On September 19, 2002, Blizzard Entertainment announced at the Tokyo Game Show that they had commenced production of a new game: Starcraft: Ghost.

The game takes place in the universe of Blizzard's best-selling Starcraft. The player takes control of a (female) Terran Ghost (a highly trained psychic special ops soldier) named Nova. Naturally, the player gets to take advantage of various super-human physical and psychic abilities, as well as an assortment of weaponry.

To lapse into gaming jargon for a moment (bear with me) it's a third-person shooter with tactical aspects. It seems a little like Command and Conquer: Renegade (the Westwood Studios first-person shooter based on their sucessful Command and Conquer series of strategy games), but with an aspect of stealth, and, it seems, larger-scale battlefield control. Very little is actually known about the game at this time, but calling it a mix of Renegade and Metal Gear Solid might not be too far off the mark. These psionic abilities will probably be handled in a manner similar to Jedi Knight II's force powers, or, with somewhat more complexity, System Shock 2's psionic abilities (this is all just guesswork; I'm merely stating examples of previous games which sucessfully did similiar things).

The game is already the subject of much criticism, following the announcement that the game would be released for consoles only. Many members of the gaming community (myself not included) feel that Blizzard is abandoning the PC crowd (this is absurd; the inevitable Starcraft 2 will doubtless be for the PC, as will any future Diablo games). Exactly which consoles it will be available for are as yet unknown, though a multiple console release is probable. The release date is currently "late 2003". Blizzard, of course, has a long track record of delaying games (sometimes several times); Warcraft 3, remember, originally had a 1999 release date (this did not last long, of course) and was released in 2002.

As which console (or combination of consoles) the game will be released for is still unknown, there is a distinct possibility of support for the various new multiplayer services available for the current generation of consoles. I suspect that (with Blizzard's track record) the game could become the killer app for these multiplayer services, accelerating sales of both the consoles themselves and their respective network adapters. Assuming, of course, that the next generation of consoles hasn't come out by that time (which would make the game a killer app for those systems, and not these current ones). This is all the ramblings of a madman, of course, so don't take me too seriously.

The current website for the game-in-progress is: http://www.blizzard.com/ghost

Update 10/25/02

Blizzard has released a new trailer for the game, at http://www.blizzard.com/ghost/movies/

The trailer shows a variety of standard Starcraft weaponry, like machine guns, flamethrowers, a sniper rifle, et cetera. Enemies to be fought seem to include everything from what appear to be zerglings to the huge Goliath mechs, to a showdown with a Zealot. The end of the trailer announces the 2003 release date (which, again, given Blizzard's track record, may change) and flashes the logos of the Gamecube, the Playstation 2, and the Xbox. So much for my thoughts of this being a next-generation console game, but this is good news all around. It still seems like a third person shooter with a stealth emphasis (as initally thought). If it showed the use of any psychic abilities, it was subtle enough that I didn't notice them (my knee-jerk reaction is to take this as a good thing). Sounds fun.

Update 3/25/2006

The game has been postponed indefinitely (viz. cancelled) while Blizzard evaluates the next-gen consoles. Ha! I was right.

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