It is the third and final StarCraft II product, released separately from the other two games, Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, occurring after them chronologically, beginning immediately after the ending of Heart of the Swarm. It was expected to be priced as an expansion in 2009. However, it was released as an independent installment, not requiring any previous version of StarCraft II to run. It has received a simultaneous PC/Mac release.
"You are HierarchArtanis, leader of the mighty protoss race. Years ago, your homeworld of Aiurfell to the merciless zerg Swarm. Now, at long last, you have raised a powerful fleet of warships known as the Golden Armada, and are poised to reclaim your world. But an ancient evil—Amon—threatens this destiny and the fate of the entire galaxy. Only you can reunite the protoss factions and defeat the coming darkness before it consumes all life in the sector."
The protoss were being systematically exterminated and were dying out from sheer age even before the Great War. The protoss have been picked off one-by-one, and their shattered civilization will fracture as something even worse happens, forcing a leader to save them from annihilation. Various protoss factions will be united for a last stand against Amon.
The protoss will be at the forefront of the story. Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan will feature in the story, but Amon is the primary issue. Chris Metzen has likened the story to that of the film 300, with a small force engaging a much more powerful one in a desperate last stand. The storyline will conclude the StarCraft II trilogy, and will bring an overall end to the StarCraft saga that began in the original game. However, the game has been written in such a way that those who haven't played the previous installments (a possibility as per the game's stand-alone status in terms of installation) will not be lost.
The attack speed of units in the game has, as of February 2015, been reduced by 40% when compared to Heart of the Swarm, while adding damage to compensate. Scan range has also been increased in order to increase unit effectiveness in combat.
"An ancient cycle will complete its course. There will be much blood and darkness. But there will be impossible acts of valor and heroism. And you will see the protoss unleashed."
Legacy of the Void is primarily a singleplayer expansion. The campaign was intended to focus on Zeratul as its main character but the focus changed to Artanis by 2014. Zeratul will still feature prominently however. The game will feature a prologue in a manner similar to the previous games, and will possess more singleplayer missions and cutscenes than either Wings of Liberty or Heart of the Swarm.
Artanis will travel on the arkshipSpear of Adun and interact with characters such as Phasesmith Karax and a preserver, Rohana. The ship will have been derelict for hundred of years and will require upgrades. It has been stated that Artanis will likely be able to be controlled in unit form.
The protoss campaign will be based on diplomacy as the protoss factions splinter. The player will work with different protoss tribes and sects, helping leaders of some sects which will anger others. Using units from one side may preclude using units from the other side and alienating one or another sect may cut the player off from part of the campaign. New allies will bring with them new technologies and techniques. This forms the basis of the game's army customization. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to unite the various tribes into a viable, unified force that can ensure the protoss' survival.
It is intended that the game's campaign have its own feel distinct from Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm. In the latter, Kerrigan composed a great portion of her forces' strength by herself. For Legacy of the Void, it is intended that no single protoss warrior be comparable to her in that regard via gameplay. Zeratul may be an exception, but any such missions would be based on stealth (e.g. assassination). The power of the protoss in the game is to come from the protoss as a whole, not a single individual.
It has been indicated that Nova will make an appearance in the game, and hinted that the hybrids will play a "critical role."
The player will be able to choose the order of visiting planets in a manner similar to previous games. Bonus objectives can be completed within missions.
An epilogue will be featured in the game, covering the fates of the terrans, zerg, and protoss.
New units were confirmed at BlizzCon 2014, along with Archon Mode and Allied Commanders, later renamed Co-op Missions. The game features automated tournaments; Blizzard is considering a 30 minute maximum to prevent drawn out tornument matches, at which point, the side that has gained the most XP in the match will be declared the match winner.
New tilesets has been implemented. Blizzard evaluate to add or remove units prior to and during the game's beta. Many of the new maps in the game are protoss-themed. Blizzard hopes that the maps are of greater diversity than previous installments, especially in regards to rush maps vs. macro maps.
Blizzard intended to focus on micromanagement (to avoid simply using large unit clumps), harassment, and constant attacks with the new expansion. "Passive time", such as the low-activity early-game, will be avoided. Changes include reducing the amount of minerals and vespene gas in order to encourage the creation of new expansions. The starting worker count has been increased from 6 to 12, and the starting buildings (command center, nexus and hatchery) creates more supply, psi and control to make creating new workers possible. The game's multiplayer is intended to give a sense of constant combat.
Game speed has been reduced to be syncronous with real-time. This affects speed values, movement speed values, cooldown times, research times, upgrade times, and unit build times, which brings the need to re-memorize them. Players were encouraged to offer feedback as to whether this change is preferable.
By 2013 Blizzard Entertainment had begun working on Legacy of the Void's story, scripts and missions. The development team (at least for the singleplayer) is mostly the same as the one that worked on Wings of Liberty, though new artists were brought onto the game's art team that had not worked on Heart of the Swarm. Additionally, prior to the summer of 2013, members of Team 4 who had worked on Titan were transferred to work on Legacy.
By February 2014, Blizzard was "hard at work" on the game, and work on the game's cinematics was well underway. By August 2014, the development team was in discussion concerning community suggestions pertaining to the expansion. The game was formally revealed at BlizzCon 2014.
The game will continue to be supported post-release.
One of the original writing inspirations was Seven Samurai. It iwas intended to be a protoss story first and foremost, that it service the protoss primarily, while also wrapping up lingering threads from the previous games. As of August 2013, the game's story had been written, many of the cinematics had been completed, and voice actors had begun work. The story was intended to capture the tragic nature of war, and to have a dark tone, as per it being the final installment in the StarCraft II trilogy. It was thematically based around the idea of a race that needs to change, how the protoss have been bound to a method of thinking that has served its time.
It was intended for the story to have the following tenants:
Create a distinctly protoss story while wrapping up the story threads of the StarCraft II trilogy—keep the story focused on the protoss and their lore.
Create an epic end times scenario for the player to stand against—deliver on the threat of Amon.
Fullfill the fantasy of playing as protoss.
Through the nature of the Khala, it is intended that the game explore themes of collectivism vs. individuality. Per the above "fantasy" tenant, the overall fantasy of Legacy of the Void corresponds to the protoss returning to the fore, for one last battle.
A challenge for writing for the game is that the protoss do not possess the same kind or amount of body language as humans. The writers watched episodes of ER, for as it per its nature as a medical drama, the characters' faces are often covered bar their eyes. Eye movement was studied in regards to how it could apply to protoss characters, as their eyes are their main conveyers of emotion. While the protoss are intended to be "unkowable" (in regards to humans/terrans), it was also intended that elements of humanity still shine through.
Zeratul was originally the protagonist of the game—he had featured prominently in the previous installments of the StarCraft II trilogy. However, the protagonist role was changed to Artanis, as the developers felt that as Legacy of the Void was a protoss story, Artanis was in a better position to represent the protoss race as a whole. It was decided that Zeratul's role was best served as a mentor figure in the game's story, said role likened to that of Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars universe in this regard.
Originally, characters from The Dark Templar Saga were to feature in the game. However, according to Waugh, their inclusion felt forced, and the idea was abandoned.
Similar to previous installments, Legacy of the Void has received tie-in media. Reclamation is a prequel short that takes place just prior to the game's opening cinematic. A quintet of short stories will be released in the leadup to the game.
"We want to get that feeling of 'We're the Protoss and we have technology that you haven't even dreamed of. We will literally turn you into a parking lot if you mess with us.' We want to get that sense of power without the focus on a single character."
By BlizzCon 2014, work was still being done on balancing the campaign. By June 2015, the game's Brutal mode was being balanced.
The developers are open to including Easter eggs in the game. However, Easter eggs are usually inserted towards the end of production, and as of the above date, had not been considered.
A focus of development was that gameplay drive story in the game, and that the two mesh well together.
As of November 2013, Dustin Browder was satisfied with the game's story, but felt the missions and campaign mechanics needed more work, to make them "feel" like protoss missions.
In 2011, Chris Sigaty expressed doubt that new units would be added to the game, and that if they are added, it is likely that other units will be removed from multiplayer. This was refuted by Blizzard employee Kevin Johnson in 2013 stating that "no new units isn’t a direction we’re considering or have ever considered." New units were revealed at BlizzCon 2014.
↑"What we're talking about for the Protoss campaign is -- y'know, the Protoss are a shattered civilization, right. They've been beaten and pummeled by the brutality of the StarCraft universe for years and years and years now, and we might bring into the campaign something even worse happens to them, and they ultimately just fracture into all these different factions. And so you are working as one of the Protoss Heroes trying to re-unite the Protoss before annihilation." Dustin Browder et al. 2009-09-04. BlizzCon 2009 StarCraft 2 Fansite Q&A - Part 4/5. Youtube. Accessed 2009-10-07.