I’ll cut to the point here — not only is Metzan unable to write a sci-fi story, he was unable to recognize the best character in StarCraft. Blizzard even retconned that character.
That character was Magistrate, Executor, and Cerebrate. Maybe you know who I’m talking about?
Early in LotV, Artanis issues the order for the Executor to commence the attack. “Are you talking to me, Artanis?” I think, excitedly hoping blizzard makes a reference to the best character ever, before girltoss jumps in. They give us no reason to care about her.
Besides that, I have to disagree with you likening StarCraft to Star trek. Of course star trek’s writing declined; there was at least one startrek show running continually from the late 80’s to the early 00’s. They were running out of ideas.
A comparison to star wars is much more apt. After a long hiatus between releases, a new trilogy comes out that doesn’t match the originals tone, that leaves less to the imagination (compare midichlorians to zerg “essence” garbage), and that gets the look wrong.
Boy did the get the look wrong with terran and zerg.
Between hellions being go karts, ravens being drones, and the ghost’s canister rifle being replaced with a generic sniper rifle, terrans felt very modern warfare. Also, compare, say, the terran victory screen marine to the new marine. Instead of a strong industrial look with canister tanks on the front, we get warhammer 40k, a much more generic future look. They also changed the adjutant from a human-skinned cyborg to a robot (even the one in the story that was supposed to be from the first game!) And that erased the cyberpunk influence from the game.
The zerg lost their crunchy, creepy sounds and got a lot of poopy sounds. The zerg before were one part bugs and one part body parts (evolution chamber was a heart, mutalisks were flying intestines). They erased that and made them more buggy. Compare the lame spine crawler to the sunken colony. Look at the hatcheries. Compare the creep tumor to the creep colony. They meticulously undid the earlier inspirations. Where are the cerebrates?
They even changed the main color of the zerg from the fleshy beige color to purple, probably to make it more evil. They did, however, upgrade the hydralisk to HD perfectly.
The protoss they mostly got right, probably because it was fantasy-inspired. The stalker was a massive downgrade from the dragoon, though the dragon was sort of replaced with the immortals. The twilight archons were glowing holy dudes instead of silhouettes pulsating with power overwhelming. The reaver was cool, but was replaced with the equally cool colossus.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to see what will happen with StarCraft 3. Maybe since two underperformed 3 will take a purism approach and resemble 1. Maybe we’ll never get a 3. I think it’s safe to say that by the time 3 comes out (if they even make a 3), it will be made by a very different blizzard, just as 2 was made by a very different blizzard than 1.
I think you are perfectly correct in your comparison to Starcraft 1. I remember hearing the South Koreans’ reactions to the game. One would go to a cybercafe and try out the game. When returning to the front desk (or whatever), they would say, “It’s so… disappointing. All this flash and smoke.” “Everyone is saying that.” Those were my immediate thoughts too, but I had faith that Blizzard would correct the problems. The original Starcraft and Warcraft 3 didn’t get good until their expansions.
Starcraft 2 is too fast. I despise the mechanical nature of the game with constant larva injections. The Zerg are no longer an aggressive race but a reactive one.
There will be Starcraft 3 but it won’t be Starcraft 3. Warcraft 4 was World of Warcraft. Warcraft 5 was Hearthstone.