(Warning: More StarCraft 2 nerdulance to follow, possibly with spoilers!)
In one of my recent posts I chronicled the possible formulaic stories that Blizzard may or may not be using. Here, I want to detail my theories on the cryptic Xel’Naga prophecies that were revealed in StarCraft 2; specifically, the one referred to by Zeratul as the “Fallen One” and how this mysterious entity came to control the hybrids.
Let’s start with what we know about the history of the Xel’Naga and the origins of the Protoss and Zerg.
While we Terrans were likely still protoplasmic soup, a highly advanced race of beings known as the Xel’Naga floated about the galaxy in their worldships conducting research into the creation of life. Their first creation, known as the Protoss (or “first-born”) were to
be conceived in purity of form. They were a highly psionic and advanced culture, developing superior technology through their vast intellect.
Unfortunately, the Xel’Naga experiment went awry when Protoss clans began feuding amongst each other. Believing their creation had failed, the Xel’Naga packed their bags and left, abandoning the Protoss to their fate: the Aeon of Strife. It was a brutal civil war that consumed hundreds upon hundreds of years of Protoss history, before one individual, Khas, rediscovered the psychic bond that connected all Protoss to one another. Within years, the vast majority of the first-born race had been reunited, and their mighty civilization fluorished.
Meanwhile, the Xel’Naga set up shop far away from their first attempt at creating life, and were now focused on creating a life form imbued with purity of essence, one which came to be known as the Zerg. This bug-like creature thrived by assimilating all other forms of life, parasitic in its survival tactics, thriving through sheer numbers. In order to control them all, and to guard against the civil war that had ruined their previous creation, the Xel’Naga created a central consciousness known as the Overmind to control and direct the entire Zerg race.
Their creation proved more successful than they could have hoped; within a relatively short span, the Zerg has assimilated all the races on the planet they occupied. Unbeknownst to the Xel’Naga, however, the Overmind had become aware of the presence of the Xel’Naga ships in orbit, and without warning launched an assault, wiping out every last alien ship and assimilating their collective knowledge. Needless to say, the Overmind grew more powerful than it could have possibly imagined, and became aware of the existence of the Protoss.
This history set the scene for the original StarCraft, and its expansion pack Brood War. Now, the Overmind has long since been destroyed, and Sarah Kerrigan – a former Confederate ghost and Jim Raynor’s love interest – has been assimilated into the murderous Queen of Blades, and now leads the Zerg Swarm. Still, as we learned in the secret mission of Brood War, it would seem that the Xel’Naga are not yet finished…
Here is my theory: the mysterious Fallen One is indeed a Xel’Naga. In fact, it is this individual (or perhaps, rogue segment) who is responsible for the demise of the Xel’Naga at the hands of the Overmind.
According to Tassadar’s speech to Zeratul in StarCraft 2:
“The Overmind was formed with thought and reason but not free will. It screamed and raged within the prison of its own mind.”
The progression of the Zerg’s development under the watchful eye of the Xel’Naga was on track, until suddenly it wasn’t. It is my belief that this Fallen One tampered with the Overmind’s programming, artificially raising its aggressiveness and imbuing it with an overriding desire to assimilate and destroy the Protoss, and any who stood in the way of that goal.
We see it all the time: an extremely gifted group of individuals performing incredibly altruistic and world-enriching activities, only for some of them to realize that their gifts can be put to work for personal gain. This Fallen One realized the power they were playing with, and thought that he instead would use these powers to rule the universe, unchallenged, by fusing the two greatest creations of the Xel’Naga into a single entity: the hybrid.
It still leaves a lot of open, unanswered questions, the most pressing of which is: why has this Fallen One waited until now, if he’s been around since the supposed destruction of the Xel’Naga civilization? What’s he waiting for?
Also, how will Kerrigan’s reversion to human form affect her ability to control the Zerg? She was all that remained in terms of Zerg leadership; unless there are still cerebrates, in which case they may attempt to merge once to form an Overmind, just as they attempted to do in Brood War. If Kerrigan really is the key to defeating the Fallen One, she will need to be able to hold onto her post within the Zerg Swarm despite her return to humanity.
I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next two installations of StarCraft 2 to have these questions answered. The next will be very interesting on its own, as it should continue the storyline from Kerrigan’s perspective. I am very curious to see what the status of the Swarm will be with her now in human form.