StarCraft is a franchise of video games, novels, and other media originally created by Chris Metzen and James Phinney, and owned by Blizzard Entertainment. The series is made up of two core games which includes, StarCraft and its expansion Brood War and the three-part StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void. The franchise has grown to include a number of other games as well as eight novelizations, two Amazing Stories articles, a board game, and other licensed merchandise such as collectible statues and toys.
The series centers on a galactic struggle for dominance between three species—the adaptable and mobile Terrans, the insectoid Zerg, and the enigmatic Protoss—in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector at the beginning of the 26th century.
Blizzard Entertainment began planning StarCraft in 1995, with a development team led by Metzen and Phinney. The game debuted at E3 1996, and uses a modified Warcraft II game engine. StarCraft also marked the creation of Blizzard Entertainment's film department; the game introduced high quality cinematics integral to the storyline of the series. Most of the original development team for StarCraft returned to work on the game's official expansion pack, Brood War; the game's development began shortly after StarCraft was released. In 2001, StarCraft: Ghost began development under Nihilistic Software. Unlike the previous real-time strategy games in the series, Ghost was to be a stealth-action game. After three years of development, work on the game was postponed in 2004. Development of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty began in 2003; the game was later announced on May 19, 2007 and was released on July 27, 2010. The StarCraft II franchise continued with the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm expansion, which was released on March 12, 2013. The third StarCraft II installment is titled StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void was released on November 10, 2015.
The story focuses on the activities of the three species in a part of the Milky Way known as the Koprulu Sector. Millennia before any of the events of the games, a species known as the xel'naga seeded the universe with life, but a renegade named Amon created the protoss and zerg to create his own forces to overthrow the loyal xel'naga and their process of creation, the Infinite Cycle. However, this was discovered by the loyal xel'naga, and during the battle the zerg turned on their creators, annihilating both sides. Centuries before the beginning of StarCraft, the hardline government of Earth and its colonies, the United Powers League (UPL), commissioned a colonization program as part of an experiment on human colonization of distant worlds. However, ATLAS, the computers automating the colony ships malfunctioned, propelling the terran colonists far off into a section of space 60,000 light years from their home. Out of contact with Earth, the three surviving carriers formed into the three terran nations of the sector, the Terran Confederacy and what would become the Kel-Morian Combine and Umojan Protectorate. Intrigued by the behavior and mentality of the terrans, the neighboring alien race of the protoss observed them from a distance, never interfering with their matters as they saw them under their stewardship. However, the zerg, having left their homeworld after consuming the xel'naga to find and assimilate the protoss, target the terrans for assimilation to harness their psionic potential, and the Confederacy discover the zerg's initial probes, and then attempted to use their connection to psionics as a weapon they could use against their enemies. However, the zerg's plans are caught by the protoss, forcing the protoss to destroy tainted terran colonies to contain the zerg infestation. In an instant Great War was unleashed on the sector.
StarCraft begins just days after the first of these attacks, where the Terran Confederacy falls into a state of panic as it comes under attack by both the zerg and the protoss, in addition to increasing rebel activity led by Arcturus Mengsk against its rule. The Confederacy eventually succumbs to Mengsk's rebels when they use Confederate technology to lure the zerg into attacking the Confederate capital, Tarsonis. In the consequent power vacuum, Mengsk crowns himself emperor of a new Terran Dominion. However, during the assault on Tarsonis, Mengsk ordered the death of billions of civilians, and allowed the zerg to overrun his psychic second-in-command, Sarah Kerrigan. This slaughter prompted another commander of Mengsk, Jim Raynor, to desert him with a small army. Having retreated with Kerrigan to their primary hive clusters and infested her, the zerg become assaulted by protoss forces commanded by Tassadar and the dark templar Zeratul, as well as Raynor and the new Dominion forces. Through his assassination of a zerg cerebrate, Zeratul inadvertently allowed the Overmind to learn the location of the protoss homeworld, Aiur. The core hive mind of the zerg, the Overmind quickly launched an invasion to assimilate the protoss and gain genetic perfection. Pursued by his own people as a heretic for siding with the dark templar, Tassadar returns with Zeratul to Aiur and with the assistance of Raynor, his former mentor Artanis, and the templar Fenix, Tassadar launches an attack on the Overmind and ultimately sacrifices himself to kill the creature.
However, in the aftermath the rampaging zerg overran Aiur. Zeratul, Artanis and the Judicator Aldaris begin to evacuate the surviving population of Aiur to the dark templar homeworld of Shakuras under a fragile alliance between the two disparate branches of the protoss, but the zerg follow them. On the Shakuras, Kerrigan allied with the protoss, warning them of a new Overmind that has entered incubation, to help obtain two crystals that would help purge the zerg, but when her manipulations of one of the dark templar leaders is almost discovered she kills Aldaris. Depiste her manipulations, protoss successfully purged the zerg from Shakuras. Meanwhile, Earth, reformed after the discovery of alien civilizations as the United Earth Directorate (UED) decided to take action in the sector, sending a fleet to conquer the Terran Dominion and capture the new Overmind. Although successfully taking the Dominion capital Korhal and enslaving the Overmind, the UED's efforts to capture Mengsk are thwarted by a double agent working for Kerrigan, Samir Duran, who kills the second-in-command of the fleet Alexei Stukov. Kerrigan, allying with Mengsk, Fenix and Raynor, launches a campaign against the UED, recapturing Korhal. However, she turns against her allies; Fenix and Duke both perish in the ensuing attacks. Kerrigan later manipulates Zeratul into killing the new Overmind, giving her full control over the entire Zerg Swarm,. After defeating a retaliatory attack by the protoss, Dominion and the UED, consequently destroying the last of the UED fleet, Kerrigan and her zerg broods become the dominant power in the sector. However, rather than push her advantage, Kerrigan instead let her enemies rebuild, keeping her broods on Char. But in the aftermath Duran was nowhere to be found...
In the aftermath, having been forced to kill his leader Raszagal after Kerrigan took control of her, Zeratul attempted to regroup with Artanis and his fleet. However, he stumbled upon Duran creating hybrid of protoss and zerg, saying they were servants of a far greater power, and that when the hybrid would be unleashed the universe would be changed forever. Zeratul, troubled by this, went into a self-imposed exile, and wandered through the universe to uncover what he could find on this mysterious "return" and its connections to the xel'naga. His trials lead him to uncover a xel'naga prophecy brought to him through time and dimensions, and when he tries to find his meaning, a vision that took the form of Tassadar told him of the return of Amon, who sought to make the hybrid to destroy the universe, and that the key to stopping the hybrid from wiping out all life was none other than Sarah Kerrigan.
Meanwhile, the Dominion rebuilt from its conquering by the UED, cracking down on dissent with an iron fist. Raynor, disillusioned with revenge on Kerrigan and still in love with her,focused his efforts on taking down Mengsk. Artanis meanwhile, in an attempt to unite his people took the role of Hierarch to lead the new united protoss government, or Daelaam. And Duran, a xel'naga in service of Amon meanwhile wormed his way into the Dominion as Doctor Emil Narud, convincing Mengsk to give him the resources needed to construct Amon's army of hybrid.
In 'StarCraft II, Raynor sulks disillusioned with his progress against Mengsk, when his old friend Tychus Findlay offers him a job to find alien artifacts for enough money to help his rebellion. However, soon after Kerrigan returns, seeking the same strange xel'naga artifacts he does. Raynor uses this invasion to help innocent colonists trapped by the zerg invasion, rally allies against Mengsk, and strike back against him, all while fighting a protoss group named the Tal'darim to obtain the artifacts. During his travels, Zeratul appears and gives Raynor the same warning he had: of Amon's return and that Kerrigan had to live to stop him. Raynor later learns that the man who commissioned Raynor was Arcturus Mengsk's son Valerian Mengsk, who tells him the artifacts can purge the infestation from Kerrigan and return her to human form. After much deliberation and the anger of his crew for allying with Mengsk's son, the crew gather the artifact, aid in the invasion of Char and purge the infestation from Kerrigan. The relic worked, however Tychus revealed he was working with Mengsk to kill Kerrigan, and Raynor killed his old friend. Arcturus Mengsk then tried to trap Raynor and his son in an attempt to kill Kerrigan, but they slipped through his fleet, at first trying to find sanctuary with Duran (who betrayed them) and then fleeing to the Umojan Protectorate.
However, Duran meanwhile was pulling the strings, and stole the relic from Raynor, which had been modified to gather the innate essence of the Swarm and Kerrigan and convert it into energy. Using the power within and with the aid of the Tal'darim, Duran pulled his master Amon back from his realm of the Void, bringing him back to complete his goal of destroying the creation of the xel'naga and ending the Infinite Cycle.
Meanwhile, Arcturus finds and invades the Umojan base Kerrigan was being housed in, and Kerrigan escapes, though Raynor is captured by Nova Terra. Kerrigan, seeing the report Mengsk put out on Raynor's death, becomes enraged, and returns to Char to reassemble her broods to strike against Mengsk. She throws the Dominion forces on the world under General Horace Warfield off, and reclaims her home, then learning from Zeratul that great power that can help her defeat Mengsk and Amon was on the zerg birthworld of Zerus. Kerrigan went to Zerus, reinfesting herself as a primal zerg, zerg unmanipulated by the Overmind or Amon, and recruited Dehaka and a number of primal zerg. She returned to Dominion space, fighting protoss forces, freeing Raynor who was imprisoned instead of dead (who thought she had returned to be a murderer), and allying with a now infested Alexei Stukov to destroy Mengsk's hybrid operations, defeating Duran's physical form in the process, but she learning of Amon's return. In a final strike, Kerrigan set her broods on Mengsk's capital of Korhal, overrunning the planet and killing Arcturus. She then set her sights on her true enemy: Amon. In the aftermath, Raynor and Valerian began to rebuild the Dominion into a fairer government.
Zeratul meanwhile uncovered that the xel'naga relic that cured Kerrigan, the Keystone, was the key to defeating Amon. He returned to Artanis, who was in the process of reclaiming their homeworld of Aiur, but soon discovered hybrid on the planet. Soon after, Amon seized control of the Khalai mind link, the Khala, and control of every protoss under it. Zeratul freed Artanis from the Khala, but at cost of his own life. Artanis then swore to take up Zeratul's charge of defeating Amon, rediscovering the Keystone and rallying what protoss remained to awaken the xel'naga in their temple of Ulnar. However, he found that Amon had killed them first, but the betrayal of Alarak saved Artanis from the trap Amon had placed there. Undeterred and knowing that the Keystone might be able to pull Amon from his race, Artanis helped Alarak become highlord of the Tal'darim, reactivated ancient protoss AI named the Purifiers to fight alongside them, and destroyed Amon's terran thralls and hybrid forces. The united protoss returned to Aiur and purged Amon from the protoss, forcing him back to the Void.
Two years later, Kerrigan, Artanis and Raynor lead a force into the Void to finish Amon, hearing a voice from within that was calling for aid. They found it to be the one who created the prophecy as a call for help, and who had appeared to Zeratul as an image of Tassadar, a xel'naga named Ouros. After killing Duran permanently, they freed Ouros, who told them Kerrigan needed to become a xel'nag. After defending her, Kerrigan ascended into the alien species as Ouros died, and set off to kill Amon. In a final battle, the fallen xel'naga was killed, ending any threat he had on creation. In the aftermath, Raynor and Kerrigan both vanished and were not seen again. The Dominion rebuilt under a new regime, though the post-war struggles made it difficult, while Kerrigan's second-in-command Zagara became leader of the zerg. However, years after the war's end, a difficult rebuilding process, rogue factions, distrust and the inner political conflicts of the sector's factions continued to threaten the uneasy peace that had come across the Koprulu Sector. Only time would tell when and where the next conflict would erupt.
There are currently 17 Starcraft heroes in the game, including 2 Bruisers, 2 Healers, 3 Melee Assassins, 8 Ranged Assassins, 1 Support, and 1 Tank.