Well, from what I can tell, neither the "popularity" or the "story" priority assumptions really bear out, and are over-simplifcations. On the one hand, the devs do seem to be dead set on on filling in the roster from the first four games before going with anybody from SCIV forward. On the other hand, while working within that span, they haven't been too particular on getting the earlier characters into the plot before characters originally introduced in SCII and SCIII, if it leads to a more diverse roster or gets a fan favourite in just a bit sooner.Well, as of now there isn't really any solid evidence pointing towards the idea that story is taking precedence over popularity for them. There's a reason Cassandra of all characters is seemingly in the first season pass when they could have gone for Lizardman, Hwang or Rock instead, characters who actually have established storylines in the current timeframe. There's a reason characters like Talim and Tira made it at launch over those three too: it would have been easier to write those three into the base storyline but instead characters such as Talim and Tira made it before them on the basis of how popular the devs perceive them to be. Yes, they still got their specific stories filled with poorly written dialogue and badly handled time cuts, but a lot of it was made up on the spot seemingly because the devs knew they wanted them in the game due to popularity regardless. If story was their top priority everyone from SC1 would have been here first before any SC2/3 newcomers. That's just how I view it, anyway.