scenes Helfer will be doing in the first game will be delivered as flashbacks from the original Starcraft storyline.

[3:11] Metzen is then asking Romano what it was like to corral all the highly vibrant characters in the game.

[3:11] Because she came into the game about a year ago, Romano says that when she came on, it was important to know if Blizzard had the full story arc planned out.

[3:11] She says it was very helpful to have Metzen close by, and she regularly checked in with him to keep all of the storyline straight so that she would know how to have the actors act and react to one another.

[3:12] Romano says that thanks to the long development cycle of games, it's a luxury to be able to go in and fix dialogue and recraft it so it comes out with the highest quality possible.

[3:13] She says that Blizzard's games are in many ways like directing a movie, thanks to the complexity of the scenes and the intricate storyline.

[3:13] Looks like the panel is transitioning to a question-and-answer section.

[3:13] There's a mad rush to the microphone.

[3:18] The first is for Romano, and the question is whether or not the voice director will also be working on Diablo III.

[3:18] The questioner also wanted to know how to break into the business, and Romano says that the best way is to take acting lessons. If you just have a good range in voice, "you're probably good at parties, but it may be hard to find a job."

[3:18] She apparently wasn't interested in answering the Diablo III question. Next questioner!

[3:18] Talking with seeming marbles in his mouth, the questioner wants to know if the voice actors visualize themselves as the character they are playing when they are doing the voice-over.

[3:18] Kaplan, who voices Findlay, says that it helps him a lot, and he makes a self-deprecating joke about his spindly size in comparison to Findlay.

[3:19] Fennoy agrees, and he says that it's important to know Tosh's backstory as much as his visual appearance to get into the role.

[3:19] Tatasciore chimes in, saying it's also important to know what your character wants.

[3:20] Helfer says that taking acting lessons really helps in this process, because it really teaches you the prep work involved. Because she is newer at voice work, she finds that she has to visualize the character more so than when she herself is in front of a camera.

[3:26] Metzen takes the chance to give kudos to the writing team and designers, who have helped to paint these portraits for the voice actors.

[3:26] Next question: At the end of Brood War, there is a hidden map. Will that come back?

[3:29] Metzen says that it heralds everything and will impact all three games to come.

[3:29] The theme that Dark Origin sets in our minds, he says, is one of the most central points to the Starcraft lore.

[3:29] Next question: Is the cast onstage all signed for all three games?

[3:29] "We certainly want that to happen."

[3:29] The actors appear to be keen on returning.

[3:29] Helfer chimes in, "I know you don't, I know you don't," to which Metzen replies, "Yeah, I'm going to leave it at that."

[3:30] Question for Clotworthy and Harper: In the original, there's a lot of talking to the player. Does this make a difference?

[3:30] Clotworthy says that he uses substitution when he voices dialogue that isn't aimed directly at a person.

[3:30] Next question: Any intention to purge Kerrigan of her infection.

[3:31] He visualizes someone he actually knows, so that the place he's coming from is a place of truth and reality.

[3:31] Metzen says that the character was a bit of a McGuffin, as it served originally only to move the story along. He does leave the window open for the magistrate to return.

[3:31] Alright, that will do it for the question and answer session.

[3:32] Check the site for more from BlizzCon 2009!

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Discussion

115 comments
Malhound
Malhound

That Kerrigan character,is the inspiration for Melrose.

mini_specs
mini_specs

Yes, we all agree that Tricia Helfer is a smokin' hottie. Eeeeeverybody here probably paused the BSG DVD's at all the points where she showed maximum side-boob...I know I did... ...Butt (yes, that was a pun), don't forget the fact that she's also a damn fine actress, a top pick for the role of Kerrigan, in my opinion. After all, she and Six are kinda similar, aren't they? Both have evil, sinister natures, with a side of sultry vixen to spice it all up. Bravo, Blizzard. Good choice.

DarkGod189
DarkGod189

@ Frame_Dragger While i do agree with you on the fact that it is the consumer's fault why DLC is/might be expensive, it is also the creators fault for making such DLC worth paying for. If something was good, people would be more then willing to pay for it, in order to get it. As for the rest of the people who are not so loose on money. They'd have to wait quite a while, to get it free, if they can get it free at all. also, @Ehggsz i agree with you. while Zeratul's voice actor is nothing short of impossible to reach, kerrigan's new voice actor better be damn freakin amazing at playing her part to make me forget about the old one. i hate switching from a good voice actor to someone new, unless this new person can do an amazing job at holding her character.

MurderMode
MurderMode

no lan = no starcraft 2 for some people = noone else cares. Everyone else is gonna buy it regardless, have fun missing out BECAUSE IT'S GONNA BE RAD

NeoSaintST
NeoSaintST

Actually, I still really dig the chick voice over for the Terran's Valkyrie. I love those sexy European accents. "Ya, woll" -NST

GazaAli
GazaAli

cant wait for SC2 beta,this will be my first beta to join

Toxic22
Toxic22

@Pete5506 Using movie stars helps bridge the gap between gaming and more main stream forms of entertainment such as movies. This allows better growth in both industries.

Vash67
Vash67

Tricia Helfer = rediculously hot

Pete5506
Pete5506

I dont see why they need these movie stars to be in the game

Ehggsz
Ehggsz

Changing a characters voice actor is like changing an actor in a TV show (the mom in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" for example). It just doesn't work. While I understand the change for Zeratul, they should have kept Kerrigans original voice actor.

PlyrX
PlyrX

paying for starcraft maps.....

malavos
malavos

And for who wanted lan, just create a game in b.net private... it's the same thing as lan.

malavos
malavos

@OrkHammer007 It's strange to read what you said.. Because not everything is going to be P2P (pay to play), and b.net is still free. Blizzard did battle.net, with realms that you can play along with your friends, and create maps with the most powerfull editor you will ever seen, period. Well, i guess who's making changes on the game genre RTS? Pff man. For serious, blizzard didn't gave a bad decision with wc, diablo and sc before. Now they will not do it. And, by the way! I'm anxious to play it!

_R4ptor_
_R4ptor_

For me also no LAN = no SC2 Give me DRM or some other way of ensuring I buy the game, but to take out something essential like LAN play is a stupid move and will kill the longevity of SC2 imo

Intrakitt
Intrakitt

So people are getting excited that b-lister Tricia Helfer, star of "Syfy" Battlestar Galactica is going to be in the game? Hahaha

GhostfaceL94
GhostfaceL94

To be honest I really want to play this game. This is probably the reason I might get a gaming PC. But economy these days and me just being 15 might halt that. I'll keep my fingers-cross at the moment. Enjoy the game guys!

commander1122
commander1122

i sure that the game will get delay again by 2010 Q2!!!

JadenakaJay
JadenakaJay

Anybody take a look at the Most Popular Games today on Gamespot? You notice how they are all created by Blizzard...? Just thought I'd point out how wonderful they are...

KnightsofRound
KnightsofRound

I am deeply saddened that Zeratul's original voice actor died. Rest in peace. I'm sure the new guy will do a good job in his stead, but it just won't be the same. Still a great replacement though. I'm kind of upset that Blizzard didn't bring back Kerrigan's original voice actor, as I feel like they went with star power to draw attention to the game, rather than what the fans really wanted. And all this attention being given to Tricia Helfer seems to prove that I am right. While I am disappointed at this decision, I am sure she will do a good job. I'm just glad that Raynor has his original voice back (he's always been my favourite character), and having Mengsk's original voice is great too. Absolutely cannot wait for this game.

binhhd12
binhhd12

why i can't play when i down load complete

takitoes
takitoes

Im going to loose my hair waiting for this. Mainly for the single player, but the new battlenet has some cool features if they pull it off right.

Deano
Deano

no LAN = me buy SC2 cause I never play LAN anyway

ItchyIsVegeta
ItchyIsVegeta

"I've said it all along. No LAN= No StarCraft 2 for me." ditto

ChamomileBaths
ChamomileBaths

Blizzard has said they won't charge for online play. So how can people complain about that? And they just announced some form of LAN play, while connected to the internet. If the original treated you that good and the company is Blizzard I don't see how it could possibly be a bad buy or even a question for someone into RTS'.

Ciphas
Ciphas

heh...they changed the title of the article

cyw1988
cyw1988

My main aim to get this game is for the storyline so the single player better be good... everything else is just a bonus... oh and btw Tricia Helfer = hot

mayatola
mayatola

I got to meet the actors at Blizzcon at the dev signing area! Seeing Tricia Helfer up close and in person (and the Ozzy concert) was definitely the highlight of Blizzcon! To think I almost missed the panel!

jazilla
jazilla

I've said it all along. No LAN= No StarCraft 2 for me.

OrkHammer007
OrkHammer007

@BloodMist: It's obvious you're one of the Blizzard apologists who wish to rationalize the "good" of selling the same game 3 times, the removal of LAN play, and charging for what used to be free content. That's on top of completely ignoring EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ADVANCE in the RTS genre from superior developers such as Relic and GPG. I didn't even bring WH40K (which, by the way, is the GW property in question, NOT WH). It seems it's YOUR opinion (and your impartiality) which is in question. ;)

valuum
valuum

Whats wrong with six-ing up? Tricia was Cylon #6 on Battlestar. Simple play on words. Don't get your panties in a twist.

BloodMist
BloodMist

@Orkhammer007 It's pretty obvious you're one of those morons that will try to say Starcraft is crap because it's a Warhammer ripoff anyway...therefore, your opinion is forfeit.

shooters125
shooters125

i can see why protoss are the last because the protoss are the perfect race to end the game with as to me they're the ones who do the most in advancing the storyline. starcraft 2 ftw!!!!!!!!

brian_13un
brian_13un

But it is taking long to release just for the improvement of Battle.net without any LAN provided....Btw Tricia Helfer very nice :D

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

My god, they changed Kerrigan's voice like 3 times now.

devoid27
devoid27

I agree that the game takes too long. But Its better long than to get a rushed game like EA does it.

ziq300
ziq300

come on why the hell is it taking so long to make the freaking game starcraft 2 they should give us a demo to download like halo wars did that way we can just enjoy a something tell the game comes out. i mean come on or give us some freaking demos plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

xeridae
xeridae

@JimmyJimJim It's tied to your battle.net account so they will know if you haven't actually purchased the maps. Nice try though...

Daishi512
Daishi512

Boner-ific, Tricia Helfer FTW

doomsdaydave11
doomsdaydave11

I will indeed miss the old Kerrigan, but I do think that Tricia is the next best thing. gj Blizzard.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

I don't know what the big deal is with the battlestar chick doing voicing acting for this game is. Good for her it doesn't really matter in the end through what truely does matter is that they get the gameplay tuned out to work great and everything to high caliber standards and knowing blizzard they will do it. I personally can't wait for the new starcraft to come out I'm just getting tired of what the fans of the game crying over stupid details about it...

JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

pay for created maps? heh yea right, more like download them illegally :P

PesmergaYuber
PesmergaYuber

It's too bad they lost original Kerrigan, but Tricia will do a good job of filling in I'm sure

tmorri603
tmorri603

When I saw the headline, I knew Tricia was going to do the voice of Karrigan. I hate this so much but this still will not stop me from wanting the game.

Slaughtahouse
Slaughtahouse

@OrkHammer007 that was great a great speech! lol im not joking!

advocacy
advocacy

Darn it, I want this game released now.