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StarCraft: Ghost

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This article is about the game. For the novels, see StarCraft: Ghost: Nova, StarCraft: Ghost Academy and StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres.
StarCraft Ghost Logo2

This article or section contains information about StarCraft: Ghost, which has been declared non-canon. Elements may be taken as 'flavor lore' however.
The content may be significantly out of date. Please do not add speculation to this article, and remember to cite a published source for details.

StarCraft: Ghost
SC-G Logo1
Developer

Blizzard Entertainment
Nihilistic Software
Swingin' Ape Studios

Designer(s)

Dave Maldonado
Chris Metzen
Jacob Stephens
John LaGrave[1]

Released

Indefinitely postponed

Genre

Third-person shooter

Engine

Proprietary

Modes

Single-player, multiplayer

Platforms

Xbox, Playstation 2, and Gamecube (previously)

Input

Game controller

StarCraft: Ghost was a tactical action game for video game consoles, announced on September 19, 2002, under development by Blizzard Entertainment and Nihilistic Software.[2] Development later shifted to Swingin' Ape Studios,[3] which Blizzard eventually bought.[4] The game was based in the StarCraft universe.

Blizzard, known for computer games, took a step in a different direction by developing it exclusively for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 video game consoles. A GameCube version was also planned, but it was canceled in November 2005.[5]

Gameplay

SC-G Cover1

Preliminary cover of StarCraft: Ghost

Ghost's gameplay centered around a single-player campaign, in which the player controlled Nova, a ghost agent. The game was stealth-based, meaning Nova would frequently stealthily approach objectives, using darkness, shadows and cloaking to avoid detection. However, the opponents could sometimes use decloaking devices to detect her. In addition, opponents who couldn't see her would still try to hunt her down if they detected her in some way.[6]

The player would need to solve simple puzzles in some parts of the game in order to bypass security "locks". For instance, in order to bypass zerg security, Nova must match her psi energy with the system code, and the player must work out color wave patterns to simulate this.[7]

Nova was capable of a wide variety of combat moves, including climbing and sliding down ziplines.[6] Nova can use techniques such as "dangle snipe" (in which she hangs from a pipe with her legs and snipes an opponent)[8] and also make instant stealth kill attacks[9] in a mini-game in which the player uses different button combinations against different opponents. Nova can even kill an opponent by forcing a grenade into an opponent's helmet and then sealing it shut.[10]

In addition, a variety of vehicles played a role in the game, some of which could be directly controlled by the player;[11] Nova could direct other vehicles to strike enemy targets.[7]

Nova was typically equipped with an AGR-14 assault rifle and a sniper rifle,[12] but could carry a variety of other weapons[13] and grenades.[10] She sometimes used the psyblade, a melee weapon designed using protoss technology.[14]

Nova has powerful psionic abilities, including cloaking, psionic sight (which enables her to see heat signatures through walls) and psionic speed (which quadruples her speed).[15]

Multiplayer Modes

In multiplayer mode, players could play (as terrans) light infantry, marines, firebats and ghosts.[16] They could drive or fly vultures, stingers, siege tanks and Grizzlies.[17] As zerg, they could play zerglings, hydralisks, infested marines and mutalisks.[18]

Several multiplayer game modes were available, such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, King of the Hill and Capture the Base.[19]

Mobile Conflict

MarSaraMobileConflict SC-G Art1

Mar Sara Mobile Conflict map

Capture the Base, also known as Mobile Conflict, involves two teams of up to eight players trying to capture a mobile factory and bring it to their own side using infantry units, which can fight inside it;[20][19] they would be dropped off using Grizzlies.[17][19] The battle takes place on Mar Sara.[21]

Invasion

HeliosInvasion SC-G Art1

Helios Invasion Map

Another game mode was Invasion, in which players attempted to take control of resource nodes for points, gaining more powerful units which could be used to destroy the enemy base.[20] Points can be gained for killing enemy units.[22] Taking control of an unoccupied node requires a player unit to remain near the point until a control meter fills up. If the node has already been occupied, the panel controlling it must first be destroyed.[23]

The bases are connected by a web of these interconnected nodes. Each node must be captured in turn, which enables dead characters to respawn at a point closer to the front line.[22]

This game mode includes a minimap.[22]

Players start as the lowest ranking unit on each side; light infantry for terrans and zerglings for the zerg. Gaining access to higher ranking units requires an expenditure of points: a marine costs two points, a firebat costs three and a ghost costs the most at five, while a hydralisk costs one point, an infested marine costs two points and a mutalisk costs the most at five. Respawning takes 0 points.[23]

At least one Invasion Mode scenario would take place on Helios over a khaydarin crystal.[24]

New and changed units

Terrans

Player Units:

Unit Name Description
Light Infantry Light infantry are security guards found in various terran installations, they are equipped with lighter armor than marines.[25] They can produce gun turrets and decloaking devices.[16]
Marine In addition to their standard issue C-14 "Impaler" Gauss rifle, marines can now carry flak pistols and grenades.[16]
Firebat In addition to their standard issue Perdition plasma-based flamethrower, firebats can fire napalm rockets, of the guided or unguided variety.[16]
Ghost Ghosts will wield an assault rifle/grenade-launcher combination as their standard weapon. The AGR-14 rifle is less powerful than the C-14 "Impaler" gauss rifle. This weapon is different from the original C-10 canister rifle. In addition, ghosts can use the BOSUN FN92 sniper rifle (which is, again, different from their long-ranged canister rifle from StarCraft), a special lockdown device,[16] and the psyblade (a psionic melee weapon developed using protoss technology).[14]

Player Vehicles:

TerrVehicles SC-G BlizzCon2005

Terran vehicles in StarCraft : Ghost.

Grizzly SC-G Game1

Terran Grizzly bomber

Unit Name Description
Grizzly The Grizzly is a fighter-bomber which carries passengers.[26]
Siege Tank Equipped with plasma cannons.[17]
Stinger This six-wheeled terran jeep fills a role in between that of the vulture and the siege tank. It has a crew of two and is equipped with a heavy assault cannon.[27]
Vulture The vulture is armed with a powerful laser[28] or grenade launcher.[17]

Non-Player Units:

Unit Name Description
Spectre The result of genetic experiments conducted on ghosts using terrazine gas.[29]
Seeker droid These small robots prowl installations. They can reveal a cloaked ghost to other units.[30]

Zerg

Player Units:

Unit Name Description
Zergling Virtually unchanged from StarCraft, has a bloodlust ability.[18]
Hydralisk Also virtually unchanged, but now has a melee attack.[18]
Infested Marine Capable of firing poisonous rounds from an "infested" gauss rifle, in addition to its suicidal explosion ability and a claw attack.[18]
Mutalisk Fires a bio-plasma attack and can pick up ground units to drain them of life.[18]
BrainSpectre SC-G Cncpt1

Brain spectre, cybered overlord

Non-Player Units:

Unit Name Description
Infested Terran
Infested Scientist
Infested SCV pilot
Overlord Some have been locked into tanks.
Brain Spectre Cybernetically enhanced overlord.

Protoss

Vindicator SC-G Game1

Protoss vindicator

Unit Name Description
Vindicator Also known as the purifier,[31] little is known about this unit. It carries a single, large "lightning gun" on its arm. The vindicator does not move while firing the ranged weapon.[32]
Zealot
Dragoon
High Templar
Dark Templar

Storyline

Blizzard declared the storyline of the unreleased game non-canon in 2012.[33]

Background

The story was supposed to take place four years after the Brood War.[29] However, this appears to have been retconned to 2503.[34]

Emperor Arcturus Mengsk has rebuilt much of the Terran Dominion and built up a new military, despite having to worry about the zerg.[29] Smaller factions have been taking this opportunity to seize power while larger factions are otherwise distracted.[35]

Mengsk and his new adviser, General Horace Warfield, have begun a secret project codenamed "Shadow Blade".[29] The project uses protoss technology.[35] The program uses terrazine gas to alter the genetic makeup of ghosts. These ghosts are transformed into spectres – shadowy superhuman beings bent on executing the will of their true master.[29]

In addition, a Blizzard panel at BlizzCon 2005 revealed that Kerrigan was massing her forces on Char and was strong enough to "crush the entire sector", Mengsk rebuilt the Dominion military with robotics and stolen protoss technology and has retaken a number of worlds, while Artanis was trying to merge the two groups of protoss, made more difficult because many Dark Templar hate the protoss who had banished them from Aiur.[36]

The main character of the game is Nova, a terran ghost (psionic espionage agent) in the employment of the Terran Dominion squadron, Nova Squadron,[37] working for Colonel Jackson Hauler in his ghost squad.[38] She used to be a member of the Confederate Old Families, but has since undergone a memory wipe.[39][37]

Nova is about to embark upon a perilous mission to uncover the frightening truth behind Project: Shadow Blade – this conspiracy will cause her to question her own identity while embroiled in a struggle between the Terran Dominion and the rebel Koprulu Liberation Front.[29] She was expected to have to make a choice between her loyalties to Jackson Hauler and to Arcturus Mengsk.[40]

Campaign

Intro SC-G VCine106:00

Intro SC-G VCine1

Opening video.

The opening video shows a group of Terran Dominion marines (and a few firebats) assaulting a zerg-infested "vespene" refinery[41] (actually a terrazine refinery)[42] on Mar Sara. Captain Bock leads the group, but is incompetent and refuses to listen to Lieutenant Haggs' suggestion to scout the area first, and when HQ says it will send three dropships with reinforcements, one with a black ops unit, Bock tries to cancel the order. Bock's forces promptly fall into a zerg ambush. He pleads for reinforcements, which arrive in the form of the dropships, one of which is carrying Nova and a black ops team. Two of the dropships are shot down by mutalisks but the third safely lands, disgorging the black ops unit and Nova.[41]

Storyline Notes

StarCraft: Ghost "had a killer plot and a really good bad guy," according to Blizzard Entertainment. It was unrelated to the main storyline of StarCraft.[43]

Robert Clotworthy was hired to voice act for Jim Raynor in the game.[44] Other characters connected to the major protoss and zerg plotlines were not projected to play a role in the game.[43]

Characters of StarCraft: Ghost

Characters SC-G Art1

Character montage

Characters Based on Concept Art:
Terrans

Protoss

Planets Visited in StarCraft: Ghost

Development

Nihilistic Software, the original development team, began development on StarCraft: Ghost in 2001.[2] Nihilistic aimed to release the game for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube consoles in late 2003.[53] During the summer of 2002, the entire Nihilistic Software development team quit en masse.[54] Following the resignations, Blizzard reassured their customers that there was nothing to worry about, that Nihilistic Software had merely finished the job they were hired for, that there were no power struggles inside the company and that the game will be delivered on time.[55]

In July 2004, Blizzard Entertainment employed Swingin' Ape Studios to work on the game,[3] later buying the company in May 2005.[4]

The Gamecube version was canceled in 2005.[5]

During the summer of 2006, Blizzard announced that StarCraft: Ghost would be indefinitely postponed while they examined the capabilities of the PS3, X-Box 360, and Wii systems.[56] Blizzard eventually decided not to continue producing the game, as it was in internal competition with World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.[57][56] Eventually Blizzard chose not to continue the game because they didn't believe it could succeed.[57]

The Aftermath

CustomMapPreview SC2 VDevGame105:20

CustomMapPreview SC2 VDevGame1

Galaxy Map Editor demonstrating a StarCraft: Ghost inspired custom map

Blizzard employee Rob Pardo suggests that StarCraft: Ghost had failed but could be brought back;[58] Blizzard has explained that the game was never announced as canceled or dead[59] and it is simply focusing on other games.[60]

At the World Wide Invitational 2008 Rob Pardo has suggested that the game was a "miss" and so was canceled.[61] The console division appears to have been canceled; Blizzard has no plans to reopen it and as of August 2008, no-one is working on it and it wasn't even on the radar,[62] Blizzard having its hands full with other projects.[63] In July 2008 the Guardian newspaper reported that Blizzard had quietly shelved StarCraft: Ghost due to the economy.[64] At BlizzCon 2008 Mike Morhaime said that StarCraft: Ghost was losing resources in competition to World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Diablo III, and Blizzard decided that "now is not the right time" for StarCraft: Ghost.[65] At BlizzCon 2009 Chris Metzen said Ghost would "rest in peace".[66] However, Michael Morhaime also suggested it could return when a team becomes available.[67] By 2011, he stated that the game had fallen into a position where it could not succeed.[57] Occassionally the development team behind the game has been talked to, as to whether the project could be finished.[68]

In 2011, Blizzard confirmed that StarCraft: Ghost was not in development for financial reasons.[69] The lack of development remained true in 2012—the game has no development team, and was not discussed, though according to Dustin Browder, it was not impossible that the game could be resuscitated at some point in the future.[70]

At PAX East 2013, Blizzard employee Matthew Burger stated that the project was on hold, had never been canceled, and did not rule out the game being released one day.[71]

Assets from the game, such as interior installation art, were used in StarCraft II.[72]

Legacy

Licensed Fiction

SC-Ghost-Nova Nov Cover1

Nova—the first novel in the Ghost sub-series

StarCraft: Ghost Lore Products
StarCraft: Ghost: Nova
StarCraft: Frontline: Weapon of War
StarCraft: Frontline: War-Torn
StarCraft: Frontline: Orientation
StarCraft: Ghost Academy
StarCraft OGN
StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres

StarCraft: Ghost can be considered to form a sub-series of its own in the realm of tie-in StarCraft fiction, with novels and manga designated as such. According to James Waugh, the story is split into a "meta-tale" involving a long series of products.[73]

StarCraft: Ghost: Nova, a Keith R. A. DeCandido-authored novel and the prequel to StarCraft: Ghost, was published after development on StarCraft: Ghost was put on hiatus. It was intended to be published alongside the game (and its release was delayed in an attempt to ensure this).[74] Focusing on Nova's backstory, the novel's plotline largely took place during the Great War.[39]

Several stories in the StarCraft: Frontline series featuring Colin Phash[75] were linked to the graphic novel series, StarCraft: Ghost Academy. Ghost Academy is based on the adventures of Nova during her training at the Ghost Academy,[76] taking place at the end of StarCraft: Ghost: Nova.[77]

The StarCraft OGN will be part of the subseries.[73]

Plot elements of the StarCraft: Ghost storyline were revealed in a novel entitled StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres.[77] In it, Agent Nova is sent to investigate incidents of ghosts being kidnapped.[78]

StarCraft: Ghost in StarCraft II

Nova SC2 SMS1

Nova on a Hyperion TV screen

Elements of Ghost's featured in StarCraft II. Gabriel Tosh, a character from the subfranchise, appeared on the Hyperion in Wings of Liberty and served as a connection between the two storylines.[79] The storyline of Ghost, especially parts revolving around the Terran Dominion, acted as a building block for StarCraft II.[80] Horace Warfield also returned, albeit with a redesigned appearance and backstory.[81]

GabrielToshMissons SC2 Icon1

This article or section contains information from the optional Covert Missions in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

As revealed through optional missions offered by Tosh, Project Shadow Blade, led by Gabriel Tosh, had rebelled against the Terran Dominion, but many of its spectres were captured and put into New Folsom Prison at the hands of Agent Nova.[82]

Tosh hired Raynor's Raiders to collect materials needed to create spectres: jorium and terrazine.[83][84]

Nova SC2 Head1

Nova in StarCraft II

However, his secretiveness worried Jim Raynor. Tosh tried to hire him for a final task, a raid on New Folsom Prison. However, Nova contacted Raynor, telling him that Tosh and his spectres were psychotic, and he should help her shut down Tosh's spectre-making operations on Avernus Station. Raynor could choose to either help Tosh or Nova.[82]

Notes

In February 2009 China banned StarCraft: Ghost's name as an e-sports brand due to issues involving "superstition".[85]

References

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  73. 73.0 73.1 "The beauty here is the meta-story. If you read all three Ghost Academy volumes, then the upcoming Spectres novel by Nate Kenyon, and play the game, and read an upcoming graphic novel via DC, you're getting a pretty amazing product-spanning tale that took a lot of coordination, but the result is worth it!" 2011-06-22, Q&A With Blizzard's Manga Team. Cryptozoic, accessed on 2011-07-13
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