The Original Kerrigan in StarCraft Remastered

Back in the day, I wrote an article for SCLegacy about Kerrigan’s Voice, and it’s with the original YouTube links being dead and no ability to update them on that site, I wanted to make a new version of it here what with StarCraft Remastered being announced, and my excitement from contributing with Project Revolution back in the day some talk about it having remastered sound makes me wonder how they’re updating the audio and if we’ll still get to have Glynnis as Kerrigan, since while Robert Clotworthy was brought back as Raynor, she was replaced and I know from my own personal contact with her that she isn’t at all involved with StarCraft Remastered. So, here’s the article I wrote back on April 4th, 2009 with updated working video links (and I added in a one additional video as they appear in StarCraft II for additional reference to how it turned out in the end).

 

Update: We have just received word from Glynnis Talken Campbell that she will not be reprising her role as Kerrigan in StarCraft II:

Glynnis wrote:

Well, it just figures, doesn’t it? Blizzard just gave me my Dear John phone call. Basically, it was “We can still be friends–we just don’t want to see you anymore.” Ha ha! Ah well…that’s showbiz. Anyway, thank you for a wonderful and touching article–it’s a great going away present, and I’ll cherish it.

 

StarCraft: Legacy would like to pay deference to the true Queen of Blades. We wish Glynnis the best of luck in her future endeavors.

 

With most of the news being focused on multiplayer gameplay and balance aspects of StarCraft II, news about single player can be hard to come by, especially because most of it is remaining secret so that the intrigue of the game won’t be spoiled before its release. Some information regarding characters’ voice acting has come up, and deserves an in-depth look at what could potentially vastly change the game.

It has been brought to light that the voice acting positions for both Jim Raynor & Sarah Kerrigan have become available. The fact that voice acting is being closely considered now most likely means that the single player part of the game has entered a more solid state, and may be wrapping up. Glynnis Talken had previously been confirmed to reprise her role as the Queen of Blades, but this has now been thrown into question. She’s informed us that so far, all of the recording that she’s done for Blizzard for the Kerrigan Reveal Cinematic & Kerrigan Animatic Flashback that were shown at Blizzcon 2008, were referred to as “auditions” even though all of her previous contracts included a clause that state that there’s no guarantee that they’ll use her voice in the final game. Robert Clotworthy has not been selected to return as the voice of Raynor, and so far all of the clips of Raynor featured in StarCraft II have used another voice actor. This possible voice casting alteration could give Robert Clotworthy a chance to audition for the voice of Raynor, or could take Glynnis Talken’s voice away from Kerrigan. It’s due to this possible change that we should take a moment to look at StarCraft’s voice acting, and how the voice acting in StarCraft II could make a large impact on the single player aspect of the game.

The first thing to consider is what voice acting does for characters in a game. While many early games simply relied on text, this meant that there wasn’t as strong of an emotional connection to the characters. Voice acting allows a character to provide depth to how a character speaks, and feels in situations. It’s because of this that voice acting is often a difficult task, because if you do it correctly, it’s easy for it to go unnoticed. On the other hand, most often voice acting is brought up, when it’s not up to par. Poor voice acting can hurt a game if the characters seem flat, or the actors don’t manage to portray the emotion correctly.

Often times in foreign films, the voice acting can suffer due to attempts to match a character’s performance. It’s not that the actor isn’t doing a good job matching, but it comes off sounding like an imitation, and lacks the expression, because of the boundaries set by the previous voice actor. This was apparent in the difference in performance between the “Zerg Reveal Trailer” and the “Kerrigan Reveal Cinematic”. Many thought that the first trailer was going to be the voice of Kerrigan in StarCraft II due to the similarities in their sound, but a a certain article claims that it is instead Joanna Cleland’s voice-over of a Zerg Queen in the “Zerg Reveal Trailer”, not Glynnis’s voice-over of Kerrigan. There is an distinct difference between the two voices that many were pleased to hear when the second cinematic was released.

 

Zerg Reveal Trailer
(Queen/Kerrigan Stand In VA)

 

Kerrigan Reveal Cinematic
(Kerrigan’s Original VA Glynnis Talken)

 

Kerrigan Reveal SCII Cinematic
(Kerrigan’s replacement VA Tricia Helfer)

Voice acting helps us connect with the character. This is even greater with characters that have been around for long periods of time. It brings back the memories and sense of nostalgia that you experienced when you first interacted with them. Kevin Conroy is a voice actor who is extremely well known for being the voice of Batman for over 15 years. Regardless of the artwork or style changes that the character has gone through over this time, it’s his voice that helps cement the character as being the same one and gives us what’s needed to anchor the continuity of the character to his previous incarnations, and is a fan favorite for that reason. In the original StarCraft, the most that players had to identify the characters by was a tiny pixilated sprite, and the animated unit portrait. It was the voices of the characters that helped set the tone of StarCraft, immerse us in the universe’s mythology, and helped make the story all of the things that it is known for today. This is something that no one other than the original voice actors can give to the characters of StarCraft II.

With the enormous graphical updates that have been made over the last 10 years, we’re now able to see newer, and more detailed versions of the characters as they’ve evolved over the four years that have passed in the StarCraft universe. With characters like Raynor who had changes made to his character’s appearance, as well as the emotional changes that his character underwent since the end of BroodWar, the loss of his voice distances us even further from the character, and makes it difficult for many to connect the two characters together. In the “Kerrigan Animatic” sequence revisiting Kerrigan’s desertion to the Zerg, the fact that the original voice isn’t present strikes an off note, because it’s not the way that we as fans remember it.

Kerrigan Flashback Animatic
(Kerrigan [Glynnis Talken] & Raynor [StarCraft II Stand-In VA])

Kerrigan Left Behind At New Gettysburg (Starts at 2:31)
(Original StarCraft Cast: Glynnis Talken & Robert Clotworthy)

Kerrigan Flashback SCII Cinematic
(Kerrigan [Tricia Helfer] & Raynor [Robert Clotworthy])

For my money, there’s still only one true Sarah Kerrigan, Queen of Blades, & leader of the Zerg and I can honestly say that my money won’t be there for StarCraft Remastered IF her original performance doesn’t come along with it. Speaking personally, would rather go through the strife of playing an outdated game with the original performances than playing a new version with retconned ones if that becomes the case. I’m happy to engage in all the Zergling-filled riots in the streets and all that if they attempt to overwrite that bit of video game history.

Fingers crossed until we see what comes of it all.

 

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