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Check out this never-before-seen StarCraft 2 concept art

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Terran and protoss players should breathe a sigh of relief that this flying “Spore Host” didn’t make it into the game.  (Image credit: Sam Didier, Blizzard)

StarCraft 2 celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, with Blizzard releasing a major patch that aimed to help map-makers create StarCraft 2 content for years to come. Meanwhile, Blizzard took PC Gamer on a trip deep into the past, revealing some never-before-seen concept art from the development of StarCraft 2.

The images begged the question: “Could StarCraft 2 have been a wildly different game?” Lead artist Rob McNaughton and game designer Matt Morris helped answer that, revealing some of the ideas that didn’t make the final cut.

Inspecting the images from the vault, a file titled ‘Xel’naga Keepers’ stood out like a gleaming prize. The xel’naga were introduced as StarCraft’s mysterious progenitor race back in 1998, and fans had been allowed precious few glimpses of this shadowy faction until the final SC2 expansion, Legacy of the Void. Was this a remnant of a prototype, playable xel’naga faction that had been scrapped early on in StarCraft 2’s development?

Like “an Archon in a suit of armor,” according to lead artist Rob McNaughton. (Image credit: Blizzard)

The Xel’naga Keeper, alas, was not a true xel’naga unit per se, but an early imagining of what kinds of minions the all-powerful aliens might deploy to impose their will. “As we started working on the lore, we basically found that the xel’naga are too strong,” explained McNaughton. Morris, who oversaw the singleplayer campaigns of StarCraft 2, said that “From a gameplay standpoint, the xel’naga were never really on the table for us to use.” Drat.

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