I always peered at StarCraft: Ghost with curiosity, wondering both when Blizzard would announce the stealth-action console game for PC (surely? probably? possibly) and what the heck was going on with it. Blizzard have cancelled several games after announcing them – adventure game Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans before, and Titan the MMORPG since – but at times Ghost had looked almost ready to launch. Well! Years after Ghost vanished, Polygon have a huge look at what happened. I think you might enjoy it.
Ghost, you might remember, was announced in 2002. It starred Nova, a ‘Ghost’ techno-superspy for the Terrans, sneaking and shooting her way through the StarCraft universe. Here’s a wee gameplay trailer, and here a cinematic.
It was being made by Nihilistic Software, rather than Blizzard themselves, but later switched hands to Swingin’ Ape Studios – who Blizzard then bought. It sounds like this distance between Blizzard and development was one problem, as well as identity issues as the game’s focus ebbed and flowed between stealth and action, and troubles with straddling two console generations. In the end, it didn’t come together and was quietly put on indefinite hold in 2006. Blizzard only confirmed its cancellation in 2014.
Anyway! Patrick Stafford goes into so much more detail on Polygon, chatting with designers, producers, artists, and so on from Blizzard, Nihilistic, and Swingin’ Ape.
Blizzard might have scrapped Ghost but they did finally give Nova her own game this year. StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops [official site] is a standalone-ish (it requires the SC2 demo) episodic singleplayer mission pack sending the operative on her own adventures. Hell, it’s about time.
An unfinished version of Lord of the Clans did leak, by the way. You can watch it being played here. “In essence, it was a case of stepping up and really proving to ourselves and gamers that we will not sell out on the quality of our games,” Blizzard said after cancelling it in 1998. The game does look okay, as ’90s adventure games go, but not great.