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Nihilistic Software was a game development studio brought to work in on StarCraft: Ghost. It continues to operate under the moniker of "nStigate Games."
Blizzard was impressed with Nihilistic's work on Vampire: The Masquerade. Afterwards, Nihilistic pitched the idea of Ghost to Blizzard, suggesting it could be a means for Blizzard to enter the console market. A tech demo was pitched, and an agreement was made that Nihilistic would handle the bulk of the game's development, while Blizzard would guide development with constant feedback and provide cinematics. Work began on Ghost in 2000/'01, with no set deadline. While the plot underwent numerous revisions, the style of gameplay came together quickly.
At some point, development of the game went awry. According to Robert Huebner, this was when regular meetings with Blizzard became more about adding new features and experimenting and less about perfecting an established idea. Blizzard seemed to be taking influence from games as they were released—when Splinter Cell was released in 2002, Blizzard's demands mirrored some elements of the title. An added problem was inconsistent feedback, and that Ghost suffered a number of producer changes. This also made the Nihilistic developers feel as though Blizzard wasn't making Ghost a priority. Noticably, Blizzard also began demanding more action in the game, said game previously being far more stealth focused. The stealth-action divide fluctuated between the two ends of the spectrum, and there was also the question of multiplayer (reportedly, Nihilistic resented the presence of multiplayer, and preferred to focus on the stealth elements). Blizzard's strike teams (groups designed to deliver feedback on various projects) gave different impressions on the game, leading to more confusion. As time went on, many at Nihilistic and Blizzard felt communication began to break down between the two companies.
In late 2003 and 2004, the tension was coming to a head. The game's development had continued for so long, and no progress was being made. Members of Nihilistic were in contact with Electronic Arts by this point. In 2004, the product was in a shippable state, but had a large amount of missing content. That same year, a few Nihilistic representatives met with Blizzard, where the game's state was discussed. While neither party explicitly stated development was about to end, according to Huebner, it was clear from the things being said that both sides of the project felt production needed to wrap up. After Ghost had spent years in development and many on both sides of the fence had become frustrated with the situation, Blizzard met with Nihilistic and indicated that its contract might be winding down. This was proven correct, and Nihilistic ceased work on the game.
Nihlistic went on to work on various other projects. On October 17, 2012, Nihilistic reorganized their business to focus on mobile gaming, changing their name to nStigate.
- ↑ July, 2016, STARCRAFT: GHOST: WHAT WENT WRONG. Polygon, accessed on 2016-07-08
- ↑ Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified developer Nihilistic reorganizing to focus on online and mobile games. Polygon. Vox Media Inc.. Retrieved on 15 November 2012.