Section Nein: Ghost In The Shell Online

The trailer for (deep breath) Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: First Connection Online gave me that Syndicate feeling. Not the same Syndicate feeling that Satellite Reign gives me, alas, but rather the troubling memories of the 2012 FPS-capade. All of the details seem to match. A beloved cyberpunk entity translated into a first-person team-based shooter, in which various classes of modified humans use their tech to murderise one another while gathering points to upgrade the rocket launchers implanted in their knuckles. That said, if you can accept the fact that everyone is shooting everyone else all of the time rather than starring in a post-human Alpha Protocol, it doesn’t look entirely terrible.

Once the Inception flatulence and cyber-cleavage is out of the way, the video settles into a fairly predictable rhythm. Here’s a Support ability, here’s a headshot, here’s what looks very much like a bit of PvE. As many comments have already pointed out elsewhere, it looks quite a bit like Blacklight with the addition of the license that the earlier free-to-play effort craved.

There are some neat touches, particularly the use of the Laughing Man logo as a censor bar, but nothing about the video suggests GitS: SAC: FCO will stand out from the free-to-play shooter crowd. Except for the license, of course. And it’s not as if this Ghost in the Shell game precludes the creation of an RPG further down the line – it is what it is and maybe if I’m going to spend my time shooting at strangers online, there’s something to be said for doing so in the company of familiar trappings.

Try telling me that when the Deus Ex multiplayer FPS spin-off comes out in 2019 though.

There’s no guarantee that this particular ghost will make its way to the West. Development duties are in the hands of Neople, a subsidiary of South Korean company Nexon. A press release had previously stated that the game would be released worldwide this year but things have been quiet since then. Nothing has been confirmed either way since the release of the trailer – which is the game’s first proper public appearance – but the license may be well known enough to make the trip across the digital oceans worthwhile.

53 Comments

  1. Caelyn Ellis says:

    “That said, if you can accept the fact that everyone is shooting everyone else all of the time rather than starring in a post-human Alpha Protocol, it doesn’t look entirely terrible.”

    This is how I respond to pretty much every nice-looking MP FPS, especially if it has particularly interesting character design, character customisation and/or parkour-like movement. “YOU COULD HAVE MADE AN AAAARRRRPEEEEGEEEEE!”

    Shadowrun. Brink. Overwatch. I’m looking at all of you.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m not really sure you could have made an RPG instead of Brink that was still in any way meaningfully Brink. It was Splash Damage’s usual “Enemy Territory” game at its heart, and while this particular lick of paint was a nice one, it was ultimately not really developed deeply enough to sustain an RPG.

    • Geebs says:

      If they did GitS like Alpha Protocol, though, they’d have to include a conversational option to talk past another character for 25 minutes without measurably advancing the plot, or indeed achieving anything at all.

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      A Shadowrun RPG? It’d never work!

      Seriously though, I haven’t played th Shadowrun FPS. Was its design interesting? I felt that it was Generic Cyberpunk squished into the Shadowrun box (whoops, we forgot to add trolls – let’s just say the people of Santos were so megarracist they run all the trolls out of town).

      • Emeraude says:

        The Shadowrun FPS *was* interesting, there’s lot to learn and grab from it from a pure design standpoint. It released in catastrophic conditions and not fit at for the IP though.

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    Harlander says:

    For a brief moment my hopes for a decent transhuman MMORPG flared up! Fortunately the Anhedonia Mechanism kicked in in time.

    • Dilapinated says:

      If you told me there was an upcoming F2P near-future shooter called Anhedonia Mechanism, I would believe you.

  3. Jannakar says:

    Well, at least we’re back in SAC-land, not that anodyne Arise reboot being intermittently being thrust in our faces.
    Stand Alone Complex Best Complex. Here’s hoping they get the english-dub cast back for the western releases.

    • SomeDuder says:

      “western release”

      haha, yea, no, this will stay in chingchong land. beside, it doesnt really look like anything special, typical codblops stuff.

      shouldve made it single-player, less action, more in tune with the cartoon/comic. but no, fuck dat, its 24/7 boooooolit shootings we want, apparently

  4. mukuste says:

    Aahahaha. As soon as something is anime-inspired, it seems there needs to be gratuitous fan service within the first 15 seconds of the trailer.

  5. ironman Tetsuo says:

    Laughing Man?
    More like, crying silently inside man.

    And what ever happened to Shirow? When I was young, way before his fascination with bad CGI, he was one of my favourite artists, I wish he’d return to his roots.

    • unangbangkay says:

      Shirow is mostly drawing lots and lots of porn now.

    • Philomelle says:

      The same thing he’s been doing for the last 20 years, drawing porn with BDSM overtones and an occasional cyberpunk bend.

      Contrary to what his western fandom believes, he wrote maybe five stories in his life, among which only GitS and Appleseed became popular. Other than royalties from adaptations of those two works, he actually makes most of his money off pornographic artbooks.

    • King in Winter says:

      I believe Shirow has gone to record saying that drawing illustrations pays much, much better than drawing manga. So we will probably never see that Appleseed volume #5 where Deunan & Briareos were supposed to travel to Poseidon (a Japanese offshore megacity), or more GitS for that matter…

  6. Dilapinated says:

    This does give me a chance to fangirl over the PS1 game, which was by all accounts excellent and not at all rose-tinted by my nostalgia of owning it when I was a wee dibbun.

    (it was a really good game though, honest! Rollerblade-strafing up walls and ceilings while you shoot down helicopters and fight giant mecha is really a lot of fun, and the voice acting/animation matched the cast/studio of the first movie perfectly)

    also dang the intro was pretty:

    • ChaseGunman says:

      Ooo, that was great!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, that was certainly very Japanese.

      (That spidertank was totally copping a feel at 50s.)

    • Starayo says:

      I remember that game! I played the demo and liked it, and later had the full game picked up through some sale at a video rental place. I hadn’t seen GitS then though, I wonder if it’d be any better going back to play again now.

    • Rizlar says:

      Great soundtrack. Compare that to the video linked in the article. Ugh.

  7. Tei says:

    I love GITS and coop games. But I have seen enough korean/asian gaming fail flat to have any expectation this will fly here.

    Asian games usually have horrible engines, bad networking, ugly useless lobbies systems, bad font rendering, monetization down the throat, heavy grinding, and so on. If you have played a cheap korean mmo you know what I am talking about.

    Japan has produced few mmos, and some of them are interesting, but they still share many characteristic with the typical korean mmo.

    But, oh well. I hope to be wrong here :D

  8. Dawngreeter says:

    I feel deep, profound sadness in my heart. From now on, every time I mention Ghost in the Shell there will be a non-infinitesimal chance that someone will ask: “You mean the video game?”. And he will mean this game. And I will not have meant that.

    • Bradamantium says:

      Well, it’s a chance no greater than someone bringing up the odd PS1 title with its strange little Fuchikoma think tanks and manga-based story/characters, or the PS2 SAC game that was actually pretty alright except the pure-shooting Batou levels.

      • Dawngreeter says:

        I honestly never heard about any of that. I’m not overly surprised, though. Neither that they exist nor that they never made it to PC.

  9. JeCa says:

    I’m a bit surprised to see no mention of NEOTOKYO, the GitS-inspired team-based FPS from the golden age of HL2-modding. Granted, the gameplay wasn’t a lot more interesting than “counter-strike with classes”, but the art style and ambience was brilliant and it was about as well accomplished as any free mod I’ve played. Also, the soundtrack is still my go-to choice for cyberpunk themed background music (it’s also used in the intro to Netrunner podcast Terminal7).

  10. Rymosrac says:

    “Try telling me that when the Deus Ex multiplayer FPS spin-off comes out in 2019 though.”

    The original Deus Ex had multiplayer. And it was DAMN good.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It was patched in, as well.

      Admittedly they’d built their game using the Unreal Tournament engine, so it’s not like they had to start from scratch, but what a strange thing to add in a free patch, even in older, less nickel-and-diming-DLC times.

  11. Krazen says:

    This game looks like sushi to me. You know, Japanese COD.

    • Ross Angus says:

      YOUR JOKE HAS BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED.

    • Orageon says:

      I sea what you did there. Still, I was tempura-ly interested by that trailer, but realized that what I have is an urchin need of a Deus Ex-like GitS game after all…

  12. Hex says:

    This looks more like a co-op vs waves of AI (ala Killing Floor) than a deathmatch shooter.

    Also, I’m glad that they’re making this crap instead of something worth pursuing, because I’ve hated Ghost in the Shell for probably close to 15 years now!

    And they say being hateful doesn’t pay off.

    • MrUnimport says:

      That seems unnecessarily spiteful. It’s a perfectly good property, I can only imagine you’re one of those folks who’re bitter about GITS influences taking over the western cyberpunk sphere.

      As for this game, I haven’t the slightest interest. It doesn’t resemble GITS in the least beyond having cloaking, augments, and the faces/voices of the characters. It’s not visually the same world as GITS, the action doesn’t resemble that of GITS, the weapons and tools aren’t that of GITS… I have no intention of being snarky about F2P shooters, and I don’t think an RPG would necessarily be the best fit either, but I can’t fathom how this game is meant to appeal to fans of the source material at all.

      Someone mentioned Neotokyo, which was a tragically short-lived HL2 mod. Despite its many failings, it nailed the atmosphere, tension, and mood I’d associate with a GITS-based shooter, and it was just a slower, less skillful Counter-Strike. That’s probably the best genre for a game about a cyber anti-terrorist squad, anyway.

      • Hex says:

        The only GitS I’ve seen was the original movie. I immediately hated it — it was so long ago that I really couldn’t tell you why, except that I recall being super annoyed by those lingering cityscape shots which seemed to last seriously 3-5 minutes. (I’m sure hindsight has exacerbated the duration and frequency of these breaks, but I was definitely annoyed at these extended breaks in action/progression when I watch the movie.)

        Subsequently hearing people tell me how much I should have appreciated it simply sealed the deal for me. I’m very contrary.

        • MrUnimport says:

          Well, I happen to be a fan of slow, lingering cityscape shots, which are something of a trademark of the director: they’re not for everyone, though, and I don’t think the movie was quite his best work. Still better than the execrable second movie, though.

          Each incarnation of it, manga, movie, and TV series, are wholly different beasts. You might well appreciate the series’s more contemporary, grounded mood, even if it’s got its share of silliness.

  13. Neutrino says:

    Thank God for Adblock element hiding. An entire page of Taboola ads featuring Mazda hatchbacks and C list pseudo celebrites was actually making me nauseous.

  14. Beefeater1980 says:

    The cityscape at 0:06 is a minimally modified version of Hong Kong. It has the same skyline; convention centre in the middle, Cheung Kong Centre behind and to the right, IFC on the far right of the screen, with 3 big new skyscrapers in the left hand side of the screen. Thought that was interesting.

  15. darkhog says:

    If Origa won’t make soundtrack, I’m not interested like, at all. Levels (maps?) looks a lot like Planet side 2’s and since PS2 is already SF, I won’t play this even for the license unless Origa is doing music. Though it is bit tempting.

    • Unruly says:

      Yoko Kanno is who actually composed the majority of the soundtrack for GITS:SAC. Origa only wrote the lyrics and sang vocals for two opening themes. So Yoko Kanno would really be the one to look out for if you’re wanting the soundtrack to retain the same quality. Of course, Origa’s vocals on a song or two would be nice.

      Loved me some Yoko Kanno ever since seeing Cowboy Bebop for the first time.

  16. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    To be honest, the multiplayer version of Syndicate was fun (from the demo I played on the XBox, at least). There was a short period in, when, early 2013? when devs realized that adding a crappy deathmatch mode to their game wouldn’t actually stop people from selling it two months later but collectively decided the solution was to add a coop mode instead, that I wish would last until forever. Apparently I’m the only one who thought that, because after The Darkness II, Far Cry 3 and Syndicate’s coop modes were all quickly forgotten that idea faded to dust.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I played the co-op demo on PS3 and thought it was loads of fun. Shame about the rest of the game, which I still haven’t played.

  17. Artist says:

    Oh look, a scifi shooter with a GITS-skin. Cant capture even a cent of the essence of GITS.. unfortuantly.

  18. LionsPhil says:

    Actually the “skill share” thing looks like it might be an interesting mechanic. Wonder how it works.

  19. yhalothar says:

    > Nothing about the video suggests GitS: SAC: FCO will stand out from the free-to-play shooter crowd

    At this point, after Tribes, after Mechwarrior Online, Hawken, and much more terrible EA titles, this word instantly kills any interest I might have in a game.

  20. tejohr says:

    Oh just go play Neotokyo.

  21. Frank says:

    Wow, that engine looks just like DXHR’s.

  22. Snargelfargen says:

    Well, F2P and a South Korean publisher aren’t very good signs. Still interested, if only because I love the setting and have some fondness for co-op shooters, especially those that break out of the modern warfare mold.

    It could be interesting if they included some of the more bizarre cyborgs and think tanks as playable “monsters” for the opposing team to fight.

  23. LordxMugen says:

    “Try telling me that when the Deus Ex multiplayer FPS spin-off comes out in 2019 though.”

    Project Snowblind?

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    phuzz says:

    I’m ignoring the fact that it’s based on the GitS license for now, but did anyone else see the invisibility wall thing at about 1:17? It looks like you deploy it and it hides all the players on one side of it from the other side.
    That looks like it might be fun to play around with.

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    BlueTemplar says:

    Tachikoma!!