The Xel'Naga are an ancient, cosmic race from the StarCraft universe—a fictional universe in which a series of computer games and books are set. The Xel'Naga helped the Protoss and the Zerg races to evolve. In the end, the Xel'Naga were destroyed by their own creation, the Zerg, when the Zerg Overmind launched an attack against them from the planet Zerus. It is likely that members of the race still live and await the time for the universe to be ready to accept their guidance. In a recent campaign demo of Starcraft 2, a cinematic shows the Dark Templar Zeratul telling Jim Raynor about the return of the Xel'Naga. It is also possible that they assisted other races to reach a higher level in their individual evolutions.
It is improbable that the Xel'Naga will be playable in StarCraft II, as it has repeatedly been announced that the game will only feature the three main races: Protoss, Terran, and Zerg. It has been confirmed that the Xel'Naga will be featured in StarCraft II "in a rather epic tale."
The Xel'Naga came to the Milky Way Galaxy from beyond and were a psionically-attuned, highly advanced race. They had reached what they considered the ultimate stage of evolution, the creation and tending of lesser races.
The Xel'Naga's primary intent was purity of form, and to this end they travelled the galaxy, altering many interesting species they had encountered to enhance the species with this purity of form. However, each time they were met by failure.
Involvement with the Protoss
The Xel'Naga journeyed to the edge of the galaxy and to the huge world of Aiur. On this world, they discovered a psionic hunter race that would be known as the Protoss, who displayed amazing strength, speed and resilience. The Xel'Naga took this to be a sign of purity of form. The species also had a unique psionic link. Seeing them as a successful creation, they were named Protoss, meaning "first born". The Xel'Naga secretly cared for them, and eventually, when they deemed it ready, revealed themselves to them. The site where they first set foot on Aiur was marked by a Temple, which they had constructed over a nexus of cosmic energy.
The Protoss united, fascinated by these new "gods", and learned much from them. Eventually, however, splits developed among the tribes as they struggled on decisions of what they should think of themselves, their inventions, and the Xel'Naga. The Xel'Naga had worked to unite them in one organization, but instead the tribes split and distanced themselves from each other. Indeed, the split was so severe that it caused the disappearance of the psionic link. The Xel'Naga, knowing that they had pushed their creation too far and too fast, set off from the world, disappointed at their failure.
The Protoss, left behind, had only themselves to turn upon. This led to a stage of Protoss history called the Aeon of Strife, a war lasting hundreds of years.
Involvement with the Zerg
Seeing the problems caused by a species with purity of form, the Xel'Naga now set out to create a race displaying a purity of essence.
The Xel'Naga settled over an ash-world named Zerus, located in the core of the galaxy, and chose the most insignificant lifeform on the planet—a larval creature known as the Zerg. While having no ability to affect their physical surroundings, the Zerg had just the traits the Xel'Naga were looking for: genetic versatility and psionic sensitivity. They nurtured these creatures, allowing them to affect their surroundings in almost parasitic ways. Eventually, they began infesting the creatures of the planet, turning them into monstrosities. The Zerg spread rapidly across the planet, infesting or slaying every living lifeform on the surface. In addition to this, they would absorb the creature into their gene pool, allowing the Zerg to replicate and then duplicate them, fueling their rapid growth. The Xel'Naga realized their mistake with the Protoss, and, instead of revealing themselves, created something to speak for them and contain their collected instincts and sentience. The Overmind was created in the Xel'Naga's fashion to watch over the swarm. The Xel'Naga wanted to centralize the intelligence in the Overmind as opposed to the entire species, like they did with the Protoss. The Overmind, however, was plotting to destroy its creators and spread across the galaxy. A surprise attack was launched against the Xel'Naga, wiping out most of the race's Worldships and the greater whole of the Xel'Naga in the first waves. The ancient ones who survived fled Zerus, and may have fled known space. Their location and survival rate is unknown.
The Xel'Naga left behind many legacies. On a nexus of cosmic energy on Aiur, they built a Temple to mark the spot where they first set foot upon Aiur. They did the same thing on Shakuras, where their marks (such as darkening the planet and a temple capable of destroying Zerg) are more obvious. Finally, there are prophecies relating to the planet Braken, a Protoss world with religious significance.
The prophecies claim that "he who harnesses this world will someday wield a great power, sanctified by the ancient ones". This could be a reference to the Xel'Naga.
In the book "Shadow of the Xel'Naga", on the planet Bhekar Ro, a giant glowing object inside a mountain was unearthed by a violent storm. One of the inhabitants, Lars Bren, came in contact with the object and was absorbed by it. It then sent a message into space, alerting the Zerg and Protoss of its existence. The Terran Dominion also arrived, figuring the object might be a weapon to finish off the aliens for good. Already the Protoss had set up camp around the object. After a large-scale nuclear attack, the object then became some phoenix-like creature, absorbing all Zerg and Protoss in its wake. It even destroyed some of the Dominion ships.
An extinct race?
Only ruins remain of the ancient race, some of which are functional. It is possible that a few survivors of the doomed race managed to escape the wrath of the Zerg and thrive upon a distant world or in an alternate universe or dimension, cutting themselves off from outside contact. If this is so, then it has not yet been discovered. Also, perhaps only an expeditionary group, representing only a fraction of the entire race, arrived at the Protoss and Zerg homeworlds while there were many others still at their own home planet. None of this has been revealed by Blizzard Entertainment.
- "StarCraft2.com - FAQ". Blizzard Entertainment. http://www.starcraft2.com/faq.xml. Retrieved 2007-05-19.
- Park, Andrew (2007-05-19). "Q&A session details Starcraft II". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/starcraft2/news.html?sid=6171172. Retrieved 2007-05-19.
- Rausch, Allen (2007-05-19). "StarCraft II Q&A Sessions". GameSpy. http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/starcraft-2/790164p1.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19.
- Park, Andrew (2007-05-20). "Blizzard talks Starcraft II gameplay details". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6171178.html. Retrieved 2007-05-20.
- StarCraft homepage at Blizzard Entertainment
- Battle.net StarCraft Compendium
- Blizzard Map of the Month - information on the prophecies of Braken
- Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.