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Lurker

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

So this is the lurker that of course didn’t make it into StarCraft II multiplayer. You do get to see lurkers in the singleplayer Heart of the Swarm campaign. We tried, but it didn’t make it in. But this was fun because it had shown up in the videos they were showing because it was going to be in the original Wings of Liberty. So I always thought the StarCraft II lurker design was a bit strange, so I went back to the Brood War lurker. It was this render that was basically a hydralisk head on top of these different legs, which was a little strange, but I definitely liked the chunkier feel of the sprite, so I tried to capture that here. The lurker was definitely one of my favourite units from Brood War!

Mutalisk

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

This is another one I did before I joined Blizzard. As I mentioned before, I looked at this when I was doing the newer mutalisk illustration, and played up some of the designed that I’d pulled into it when I created this one.

It’s funny, quite a few of these illustrations are actually in the Heart of the Swarm artbook, they’ve retroactively made all this stuff I’ve done official Blizzard art, which is amazing edifying, that it was cool enough to be official. If I wasn’t working at Blizzard this is still what I’d be doing – now I just happen to be doing fan art that’s also official art!

In The Blood

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

This is another short story illustration. This was an interesting one because it’s still zerg, but it’s not the super-scary hydralisk leaping out of the shadows to attack you, it’s larvae, the base zerg unit. It’s not exciting in and of itself in the game, it crawls around and you turn it into something cool. I think the story was an interesting take on the zerg, just because it’s not about marines getting attacked by zerglings, it’s not about that side of the StarCraft universe, it’s about something a little bit more civilian, I suppose, a little more removed from the game. It was a lot of fun showing something that’s maybe not so exciting in an interesting way.

Overlord

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

The overlord is like a larva: it’s not one of the most exciting units, it’s not flashy, and it’s not going to destroy a squadron of marines. But there’s something satisfying about making something like that cool.

Queen

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

Another big one. The queen was a really interesting design. I never had any issues with it, especially coming from Brood War where the queen was a weird kind of flying umbrella thing! The portrait for that thing was just completely insane, so I think everyone was pretty happy with the redesign of the queen.

Roach

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

Ah, the roach. Those bastards.

StarCraft Master

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

This is another in-game loading screen for a micro-challenge map we released about a year ago. It’s a little more illustrative, a little more stylised, I really don’t draw enough protoss stuff, but that’s something I’ll definitely get to do more of with Legacy of the Void. I’m really looking forward to that!

Swarm Host

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

Some new zerg stuff released for Heart of the Swarm to go with the newly released unit pages on the web. They got some extra art.

The Teacher

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

Ah yes, these hydralisks. This was, again, another short story illustration about a Dominion science project working on controlling a squadron of hydralisks which, you can imagine, doesn’t go as well as they’d hoped! That was a lot of fun.

Confrontation

Art of the Swarm: Luke Mancini on designing the zerg

This is interesting because this is official Blizzard art but it wasn’t technically for Blizzard. It was for ImagineFX, a digital art magazine. So I was doing a process thing, and they said, "Do something StarCraft related.” I didn’t really have a brief for it, so I decided that I don’t do much protoss stuff, so I came up with this.

I basically did it in one sitting. They’d asked me to record my process for it. It ended up taking me about eight hours and I sent off the 4GB video and assumed they’d get that and shrink it down so that people could watch it in a timely manner, but when I got my copy of the magazine it turns out they’d put the entire eight hour video on the DVD.

I got a message from one person who said they’d watched the entire thing! I didn’t intend for them to put the entire thing on, but it was a heap of fun. I love doing the concept work, but there was definitely a different goal with this. It was to convey an idea, an illustration to capture the feel of the universe, and to see it from a different scale to what you would in-game.