Sure it is. But humans is a really damn broad characterization when you get down to it. Insufferable arrogant pricks sure of their own sainthood along the lines of early ST:TNG? Sinners like Game of Thrones? Does the General Assembly have actual power or the Security Council holds the only meaningful ability? Who has military oversight? There's a huge amount we're not told which is directly relevant and not filled in by the usual general gap-filling. You're simply not looking at it.
You are putting too many expectations of detail into a game that consistently decided to go at it minimalistically. Yes, how are the rainbows in Capella VI, what is the regional architecture of Polaris IV, what kind of virtual games are most enjoyed in Delta Serpentis? There is no end to the detailing of any lore if one so wishes. Your demands are just way far above my own here. Notice how the whole game doesn't even have a protagonist
. This decision is consistent throughout: the idea to have as little characterization of the "good guys" part so that you can easily "fill in the banks" with your own "unknown knowns" (your preferences, baggages, prejudices, etc.) and not even think about them
. The focus should be on the plot, not on world building. And the plot is about the relationship we as a mortal young species have with an (apparently) immortal, very old, very large, muted species.
We all know what humans are with our baggage, and quite frankly the difference between TNG insufferability and GoT psychopathy is not that great when compared with creatures like the shivans. To worsen your point, we do get
some kind of characterization, from both the speeches we get, their tone, their ambition, their looseness or tightness, their humanity or not. And from all of this the feeling I got was one of "this is just like modern 21st century army human beings around me". To me this is more than enough.
None of which, of course, applies to the Vasudans either.
They do speak with me, they interact with me, I get to see the belly of their destroyer, I somewhat know how they function and they are mostly like humans in the grand scheme of things.
The problem with this concept is that you don't actually deal with any of the rebels from the movies. You do in fact see the Emperor and Vader, of course. But you see plenty of things that don't match up with the movie portrayals as well, like attacks on civilians, exchanges of hostages, the Empire acting as a peacekeeping force, and the Rebel Alliance taking an anarchistic stand against an attempt to establish the basic implements of law and order; all of these are a part of your first couple of campaigns in TIE Fighter.
It was immediately obvious that what you knew was only partially relevant, if it was relevant at all. So it is here; you're arguing we can apply our general knowledge of humanity to an interstellar society with FTL drive and communications, to which I respond that many good authors have spilled much ink exploring the obvious fact this would result in vast societal differences. And did we mention they've integrated a whole other species?
I think what you said is very interesting but missing the point entirely. I really appreciate it, I didn't remember the plot all that well (been a long time), but consider what you said and contrast it against what I meant here. It's clear from what you presented regarding Tie Fighter that they did play
with what we thought we knew from the trilogy, and played us against it
. It's very clever. However, my point stands because you didn't address it at all. While I might not know "these kinds of rebels" that well, I somewhat know they will have intrinsic human archetypical incentives to their actions, they will speak, they are individuals, they suffer, they have things to win and things to lose, they die and are aware of that, they are capable of love, they have families, they are troublesome, I could go on and on and on about it.
Not one of those things do I know about the shivans.
I don't need to presuppose. It's a mathematical certainty that if they intend to fight us and they are in a position of great strength (which is self-evident in both games), then not communicating with us is beneficial because it involves no risk.
Yes it can be construed as such, but it still is a non-sequitur that this is
the definite explanation why they don't. There could be multiple other explanations. Also, it is possible it's not the most
beneficial tactic. Miscommunication and misinformation on a larger level could even be deadlier and way more effective.
That's not FreeSpace 2's thematic concern at all. Consider: the climax of the game comes after the ETAK plots wrap up. You can define it variously; Straight, No Chaser, Their Finest Hour, Clash of the Titans II, or Apocalypse, but it's clearly later. Similarly, the majority of the other missions in the game that are extremely memorable, like A Lion At The Door or The Sixth Wonder, are completely unrelated to ETAK.
There is a laundry list of reasons why the Shivans might want to cause a supernova, ranging from the ingame speculation to wanting to make a statement to the GTVA about not poking them like the nebular campaign did. Bosch's abduction/departure is a predictable consequence of his communication. What isn't rationally explainable from what we know is why the Shivans felt the need to kill much of the Iceni's crew in the process of taking the dozen-odd people they did.
I don't see how any speculation on why they should kill everyone but the dozen-odd ones is weirder than the supernova one. Possibly, because they just wanted to keep it simple and have absolute disregard for human lives. Possibly it was the most efficient manner to bring Bosch aboard and not be burdened by hundreds of irrelevant carbon bags of water. Possibly, they are just brutes. Seriously, I can see how these speculations are less intellectual, but I don't see them "harder" at all. Quite the opposite. My big mystery here is why they took Bosch
, to what end. It follows consistently, it is speculatable. Not any less than the supernova.