After the release of Heart of the Swarm, I looked for the cinematics and eventually even started watching a complete playthrough, to see what else is there, largely ignoring the actual missions and only looking for any other dialogs and cutscenes that may add to Kerrigan‘s character development. While otherwise the story they wrapped around the game mechanics isn’t exactly something to write home about and the other characters are shallow as well, Blizzard truly managed to accomplish something with her and I consider her to be clearly one of the best characters in gaming. Of course, considering who owns them now and their despicable policies when it comes to DRM, I’m boycotting them and won’t be playing these newer games even if they’d give them to me for free, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize what they managed to do with her.
Creating a character you can truly care for is an achievement in itself, but when said character is also, for the most part, a villain, not to mention one as terrible as the Queen of Blades, the feat becomes absolutely outstanding. I react badly to what I perceive to be evil in characters and actions, yet here is a character who lied, schemed and played all others according to her whims and desires, crushed most of the galaxy and is directly responsible for untold suffering and billions of deaths, including those of several other key characters, and not only that I don’t hate her, but I actually find myself cheering for her, and did cheer for her back when I played the original StarCraft and Brood War as well.
A part of the reason why that happens has to be the fact that she’s not solely a villain, but switched from hero to villain and at times even to damsel in distress several times so far and the lines between the three are becoming increasingly blurred. However, the most important part is that she can be understood, that she has an actual personality that you can feel you can get to know and her grand plans have complex motivations. This, as I already stated, is rare in itself, yet Blizzard seem to be getting constantly better at it, even if it does seem that it requires focusing most of their creative talent solely on her at the expense of any other character or detailed story elements.
Now don’t read this next part if you don’t want spoilers, but I have to say that I believe the crucial moment when it comes to her is not the ending of Heart of the Swarm or what comes next, but her rescue of Raynor. Managing to make “the queen bitch of the universe” actually look vulnerable and perhaps more human in every good way than any of the characters that actually are completely human is quite an accomplishment, and in fact the reason why I’m writing this. I remembered her fondly and looked up a lot of information after the release of Wings of Liberty as well, but if there was still room for doubt before, this one scene clearly makes her fight for the top spot in any classification of best characters in gaming.