New Blizzard Game Led by Counter-Strike and Left 4 Dead Developer

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Starcraft: Ghost, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

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Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a Lead Producer for a yet to be announced video game. The job opening description mentions this game is in development by a small team like that of Hearthstone.

On Twitter, Mike Booth posted he is looking for a Lead Producer for his team. I am not certain yet if this is not the same position, but it might be. Mike Booth joined Blizzard Entertainment on May 2013 as game director of this small team.

michael-booth-on-new-blizzard-game

It is really hard to figure out what type of game a game developer with his calibre is working on based on his past work. He could be working on a different genre.

With Dustin Browder, when I first heard he worked at Blizzard, I looked at his past work and speculated he was working on StarCraft II. Some time later, StarCraft II was announced.

starcraft-ghost-by-greg-hornMichael Booth hails from Turtle Rock Studios as CEO — and if that studio doesn’t ring a bell to you, let me hit the gong hard for you. Turtle Rock Studios worked with Valve in the Counter-Strike series and Left 4 Dead. Michael Booth shares credit as one of the four Counter-Strike programmers, and he was the Project Lead for Left 4 Dead.

I ain’t saying this particular unannounced Blizzard game will have zombies, nor that this is a First-Person Shooter… but I really wish it was if this guy is on the steering wheel. Now if that didn’t get you excited, then I shouldn’t mention what genre StarCraft: Ghost is. Pew pew pew!

The same small team is looking for a 3D Weapons Artist and the description for the job requests that the candidate should have experience working with a diverse range of equipment, vehicles, and mechanical characters.

What’s Blizzard cooking? When will we hear about it? Those are fair questions for which we might not have an answer in quite some time.

In the meantime, spread the word. If you got the talent or know a family or friend with the talent or a friend of a friend … let them know this job opening is available.


Lead Producer| Blizzard

Blizzard’s newest game team is looking for someone to join its ranks as lead producer. With Hearthstone, Blizzard has revived its tradition of creating small and nimble game teams and we are following in those footsteps. As part of our team, you will join in the leadership of a small but mighty band of developers and exert your talents to help craft our processes, organization, goals and execution.

We can’t tell you exactly what the game is yet, but trust us, it’s awesome.

Ideally, you have passion for and experience in wrangling both small scrappy teams and large multi-discipline juggernauts. You enjoy getting your hands dirty in day-to-day game production as well as thinking strategically in solving high level challenges. Maybe you even enjoy personally jumping into databases or modeling packages from time to time. You speak the languages of art, engineering, game design and business – some fluently, the others enough to be dangerous effective. In short, you understand the science and appreciate the art of making amazing games, and have made it all come together in the shipping of world-class products.

Responsibilities

  • Project manages all aspects of the game.
  • Provide leadership, guidance and execution to ensure both quality and timeliness of objectives and milestones.
  • Champion the game to all external departments to build transparency, knowledge and passion for the project.
  • Communicate with executive leadership on status, risks, and needs of the project.
  • Do whatever it takes for the game to be great, the team to be healthy, and the execution to be flawless.
  • Requirements

    • A minimum of 3 years’ experience as a senior / lead producer
    • Experience shipping at least one top quality online title in a senior or lead producer role
    • Experience with the ongoing operation of a game after launch
    • Development experience as an engineer, artist, or designer a plus
    • Able to communicate effectively with engineering, art, design, and business personnel
    • Unrelenting self-motivation and initiative
    • A deep, abiding, and possibly somewhat untoward passion for games
    • Required Application Materials

      • Resume
      • Cover Letter which should include:
        • Why you are interested in working at Blizzard
        • What games you are currently playing

      **Only submittals with Cover Letters will be considered.

      Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and its affiliated companies is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. – source

 
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Blizzplanet Review: StarCraft: Ghost — Spectres

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres was originally assigned to Keith R.A. DeCandido, who wrote the original StarCraft: Ghost–Nova and the StarCraft: Ghost Academy Volume 1 manga.

DeCandido will be missed, and hopefully we get to see more of his work. However, Spectres is a work by Nate Kenyon. He’s a (new writer) in the arsenal of Blizzard Entertainment novelists, but don’t let (that) fool you.

Nate Kenyon is an award-winning author of science fiction, horror and suspense novels. Nominated in 2009 by the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stroker Awards for the short fiction KEEPING WATCH, his novel The Reach in 2008, and Bloodstone in 2006.

Nate Kenyon’s most recent novels (The Bone Factory and Sparrow Rock) have received great recognition by the American Library Association’s Booklist Magazine and Publishers Weekly.

StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres is not really a novelization of the postponed video-game. That might disappoint some fans. There is no black ops mission against Zerg hives, or Mar Sara bases. We’ll see Nova investigating a special case in a Dominion fringe world, and there is some Zerg action, but no Protoss at all.

StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres is not a novelization of the StarCraft: Ghost first-person-shooter video game, but there are some strong elements that spin-off straight from the video game’s original storyline. The Terrazine gas plot was born and revealed long ago during the Nihilistic Software-Blizzard Entertainment days, back in 2002.

The Terrazine gas topic returned in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty during the in-game mission: “Welcome to the Jungle”, where Gabriel Tosh offers a deal to Jim Raynor. Gabriel Tosh sends Jim Raynor to the Tal’darim planet Bel’Shir to collect Terrazine Gas — also known by the Tal’darim tribe as “the Breath of Creation” — in khalani language. According to them, a gift of the Xel’Naga to commune with them.

The Spectres are former Ghosts who inhale this Terrazine gas as sort of a drug. The Spectres get their Dominion inhibitor implant surgically removed only to prevent Dominion detection. The Terrazine gas causes a telepath to regenerate brain cells — overcoming, thus, the ghost program conditioning’s brainwash, and augments their psionic abilities considerably.

The novel takes us to a mission in planet Altara where Kath Toom investigates an apparent UED terrorist cell activity just to find out it’s a trap. The Dominion didn’t send her there in the first place. Gabriel Tosh, Kath’s former love in the Ghost Academy, is attempting to gather all the members of Team Blue. However, this won’t be an easy feat. Most of his former teammates are Dominion Ghosts. Their memories were erased after their graduation’s first mission, and no longer know anything about their own past. They are addressed by a number. Their real name never used, and forgotten.

Nova is sent by Emperor Mengsk to investigate why several Ghosts have gone missing. Readers are introduced into a world of deception, betrayal and conspiracy. Perfect ingredients that make up a true StarCraft story.

Nate Kenyon excelled at researching the StarCraft: Ghost universe. The entire novel is a continuity hub connecting the dots between StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player, StarCraft: Ghost–Nova (2006) and StarCraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1-3 (Tokyopop, 2009).

StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres features characters and flashbacks from the original novel. Wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian is a major character supporting Nova throughout the story. Her past comes crashing back on her when she’s exposed to the Terrazine gas, regenerating her brain cells, and weakening her brainwash conditioning. However, without Jorium to counter the side effects, Terrazine gas causes severe hallucinations.

She will also remember events seen in the StarCraft: Ghost–Academy manga. Characters from the manga show up too: Lio Travski, Kath Toom, Dylanna Okyl (team red).

If memory doesn’t fail me, StarCraft: Ghost–Academy Vol. 4 was never published, and Tokyopop shutdown its California office on May 2011. In Volume 4, the Ghost Academy was going to take team blue to planet Shi for their first graduation mission. The Old Families had sent their offsprings there after the Zerg invaded Tarsonis.

Unbeknownst to the people, Emperor Arcturus Mengsk delivered a Zerg drone to Planet Shi to finish off his enemies. The volume 4 was never published leaving fans in the dark of what happened next in the climax of the story.

StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres sorta wraps up what happened in the missing and never-published volumes of the manga concerning the fate of the last remaining descendants of the Old Families, and reveals exactly why an idealist and loyalist to Mengsk like Gabriel Tosh became a renegade Ghost. It happened after the events in planet Shi. We also sorta find out why his eyes look white in comparison with his younger self in the Academy.

As you see, this novel is not exactly a novelization of the StarCraft: Ghost video-game step-by-step, but it does orbits around the Terrazine gas concept originated in the video-game, and for your knowledge the supportive character of the video-game is a central figure in StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres … Colonel Jackson Hauler, commander of the Nova Squadron.

This novel will reveal who Colonel Jackson Hauler is, and his mysterious agenda with Nova.

Emperor Arcturus Mengsk appears a few times and surprisingly trusts Nova and Malcolm with a few secrets only top Dominion military knows about. Many of you who played the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player may have heard Gabriel Tosh and Captain Matt Horner mention Project: Shadowblade — the secret project that studied the Terrazine gas and led to the creation of the Spectres. Project: Shadowblade is fully explored in this novel.


Project: Shadowblade in StarCraft II Single-player

Nate Kenyon added a mind-blowing twist to this story no one will see coming. The story is very fluid and action-packed, pitting Nova against impossible odds with Spectres that are more powerful than her in certain ways. Nova uses her guts and experience to overcome her fears and to outsmart Protoss-level superghosts and their leader. Oh … Gabriel Tosh isn’t the top kahuna. Not yet. There is someone else moving the strings here since the days of the Project: Shadowblade — a project deemed too risky and shutdown by Mengsk two years ago.

This novel shows Emperor Arcturus Mengsk isn’t necessarily one to be worried the most in the spiral of deceit, betrayal, and conspiracy surrounding the Koprulu sector.

Nova is a Dominion loyalist, and even now with her memories back — and knowing the atrocities perpetrated by Mengsk — she knows the death of Emperor Arcturus Mengsk would simply create a power vaccum that might be overtaken by worser menaces lurking out there.

It’s unknown if Nova will remember these events, or if she’s secretly pretending. Nova remembers her past, and the inhibitor implant who forces her to tell the truth and to obey is not affecting her at all. Her level powers after inhaling the Terrazine gas have overcome the implant’s effects.

It would be interesting to see what Nova might do in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void or any future novels.

The outcome of StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres, leads us straight to encountering Gabriel Tosh in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty during the Redstone III mission.

We find out now why exactly Gabriel Tosh wanted Jim Raynor to help infiltrate New Folsom Prison. Not only to free some of the Ghosts and latent telepaths held prisoner there. One of the only three survivors who worked in Project: Shadowblade is held prisoner there.

One who can restart the project to create more Spectres. Hopefully, we learn more about this in future campaign episodes, and/or new novels.

Nate Kenyon is a good choice to continue fleshing out the StarCraft universe along with Christie Golden. Hope to read more of his work.

At the end of the book, readers will find a very extensive timeline of the StarCraft history broken down by year. It provides source references to help you identify which book, manga, web short story, or comic book issue contains details referenced in StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres for those who wish to read more StarCraft lore. The Blizzard Entertainment Creative Team has worked hard to maintain a continuity between the game and the printed media. StarCraft: Ghost Spectres is another gem in their collection.

Conclusion

Straight to the point. Nate Kenyon is an award-winning author of science fiction, horror and suspense novels. He definitely adds these three elements into the StarCraft universe setting with plenty of action, blood and gore.

StarCraft lore fans will welcome and savor all the continuity nods from the various printed and in-game sources. The outcome of the never-published finale of the StarCraft: Ghost Academy series is poured in into StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres as a generous bonus.

This book could get a 9/10 merely because (it didn’t actually novelize) the StarCraft: Ghost video game’s storyline the way Warcraft: Lord of the Clans novelized Warcraft Adventures the video game, or how Starcraft: Queen of Blades novelized step-by-step the events in the original StarCraft (1998) game. The lore community can be harsh sometimes and too demanding. Some QQ and all that.

Despite (this), the author is not responsible for taking this decision, thus it would be unfair. Was there a ulterior reason why the StarCraft: Ghost storyline wasn’t entirely novelized? Are we going to see the game shipped someday? This might be a possible reason. Moving forward, Nate Kenyon brought with him his style and Horror/Suspense genre. This is likely why Blizzard Entertainment and the Pocket Star Books publisher brought him in. Mission accomplished. His contribution to the StarCraft universe definitely deserves a 10/10. Keep them coming.

Locations

The main events mostly happen in Planet Altara, Oasis town, Korhal IV, Augustgrad city and Gehenna Station. All other locations are either mentioned or seen in flashbacks.

  • Atticus Minor
  • Oasis town
  • Planet Altara
  • Augustgrad city — center of Dominion power
  • Hudderstown colony
  • Planet Shi
  • Gehenna Station
  • Abaddon
  • Korhal IV
  • Nidhogg town
  • D-4358 — named later Demon’s Fair, is a fringe planet where two years earlier the Terrazine gas was detected for the first time by a Terran probe.
  • New Folsom Prison
  • Tyrador IX
  • Maltair IV

Terran Units

  • Battlecruiser Palatine
  • Grizzly Armed Carrier
  • CMC-400 powered combat suits
  • SCV
  • Goliath
  • Dropship
  • System Runner
  • Tanks
  • Firebats
  • Spectres
  • Ghosts
  • Banshee
  • Vikings
  • Hovercars
  • Vultures

Zerg Units

  • Roaches
  • Lurkers
  • Zerglings
  • Banelings
  • Mutalisks
  • Hydralisks
  • Infestor

Characters

Some of these names are either major, support or mentioned characters:

  • Kate Lockwell — UNN reporter
  • Agent X41822N — November Terra
  • Agent X52735N — Kath Toom
  • Private Godard
  • Coloner Jackson Hauler
  • Captain Rourke
  • Officer Harvey
  • Lieutenant Chet Ward
  • Gabriel Tosh
  • Dr. Shaw
  • Wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian
  • Karl Lee — Palatine Science team leader
  • Emperor Mengsk
  • Ghostmaster Celsus
  • Michael Liberty
  • Dylanna Okyl (Ghost Academy, Team Red)
  • Lio Travski
  • Delta Emblock (Team Red)
  • Lila – 12-age low-teep girl from Oasis town
  • Bones — Talen Holt aka Agent X72341R
  • Lethal
  • Rook
  • The Veteran
  • Rip
  • Guns
  • Major Spaulding
  • Captain Vincent – The Annihilators second-in-command. Fall of Tarsonis veteran.
  • Julius Antoine “Fagin” Dale
  • Markus Ralian — Fagin’s second-in-command
  • Aal Cistler
  • Sloan
  • Caleb
  • Jara
  • Karl
  • Private Hunt
  • Cyborg
  • General Warfield — in charge of the Terrazine experiments at Project: Shadowblade.
  • General Cole Bennett
  • Corbin Phash
  • Senator Huntley

Organizations

Some of these organizations are mentioned in StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres.

  • Kal-Bryant Conglomerate
  • Kel-Morian Combine
  • UED terrorist Cell
  • 22nd Marine Division: The Annihilators
  • Dominion Psi-Ops Division
  • Umojan Protectorate
  • Umojan Ruling Council
  • Sector 9 (Kal-Bryant Operation)
  • Umojan Shadowguard
  • Tal’darim Protoss

Chapter Title

Chapter 1: Altara
Chapter 2: The Zerg
Chapter 3: Kath Toom
Chapter 4: Mal Kelerchian
Chapter 5: Emperor Mengsk
Chapter 6: Gabriel Tosh
Chapter 7: Project: Shadowblade
Chapter 8: Oasis
Chapter 9: The Annihilators
Chapter 10: Gehenna
Chapter 11: Augustgrad
Chapter 12: Spectres
Chapter 13: The Battle for Augustgrad
Chapter 14: The Panic Room
Chapter 15: The Lost
Chapter 16: Spaulding
Chapter 17: The General
Chapter 18: Dr. Shaw
Chapter 19: The Escape
Chapter 20: The Palatine
Chapter 21: Gehenna Station
Chapter 22: Nova
Chapter 23: The General
Chapter 24: Gabriel Tosh
Chapter 25: The Cell
Chapter 26: The Cavern
Chapter 27: Old Friends
Chapter 28: Detonation

Nate Kenyon Bios

Nate Kenyon grew up in a small town in Maine, an avid reader and writer from a very early age. Kenyon’s first novel, Bloodstone, was published by Five Star to critical acclaim, named a Bram Stoker Award finalist in hardcover, winning the P&E Horror Novel of the Year, and becoming one of the publisher’s all time bestselling speculative fiction titles. His second novel, The Reach, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and raves from Booklist, Pop Syndicate, Dark Scribe and many more. The Reach, also a Stoker Award Finalist, was optioned for film. His third novel, The Bone Factory, was called “masterful” by Booklist. His fourth novel Sparrow Rock, was released in May 2010 to critical acclaim, and also optioned for film.

Kenyon’s trade paperback science fiction novella, Prime, was released in July 2009 from Apex Books. He has recently had stories published in Shroud Magazine, Permuted Press’s Monstrous anthology, Horror World, Dead Lines, The Harrow, and Legends of the Mountain State 2, and has many others forthcoming, including a story in The Monster’s Corner, edited by Christopher Golden. Four of his stories were featured in the Dart Arts anthology When the Night Comes Down.

Kenyon’s novel StarCraft Ghost: Spectres, based on the bestselling video game by Blizzard Entertainment, will be released by Pocket Books in September 2011. He is currently working on a Diablo novel for Blizzard and Pocket. Kenyon is also working on a new thriller for Thomas Dunne Books. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

Kenyon still lives in the Boston area, and is at work on his next novel. — visit http://natekenyon.com

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Blizzplanet Interview: StarCraft: Ghost — Spectres Interview with Nate Kenyon

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Interviews, Featured Stories, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

Blizzplanet journalist and network manager Eldorian interviewed author Nate Kenyon by phone to dig more into the storyline of StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres, a novel many fans of the StarCraft Universe have been anxiously awaiting for almost three years and a half (title revelation: May 10, 2008).

The StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres was originally assigned to be written by Keith R.A. DeCandido. For reasons only the Asgardian Norns might know, the direction of the book landed on the good hands of Nate Kenyon, a Bram Stoker Award finalist for both Bloodstone and The Reach. Nate Kenyon’s most recent novels (The Bone Factory and Sparrow Rock) have received great recognition by the American Library Association’s Booklist Magazine and Publishers Weekly.

Listen to the phone interview, and don’t forget to order StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres.

Interview

Other interviews around the web:

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StarCraft: Ghost — Spectres On Sale

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres by Nate Kenyon is now available in Mass Market Paperback and eBook formats. Order it here.

StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres is the novelization of the postponed 2006 first-person shooter video game.

I was given a review copy last week. Expect a short article in upcoming days. So far so good. Eldorian is holding a live phone interview with the author, Nate Kenyon, any time in the next couple of days with questions forwarded by me — so feel free to submit a question to cram it in before the interview.

The Dominion Ghost Program wipes the Ghosts’ memories often after each mission, and their implants make them obey orders as mindless slave drones. In this novel, Nova’s past will come crashing down on her as she slowly regains her traumatic childhood and ghost academy memories.

If you have read StarCraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1-4 (Tokyopop) and StarCraft: Ghost — Nova are up for a treat with all the continuity elements and characters from Nova’s past coming back to haunt or help her in this new Terrazine-centered mission.

Here’s a preliminary and incomplete view of some locations, characters, organizations mentioned in the novel. A more detailed list will be provided when the review is ready.

Book Description

What terror can haunt a ghost? Nova, an elite stealth operative with exceptional telepathic and telekinetic powers, embarks on a heart-stopping mission that pits her against her own kind and forces her to confront her tragic hidden past.

Ghosts epitomize the height of terran evolution and physical conditioning. Born with incredible psionic potential, these individuals are recruited and quarantined for government training from childhood. Like most ghosts, Nova Terra had all memories of her prior life buried when she became a member of this elite corps of covert operatives. Unlike most however, Nova actually wanted to erase her personal history and put all of her painful memories to rest. Now, one of the most powerful ghosts in the Terran Dominion is about to be haunted by her former life when a forgotten friend joins her mission to located missing members of the ghost program. The shocking secrets they discover will pit Nova against both the shadows of her past and the future of terran psionic warriors: spectres.

StarCraft: Ghost — Spectres explodes from the universe of StarCraft II, the eagerly anticipated sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s top-selling science-fiction real-time strategy game.

Secondary Description

Dominion ghosts epitomize the height of terran evolution and physical conditioning. Augmented by technologies that harness their innate psionic potential, these lethal operatives use telepathy and other superhuman powers to isolate and destroy the enemies of the Dominion. But when the hunters become the hunted and ghosts start disappearing without a trace, even the most dangerous human soldiers in the Koprulu sector have something to fear…

Enter Nova Terra, a ghost of unparalleled ability. On orders from Emperor Arcturus Mengsk, Nova embarks on a secret mission to find her missing comrades. As her investigation leads down a maze of dark corridors, painful memories of her pre-ghost years begin to surface. Soon, Nova learns that there might be a connection between the missing agents and her past, a discovery that will pit her against both the shadows of her youth and a terrifying new breed of psionic warrior: spectres.

This is the story that StarCraft fans have been waiting for—a pulse-pounding adventure based on the never-released StarCraft: Ghost tactical-action console game. StarCraft: Ghost—Spectres unveils a tumultuous chapter in Nova’s life and the insidious origins of the spectres featured in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the record-breaking sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s highly praised real-time strategy games StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War.

Product Details

Pocket Star, September 2011
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
ISBN-10: 1439109389
ISBN-13: 9781439109380

Locations

  • Atticus Minor
  • Oasis town
  • Planet Altara
  • Augustgrad city — center of Dominion power
  • Hudderstown colony
  • Planet Shi
  • Gehenna
  • Abaddon
  • Korhal

Terran Units

  • Battlecruiser Palatine
  • Grizzly Armed Carrier
  • CMC-400 powered combat suits
  • SCV
  • Goliath
  • Dropship
  • System Runner
  • Tanks
  • Firebats
  • Spectres
  • Ghosts

Zerg Units

  • Roaches
  • Lurkers
  • Zerglings
  • Banelings
  • Mutalisks
  • Hydralisks
  • Infestor

Characters

  • Kate Lockwell — UNN reporter
  • Agent X41822N — November Terra
  • Agent X52735N — Kath Toom
  • Private Godard
  • Coloner Jackson Hauler
  • Captain Rourke
  • Officer Harvey
  • Lieutenant Chet Ward
  • Gabriel Tosh
  • Dr. Shaw
  • Wrangler Mal Kelerchian
  • Karl Lee — Palatine Science team leader
  • Emperor Mengsk
  • Ghostmaster Celsus
  • Michael Liberty
  • Dylanna (Ghost Academy, Team Red)
  • Lio Travski
  • Delta Emblock
  • Agent X72341R
  • Lila – 12-age low-teep girl from Oasis town
  • Bones
  • Lethal
  • Rook
  • The Veteran
  • Rip
  • Guns
  • Major Spaulding
  • Captain Vincent – The Annihilators second-in-command. Fall of Tarsonis veteran.
  • Julius Antoine “Fagin” Dale
  • Markus Ralian — Fagin’s second-in-command

Organizations

  • Kel-Bryant Conglomerate
  • Kel-Morian Combine
  • UED terrorist Cell
  • 22nd Marine Division: The Annihilators
  • Dominion Psi-Ops Division
  • Umojan Protectorate

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Altara
  • Chapter 2: The Zerg
  • Chapter 3: Kath Toom
  • Chapter 4: Mal Kelerchian
  • Chapter 5: Emperor Mengsk
  • Chapter 6: Gabriel Tosh
  • Chapter 7: Project: Shadowblade
  • Chapter 8: Oasis
  • Chapter 9: The Annihilators
  • Chapter 10: Gehenna
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StarCraft: Ghost Spectres Teasers and Questions Wanted

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

Blizzard Entertainment and Pocket Star Books will launch StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres on Tuesday, September 27, 2011.

This new StarCraft novel introduces the background story of Spectre Ghost Gabriel Tosh. It seems some of the characters found in the StarCraft: Ghost Academy (Tokyopop) will make cameos — including Nova and Kath Toom. Chris Metzen said at San Diego Comic Con that StarCraft: Ghost Spectres is the novelization of StarCraft: Ghost (the postponed game). It’s definitely a must-have for those who hungered for the game.

Now — this is my opinion: Think of it as the Warcraft: Lord of the Clans of Warcraft Adventures — except Ghost was postponed, not cancelled. One day we might see StarCraft: Ghost the game. Most likely with a different storyline, more up-to-date with StarCraft II’s episodes.

Blizzplanet was scheduled to interview its author Nate Kenyon next week. We would like our visitors to submit questions about this novel after reading the two teasers below. You can submit your question by posting at the comments section (bottom), at our Facebook or via email. Eldorian will be on the phone with Nate Kenyon forwarding your questions. We’ll embed the interview soon so our visitors may listen to it.

Blizzard posted two StarCraft: Ghost Spectres teasers for those who wish to read a brief excerpt:

Order your copy of StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres (mass market paperback, Kindle, or Kindle PC available).

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2011 Citi Technology Conference: Blizzard To Release Six Games in the Next Three Years

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

Activision Blizzard announced recently to its shareholders and media, including me, they would broadcast their announcements at the 2011 Citi Technology Conference on September 8, 2011 at 10:45 AM (ET). Speakers: Thomas Tippl (COO, Activision Blizzard) and Rob Pardo (Blizzard EVP of Game Design).

According to Thomas Tippl, Blizzard Entertainment will release SIX video games based on known intellectual properties (IP) in the upcoming three years.

That doesn’t count the upcoming Next-Gen MMO which is based on a brand-new IP.

Now that’s mind-blowing! Let’s recap what everyone does know so far Blizzard’s pipeline looks like:

  • 1. World of Warcraft Expansion III (Untitled)
  • 2. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
  • 3. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
  • 4. Diablo III
  • 5. Diablo III Expansion (Untitled)
  • 6. Whoa? … again … WHOA?

As you see from the pipeline above, there is a sixth game unaccounted for here. Thomas Tippl mentioned six games based on known IPs within the next three years.

The World of Warcraft has been shipping expansions within 21-25 months (nigh two years).

  • World of Warcraft (Vanilla): November 23, 2004
  • Burning Crusade: January 16, 2007 (25 months, 24 days)
  • Wrath of the Lich King: November 13, 2008 (21 months, 28 days)
  • Cataclysm: December 7, 2010 (24 months, 24 days)

The next WoW expansion will be announced at BlizzCon 2011, and might ship around Q4 2012 – Q1 2013 (as a wild and highly inaccurate guess). Thomas Tippl’s projections span from 2012 – 2014 … Can Blizzard cram in two expansions in a lapse of three years?

On the other hand, StarCraft II is known to have three episodes, of which Wings of Liberty was shipped on July 27, 2010. “Heart of the Swarm” is coming out on 2012. That falls into the standard 21-24 months development cycle. This gives “Legacy of the Void” room to ship around 2014, and thus why I listed it above within Thomas Tipple’s three years projection.

On the Diablo III front, Jay Wilson mentioned in an interview last year plans for “expansions”. Mike Morhaime and Rob Pardo have mentioned hopes to ship Diablo III by Q4 2011, but they won’t sacrifice quality to push a 2011 release date. Let’s pretend Diablo III ships on 2012. Based on a 21-24 months development cycle, Blizzard can cram in a Diablo III expansion in this “three years projection”. A third Diablo III expansion? Maybe. Maybe not.

As seen, it’s hard to tell what this mysterious Sixth known video game IP fits in Thomas Tippl’s announcement today at the 2011 Citi Technology Conference.

It could be any of these:

  • World of Warcraft Expansion # 5
  • Diablo III expansion # 2
  • Warcraft IV
  • StarCraft: Ghost
  • Any of the Classic Arcade revisited

Take in mind, Thomas Tippl said known IPs. The Next-Gen MMO doesn’t count. That’s a brand-new IP, not an existing one. Take your best guess shot.

Another possibility is that Blizzard might develop a mobile game (iPad, Sony NGP) — but that’s further down in the speculation spectrum.

You can listen to the 2011 Citi Technology Conference broadcast here.

Gamespot article titled “Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tippl says publisher expects six releases from studio, including Diablo III and one expansion”.

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StarCraft: Ghost Spectres – Front Cover Artwork

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

The updated front cover for the StarCraft: Ghost Spectres novel by Nate Kenyon is now available. The 336-pages novel will be available in the following formats: Mass Market Paperback and Kindle. It ships on September 27, 2011. You can pre-order StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres (Starcraft (Unnumbered)) now.

The ghost spectre known by StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty players as Gabriel Tosh debuted in the pages of StarCraft: Ghost Academy by Keith R.A. DeCandido (publisher: TOKOPOP) as a ghost student in the same team with Nova Terra. Find out how Gabriel Tosh grew from a Mengsk idealist into a rebel against the very figure he idealized.

Note: Hold down the right-button and choose “Open Link in New Tab” to view the 800px version front cover.

Description

Dominion ghosts epitomize the height of terran evolution and physical conditioning. Augmented by technologies that harness their innate psionic potential, these lethal operatives use telepathy and other superhuman powers to isolate and destroy the enemies of the Dominion. But when the hunters become the hunted and ghosts start disappearing without a trace, even the most dangerous human soldiers in the Koprulu sector have something to fear…

Enter Nova Terra, a ghost of unparalleled ability. On orders from Emperor Arcturus Mengsk, Nova embarks on a secret mission to find her missing comrades. As her investigation leads down a maze of dark corridors, painful memories of her pre-ghost years begin to surface. Soon, Nova learns that there might be a connection between the missing agents and her past, a discovery that will pit her against both the shadows of her youth and a terrifying new breed of psionic warrior: spectres.

This is the story that StarCraft fans have been waiting for—a pulse-pounding adventure based on the never-released StarCraft: Ghost tactical-action console game. StarCraft: Ghost—Spectres unveils a tumultuous chapter in Nova’s life and the insidious origins of the spectres featured in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the record-breaking sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s highly praised real-time strategy games StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War.

About the Author

Nate Kenyon’s first novel, Bloodstone, was a Bram Stoker Award finalist and won the P&E Horror Novel of the Year award. His second, The Reach, also a Stoker Award finalist, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was recently optioned for film. The Bone Factory was released in July 2009, and was called “masterful” by Booklist. His fourth novel, Sparrow Rock, was released in May 2010.

Kenyon’s cyberpunk novella, Prime, was released from Apex Books in 2009. Four of his stories were featured in the recent Dark Arts anthology When the Night Comes Down. He has had stories published in Shroud Magazine, Permuted Press’s Monstrous anthology, Horror World, Dead Lines, The Harrow, and Legends of the Mountain State 2, and has several others forthcoming. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

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StarCraft: Ghost Spectres Kindle and Mass Market Pre-orders Available

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

The pre-order of the Kindle version of the StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres novel by Nate Kenyon is now available. Pre-order now and the novel will be auto-delivered to your Kindle or other device on September 27, 2011.

The mass market version pre-order is also available.

If you don’t have a Kindle device, the Kindle App allows you to read books in your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7.

Product Description

Following on the heels of the release of StarCraft II —the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s groundbreaking strategy game—Nova, an elite stealth operative with telepathic and telekinetic powers who embarks on a heart-stopping mission that pits her against her own kind and her tragic, hidden past.

About the Author

Nate Kenyon’s first novel, Bloodstone, was a Bram Stoker Award finalist and won the P&E Horror Novel of the Year award. His second, The Reach, also a Stoker Award finalist, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was recently optioned for film. The Bone Factory was released in July 2009, and was called “masterful” by Booklist. His fourth novel, Sparrow Rock, was released in May 2010.

Kenyon’s cyberpunk novella, Prime, was released from Apex Books in 2009. Four of his stories were featured in the recent Dark Arts anthology When the Night Comes Down. He has had stories published in Shroud Magazine, Permuted Press’s Monstrous anthology, Horror World, Dead Lines, The Harrow, and Legends of the Mountain State 2, and has several others forthcoming. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

World of Warcraft: Shaman Tokyopop

TOKYOPOP to Shutdown in May

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

World of Warcraft: Shaman TokyopopTOKYOPOP CEO Stu Levy announced the US Division located in Los Angeles, CA will shutdown this upcoming May 31, 2011.

Stu Levy wrote a farewell note recapping fourteen years of history. One can feel his love for manga and the japanese culture, a second home to him. Barely a few weeks ago, Stu Levy posted images of his trip to Japan where he helped a community sheltered in a school after the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

It was a great experience for Levy to interact and give so much to the culture that inspired him to found TOKYOPOP prior to shutting down. Live long and prosper.

A few months ago, many employees were laid off including the World of Warcraft manga Editor Troy Lewter and Hope Donovan. The staff was reduced down to only six employees.

It’s a sad day for millions of Blizzard fans who enjoyed many awesome stories which spawned tie-in characters and plots in the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player campaign, and World of Warcraft expansions: Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.

In October 2010, TOKYOPOP and Blizzard Entertainment were proud to learn the World of Warcraft: Shaman manga by Paul Benjamin hit the New York Times Bestselling Manga List.

TOKYOPOP published several manga inspired in the StarCraft and Warcraft universes after signing a three-year contract with Blizzard Entertainment. Click the links to order them while supplies last. Now that TOKYOPOP is shutting down, thousands of fans will rush to catch up to gather the manga collections.

Below are the links to all the StarCraft and Warcraft manga, followed by Stu Levy’s farewell message.

Warcraft Legends Series

World of Warcraft Classes Series

Warcraft: The Sunwell Saga

StarCraft: Frontline Series

StarCraft: Ghost Academy Series

    “Dear TOKYOPOP Community:

    Way back in 1997, we set out to bring a little-known form of Japanese entertainment to American shores. I originally named our little company “Mixx”, meaning a mix of entertainment, mix of media, and mix of cultures. My dream was to build a bridge between Japan and America, through the incredible stories I discovered as a student in Tokyo.

    Starting with just four titles — Parasyte, Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, and, of course, Sailor Moon — we launched MixxZine, aspiring to introduce comics to girls. These four series laid down the cornerstone for what would eventually become TOKYOPOP and the Manga Revolution.

    Over the years, I’ve explored many variations of manga culture – “OEL” manga, “Cine-Manga”, children’s books we called “Manga Chapters”, the Gothic-Lolita Bible, Korean manwha (which we still called “manga” at the time), video game soundtracks, live-action films and documentaries, anime, and various merchandise. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t – but the most enjoyable part of this journey has been the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met.

    Many of you also allowed me the indulgence to not only produce works but also to take a swing at creating some of my own. I’ve learned that it’s much easier to criticize others than it is to create from scratch – but in doing so, I’ve also in the process learned how to better communicate with creators.

    Fourteen years later, I’m laying down my guns. Together, our community has fought the good fight, and, as a result, the Manga Revolution has been won –manga has become a ubiquitous part of global pop culture. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished – and the incredible group of passionate fans we’ve served along the way (my fellow revolutionaries!).

    For many years Japan has been my second home, and I have devoted much of my career to bringing my love for Japan to the world – and hopefully in my own way, I can give back to the culture that has given me so much joy.

    In closing, I simply want to thank all of you – our incredibly talented creators from all over the world, our patient and supportive business partners and customers, our amazingly dedicated TOKYOPOP team – full-timers, part-timers, freelancers and interns, and of course the greatest fans in the entire world. Together, we’ve succeeded in bringing manga to North America and beyond.

    Arigatougozaimasu!!

    Stu Levy

    Founder, TOKYOPOP”

starcraft-motion

April’s Fool 2011: World of Warcraft, StarCraft Motion, Diablo III

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

This year Blizzard Entertainment deployed another great April’s Fool series of inside-jokes as announcements of upcoming content to their video games. For those kinda slow, upcoming content that ain’t ever going to happen — nudge-nudge.

First the new World of Warcraft feature: Crabby, The Dungeon Helper. It’s a blue Ghostcrawler that pops in-game on the bottom-right to help you with tutorials — wait we already have this minus the crabby. Each time the Crabby shows up you see a yellow sticky note to either inform you or ask you. The crabby resembles way too much the Microsoft Word Office Assistant animation which looks like a Clip with two big eyes.

The Tomb of Immortal Darkness looks like a tie-in joke between Wold of Warcraft and Diablo III. Everyone remembers the infamous rant of some verbal community fans who complained Diablo III looked too much like World of Warcraft when it was first announced in Paris at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals. These fans demanded Diablo III should look dark and grittier. The Tomb of Immortal Darkness is a World of Warcraft dungeon that is so dark and grittier you can barely see anything. Blizzard even announces the revolutionary Deep Dark technology …

The third April’s Fool is based on Diablo III’s Horadric Cube. It shows a iPhone App — which is an interactive flash animation on your web browser — where you drag some icons into the Horadic Cube and transmute to get a combination of results. There are up to 40 variations. I posted below at least 39 (yea, took me a while to brainstorm). Actually, it would be awesome if Blizzard created a Diablo III iPhone / iPad App for the Horadric Cube or whatever they end up featuring. That way players can check up what possible combinations there could be, or even save formulas. That’s a great idea right there.

The most hilarious of the April’s Fool in my opinion — because it looks realistic and serious-toned with actual video footage and actors — is the StarCraft Motion. Blizzard makes fun of recent rumors and even video demos by touchscreen display companies showing StarCraft II gameplay using your hands rather than a keyboard. In this case, with a twist. StarCraft Motion is StarCraft II using XBox 360 Kinect … I recommend watching the video.

Note: Large images, please hold down your mouse’s right-button and choose open in new tab to see full size/resolution.

Introducing Crabby, The Dungeon Helper

The next content update for World of Warcraft introduces a brand-new feature designed to make your experience in Azeroth a whole lot user-friendlier. Meet Crabby: The Dungeon Helper! This adorable and knowledgeable crustacean companion will guide you through the game with useful hints, tips, and tricks for every situation. Read more about this upcoming feature on our new Crabby information page.

Preview: Tomb of Immortal Darkness

Deep below the damp graveyards of Duskwood, an ancient evil stirs in the darkness…. Featuring new gameplay mechanics, revolutionary Deep Dark® technology, three challenging bosses, and a host of incredible rewards, the Tomb of Immortal Darkness will be the third dungeon to see the light – well, maybe just a dim spark in an ocean of utter blackness – in the next World of Warcraft content update. Click here for a preview of the epic adventures that await!

Hold the Power of the Horadrim in Your Hands

After years of fevered development and tireless research into the mysteries of the Horadrim, we’ve finally succeeded in capturing the power of one of Sanctuary’s most enigmatic artifacts in a portable, downloadable form…. Behold, the Horadric Cube app for your smartphone or supported mobile device! But beware: great power often comes at a terrible price. Visit our Diablo III Horadric Cube app page to learn more, if you dare.

Horadric Cube Combinations

Visagebook + Catch Dotcom = Soulmatch
Visagebook + Angry Imps = Wirt’s Leg
Visagebook + Agro Town = Fallenville

Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps = Imp Finder
Catch Dotcom + Agro Town = Tome of Town Portal

Angry Imps + Agro Town = Angrytown

Soulmatch + Angry Imps = Plenty of Imps
Plenty of Imps + Agro Town = Prismatic Tome
Soulmatch + Agro Town = Fruitbook
Fruitbook + Angry Imps = Yawp

Wirt’s Leg + Catch Dotcom = Plenty of Imps
Plenty of Imps + Agro Town = Curse Village

Wirt’s Leg + Agro Town = Tome of Town Portal
Tome of Town Portal + Catch Dotcom = Imp icon (no name)
Fallenville + Catch Dotcom = Fruitbook
Fruitbook + Angry Imps = Angry Fruit
Tome of Town Portal + Visagebook = Khalim’s Will
Khalim’s Will + Angry Imps = Kindling
Tome of Town Portal + Angry Imps = Imps vs Tomes
Imps vs Tomes + Visagebook = Imps vs Visages
Angrytown + Visagebook = Cut the Hope
Cut the Hope + Catch Dotcom = OK …
Angrytown + Catch Dotcom = Double Hell
Double Hell + Visagebook = Scarytown
Imp Finder + Visagebook = ChirpStack
Chirpstack + Agro Town = Impville
Imp Finder + Agro Town = Fetish!
Fetish! + Visagebook = Cheaply
Soulmatch + Angrydom = Full Rejuvenation Potion
Wirt’s Leg + Tome of Town Portal = Secret Cow Level
Fallenville + Imp Finder = Jade Ring
Visagebook + Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps = B’gemmed
B’gemmed + Agro Town = Chat Gem (when you click the blue chat gem it turns purple)
Visagebook + Catch Dotcom + Agro Town = Goatspace
Goatspace + Angry Imps = Angry Goats
Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps + Agro Town = Imps vs Goatmen
Imps vs Goatmen + Visagebook = Hooks-up
Fallenville + Angry Imps = MeSpout
MeSpout + Catch Dotcom = Chatter
note: one is bugged without text.

Experience StarCraft Like Never Before

We’re proud to present the next step in the evolution of the StarCraft series… and Blizzard Entertainment’s long-awaited return to the console scene. Check out our new game information page for all the details, and get ready to fight for control of the Koprulu Sector like never before!

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StarCraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 3 On Sale

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

Tokyopop launched today StarCraft: Ghost Academy Volume 3, wrapping up the series. The manga based in the StarCraft: Ghost universe was written by David Gerrold, with art by Fernando Heinz Furukawa.

You can find it at a bookstore near you, or order it online here.

Ghosts are the Dominion’s ultimate weapons – elite terran operatives capable of reading thoughts, becoming invisible, and much more. One location possesses the technology and expertise required to teach these mysterious individuals their unique and deadly talents: the Ghost Academy. Struggling to forget her harrowing past, Nova, a powerful psionic soldier-in-training, has found strength in her fellow trainees: Tosh, a hard-line Dominion supporter; Kath, a mouthy vice-president’s daughter; Delta, a bubbly newbie; and Lio, a scatter-brained technopath.

Together, Nova and her teammates undergo brutal physical and psychological exercises as their unique telepathic and telekinetic powers are twisted to serve the Dominion. Nova and her team are dispatched to an abandoned mining planet for a real-world training exercise. There, they pick up a distress signal from a nearby planet. Following the signal through hordes of terrifying zerg, they rescue what turns out to be friends from Nova’s past! But even if the ghosts-in-training escape from the zerg-ridden planet, will the Dominion allow them to keep the memories of their heroic deed?

World of Warcraft: Shaman Tokyopop

Tokyopop Launches Online Shop: Blizzard Manga Available

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

Tokyopop launched [about time] their own Online Shop, currently in beta. As such, only a handful of titles are available including the following Blizzard-themed titles:

Checking Amazon and Barnes & Noble, most of the prices in the Tokyopop Online Shop are two dollars cheaper — except for the Essential Sunwell Collection.

Among the Current Tokyopop Top 10 Manga Bestsellers are The Essential Sunwell Collection (position # 8 ) and the Cataclysm tie-in … World of Warcraft: Shaman (position # 10).

Review – Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, Featured Stories, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

imageStarcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 hit the bookstores recently on August 3, 2010. The former author Keith R.A. DeCandido is no longer aboard as writer of the manga. He’s busy with Boom! Studios comic books; and for some months he was knee deep working with the U.S. Census 2010 — so at least we know he’s all good. We’ll miss him. He’s earned it.

Tokyopop’s David Gerrold (aka Jerrold David Friedman) took over the Starcraft: Ghost Academy mantle, and as you will soon find out, he’s quickly sync into the Nova universe. No surprise here. David Gerrold has written a Starcraft story before, which means he’s read the Starcraft Bible 101 and been in contact with Chris Metzen and the Blizzard Creative Team.

David Gerrold wrote the story titled “Fear the Reaper” in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4. He’s written several Star Trek novels and manga. He’s a celebrity among Trekkies as a matter of fact — don’t believe me? Guess who wrote the televised story of “The Trouble with the Tribbles” (Star Trek: The Original Series, TV) which aired on December 29, 1967. The original script was titled “A Fuzzy Thing Happened To Me…”

The artist Fernando Heinz Furukawa did a kick ass job through each page of the manga, specially the zerg scenes, but overall academy scenes were great. We’ll see more of him in Starcraft and Warcraft manga no doubt.

Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 explores the ongoing happenings within the Ghost Academy under Mengsk’s close watch. The ghost academy was formerly a Confederate program, and as such, Mengsk needs to protect his image before the people; and to make sure the academy is run by the book to avoid inhuman treatment scandals. (more below)
For those fans who love to keep track of the Starcraft timeline, at the end of Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2, Emperor Mengsk is weeks away from celebrating the first anniversary of the Terran Dominion.

Mengsk controls every single word that airs on the UNN network, but there are pirated broadcasts sent by people working for Michael Liberty — and those do bite a dent into Mengsk’s reputation.

The manga starts with a UNN TV show titled “The Dominion and You” by reporter E.B. James [suspiciously sounding like EB Games]. He interviews the Ghost Academy director Kevin Bick in relation to the recent expulsion of Aal Cistler from the ghost academy. This took place at the end of volume 1.

It’s kinda funny to have two non-heroes take centerfold in the story. Kevin Bick runs the academy with unscrupulous drug experiments to research how ghosts’ abilities can be affected or increased. Some students are panbrained, brainwashed, and tortured in secrecy.

Aal Cistler by the other hand is a young playboy with wits who thinks his every whim comes into reality by paying the right price. He might not be too far from being right though — he’s the son of Emperor Mengsk’s finance minister — ouch. Not an enemy you would want to cross with in your path.

Aal isn’t a telepath, but he loves challenges. He came to the ghost academy to train, but was caught selling drugs to Lio Travski (a technopath, student). While the Ghost Academy knew about the drug addiction of Lio and that Aal was providing it, they allowed it to happen to study Lio’s performance under heavy addiction. When the ghost academy grew tired of Aal, they expulsed him from the academy and provided the UNN with camera recordings of Aal’s drug selling activities.

Aal, however, goes to the UNN to denounce he was framed, and the unusual training practices held at the ghost academy. The reporter E.B. James crucified director Kevin Bick in the show. The director got the message … Emperor Mengsk disapproves.

Mengsk controls everything the UNN says, so this was a direct on-your-face slap message to Kevin Bick to immediately detox Lio, and to stop underground experimentation with students. Most of this is in the Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 preview scans.

From what we have learned in Starcraft: Frontline, Mengsk is turning around the old-ways of the Confederate who used cruel brainwashing and aggression inhibitors to control the Ghosts, who were likely former criminals.

Mengsk is now using Wranglers [psi-sensitive agents with a PI 3.5] to hunt for kids and teens with latent telepathic abilities to train them as teams in the ghost academy under the excuse they are too dangerous to themselves and to the populace if not trained properly — because untrained ghosts attract the Zerg.

In reality, that’s a lie. Mengsk has used psi-emitters before to control the zerg, and he continues to do so underground without the knowledge of the public. Such was the case of the Colin Pash story in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 1-4 — where wranglers are authorized to use lobotomized zerglings with a neural gadget to control them to hunt for the telepath kid.

The same can be proved with Starcraft: Ghost Academy when we see an unidentified terran vessel launching a drop-pod on planet Shi [of the Baker’s Dozen] which contained a … zerg drone. Mengsk has much more under his sleeve than we originally taught — as you can see in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty [Piercing the Shroud mission].

Why should you read this manga? It brings a fresh view into the ghost academy with at least four cliffhangers. Don’t you love cliffhangers? I do. They keep the plot in suspense. Sometimes you can foresee things, but sometimes the writer surprises you with a twist. That’s what keeps you coming back for the next volume.

GHOST ACADEMY

Nova Anabelle Terra, Gabriel Tosh, Lio Travski, Kath Toom and Delta Emblock of Team Blue continue their ghost training with high stake life-threatening missions within the academy where they must learn to use their abilities in a teamwork environment.

When you see an older Gabriel Tosh in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, and see this younger Gabriel Tosh in the Ghost Academy and compare both — you can already see where the story is heading to. Tosh used to be an idealist teen who idolized and believed in Mengsk as a humble leader who works for the people and for the benefit of humanity.

What the Ghost Academy does is to train the best telepaths to service humanity and to unite it under the flag of Mengsk, who fights for freedom — Or so used to think Gabriel Tosh in his early days at the Ghost Academy.

Considering we will see more of Gabriel Tosh in Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm — now that Jim Raynor sided with him to free New Folsom’s Spectre prisoners — it would be nice to keep in touch with this character’s past and backstory, and how his loyalty to Mengsk shattered. We will learn more of that in Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 — and hopefully in the upcoming novel Starcraft: Ghost Spectres by Nate Kenyon (on sale November 1, 2010).

In this volume, we learn the two most important ghost trainees in observation by Superintendent Angelini are Nova and … Lio the technopath. No one else matters. Just those two. Thus … we should keep an eye on what plans Blizzard might have for Lio, if any. Will he be an ally when we next see him in future games, or will he be a dangerous enemy (knowing his special power set)?

Lio can telepathically control technology, he created an android that resembled his girlfriend, and he seems to be a powerful telekinetic — [in a scene he telekinetically floats some PDAs into the air and sorts them out to his teammates, and he also blocks incoming projectiles with a TK shield]. Now that he’s not under the influence of hab (a drug), he seems to have better control of his powers.

We get to see the influence that Team Red’s jealousy and rivalry has on Team Blue. Things get more complicated when Aal Cistler makes his triumphant return to the Ghost Academy and this time around he joins Team Red to make Nova and her team’s lives more pleasant … not.

With how Lio has been manipulated by director Bick and superintendent Angelini, one has to wonder … how such a powerful telepath as Nova and her teammates never detect the psi-screams of Lio when he gets panbrained? Why are all these odd things going on backstage without other telepaths knowing about them?

The answer is too complex to guess in its entirety, but the author gives you enough hints to figure out some of it … Colin Phash.

The Ghost Academy is using this boy’s ability to project his astral form away from his body as a surveillance system. Nova has been able to see his astral projection, but never manages to talk to him. However, there must be something else shielding other telepaths from the atrocious acts of the Academy’s leaders. Maybe a mysterious figure from the past? Likely someone we have heard of in Starcraft: Ghost Nova [Looks at the odd humanoid in Chapter 2: Shadows Before Them].

There was one male telepath as high-level a telepath as Nova and Sarah Kerrigan who is mentioned in DeCandido’s StarCraft: Ghost Nova book to be dead, but you never know. Maybe his body and brain were kept alive to serve as an instrument of the Confederates? Those cables coming out of the skull with no pupils on his eyes made me remember that deceased character. Matter of fact, that figure is never shown in Vol. 2, so we might learn who exactly this guy behind Angelini is. Maybe a half-cybernetic-enhanced Old Family slave of the Dominion? I might be seeing too much into it.

COLIN PHASH

Like in the first volume, the fate of Colin Pash continues to be unfold in short scenes that let you figure out how the Ghost Academy tutors do what they do with the students, and why the telepaths aren’t aware of what’s going on.

Colin Pash is the telepath child son of ex-Dominion Senator Corbin Pash. Colin was captured by the Dominion in the Starcraft: Frontline series. His father Corbin Phash now resides as a guest of the Umojan Protectorate, plotting to take revenge against Mengsk and to recover his son back. The story of Colin Phash is told throughout Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 1-4, and continues in Starcraft: Ghost Academy.

THE OLD FAMILIES

Another plot hanging in the manga is the fate of the offsprings of the Old Families. Ever wonder if any of the Old Families survived the Zerg invasion to Tarsonis? Let’s remind you a bit of old-school Starcraft lore … The invasion was caused by the Psi-emitter Arcturus Mengsk ordered Kerrigan to activate. Ya’ know, that Starcraft mission where Mengsk abandons Kerrigan to her fate before the Zerg.

As the invasion of the Zerg hit Tarsonis, the Old Families sent their offsprings to safety to planet Shi — the fourth planet in the Baker’s Dozen system: a collection of 13 mining planets owned by Arturro Calabas [one of the Old Families].

This story runs parallel with the main plot without interacting with each other; using the narrative technique of going back and forth in the timeline.

Every now and then, the narration about the fate of the offsprings of the Old Families takes you to a year before the present time [ghost academy Vol. 2’s time which is nigh a year after Brood War]. Then to the present.

When least you know, you are taken to 8 months before the present, seven months, six months … so and so until we reach the point of a month before the present.

I love those interludes in stories to be honest. All that apparent, unrelatedness with the main plot comes to an end when the next ghost academy mission is scheduled to take place in the fifth planet of the … Baker’s Dozen. That’s a cliffhanger alright. That takes us straight into collision course with Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 3 [in stores March 1, 2011].

The aweful part of this manga is the long wait for the next one. Can’t you guys clone your staff to pump these babies monthly? I want more!!!

Special thanks to Troy Lewter (Tokyopop Editor) and Hope Donovan (Tokyopop Editor).

You can view the Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 preview here.

Keith R.A. DeCandido @ 2010 Shore Leave 32 in July 9-11

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

The convention-hopper Keith R.A. DeCandido just boarded an airplane from Indianapolis where he attended InConJunction 30 as its Guest of Honor. He’s back in New York City, but not for long, because he is heading to Maryland.

If you are a Trekkie, or a Star Wars junkie, or any other sci-fi nerd and you are attending the Shore Leave 32 at the Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore, Maryland — you might want to cross paths with Keith R.A. DeCandido throughout July 9 – 11, 2010.

Bring your copies of StarCraft: Ghost novels and manga; or World of WarCraft: Cycle of Hatred for book signing. Shake hands and take a photo with the writer. Send it our way to post it in the front page.

While Keith has no Blizzard-related panels at the event, if you are going to the event for kicks concerning other sci-fi worlds, still feel free to approach him with your Blizzard collections for signing. You can find his three-days schedule here.

Blizzard’s Next-Gen MMO: Job Opening Reveals Armor and Weapons Game

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard Entertainment posted this week a brand-new job opening for the still-unannounced Next-Gen MMO. Based on this job opening for a 3D Character Equipment Artist it might be hard to tell if this fourth game currently in development will be based on one of the existing franchises: Diablo, WarCraft or StarCraft. This is the first time we know anything substantial about the enigmatic Next-Gen MMO, nevertheless. This job opening is for a developers that will be in charge of modeling armor and weapons based on the concept art from Blizzard’s Art Team.

The fifth game in development, not to be confused with the Next-Gen MMO, is still young, but it is confirmed unofficially through Blizzplanet to be a brand-new IP.

The Next-Gen MMO hasn’t been confirmed to be based on a new IP or on an existent IP, but this game is a strong candidate to be revealed at BlizzCon 2010. Personally, I have said it many times in the past couple of years, and still think it is based on StarCraft and StarCraft: Ghost. Only time will tell, and Blizzard fans are know to be loyal and patient.

Blizzard Quote:
3D Character Equipment Artist – NextGen MMO at Blizzard Entertainment

Location: Irvine, CA (Orange County, California Area)

URL: http://www.jobs.blizzard.com/

Type: Full-time
Experience: Mid-Senior level
Functions: Art/Creative
Industries: Animation, Arts and Crafts, Computer Games, Computer Software, Entertainment
Posted: June 8, 2010

Job Description

Blizzard Entertainment is looking for an exceptionally skilled 3D character equipment artist for a team focused on next-generation massively multiplayer online games. The ideal candidate has extensive experience modeling and texturing a diverse visual range of character armor and weapons. A solid grasp of armor and weapon design, structure, color, and light for the creation of both 2D and 3D art assets is essential. The 3D character/character equipment artist must have a skill in another art task as well (illustration, modeling, texturing, animation, or concept drawing), and be well-versed in related tools — Maya, Photoshop, etc.

Skills

Requirements

  • 2+ years game development experience modeling and texturing sci-fi and fantasy character armor and weapons for next-gen art pipelines

  • An exceptional understanding of visual design and a keen eye toward form, shape, structure, and silhouette with regard to modeling and texturing character equipment
  • Superior eye for light, color, and detail in creating texture maps of different material types
  • Self-motivation, good communication skills, and a great team-player
  • Skill in one or more of the related creation tasks — illustration, modeling, texturing, animation, or concept drawing

Pluses

  • Have shipped AAA PC or console titles as a 3D character artist

  • Experience with Mudbox, ZBrush, (or equivalent modeling program) and the process of converting high-poly sculpted characters into lower poly game models
  • Experience with the creation of next-gen shaders and materials
  • Strong foundation in the traditional arts, including but not limited to figure drawing and illustration.
  • Passionate gamer with experience playing a wide range of games

StarCraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 Cover

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

Ghosts – the Terran’s powerful assassins, capable of reading minds and calling nuclear strikes… These ultimate weapons are crafted at a sinister instiution – the Ghost Academy.

In this never-before-seen chapter in ghost prodigy Nova’s life, the doors of the Ghost Academy are flung wide open! Join Nova as she navigates the challenges of brutal training, both physical and psychological, along with fellow cadets whose unusual powers are being twisted to serve the Dominion. But no matter how terrible their training, the ghost cadets will remember none of the pain…upon their memory-wiping graduation!

As a result of a troubled past, Nova has learned she can only depend on herself. Nova’s great strength – self-reliance – becomes her greatest weakness when the Ghost Academy implements team-based training. Saddled with a hard-line Dominion supporter, a mouthy President’s daughter, an opportunistic playboy and a scatter-brained geek with a habit of making machines go haywire, Nova’s challenge lies in learning her greatest strength may lie outside herself.

Writer: David Gerrold
Artist: Fernando Heinz Furukawa

Keith R.A. DeCandido @ Forbidden Planet - New York City

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

Keith R.A. DeCandido will be at Forbidden Planet signing some Farscape comics today April 22 at 6:30pm. Bring your copies of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred, StarCraft: Ghost: Nova, and StarCraft: Ghost Academy and say hi to the author.

Take the # 4 or # 6 Subway Train to 14 street (Union Square) and walk a few blocks)

Forbidden Planet (Map)
840 Broadway (corner with East 13 Street)
New York, NY 10003

Keith R.A. DeCandido and Aaron Rosenberg at LunaCon 2010

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, Starcraft News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

The Con-hopper Keith R.A. Decandido barely got back from Emerald City Con in Seattle, and now he’s heading to Lunacon 2010 — New York’s Oldest Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention — this coming weekend, and then to I-Con the following week.

Lunacon 2010 will be held at:

Hilton Rye Town Hotel (Map)
699 Westchester Avenue
Rye Brook, NY 10573
(914) 939-6300

Keith R.A. DeCandido wrote Starcraft: Ghost Nova, Starcraft: Ghost Academy and World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred.

Aaron Rosenberg is also attending the Lunacon to direct some panels. Aaron wrote Starcraft: Queen of Blades, World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness and co-wrote World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal. Bring these with you and catch them for a quick photo and signing.

While none will have any Blizzard novel signings or panels there, if you are going to Lunacon, you might wish to say hi, and get your novels signed.

These are their Schedules:

Will Write For Dice
Saturday, March 20 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Room: Westchester D6

So you wrote a game or module for an existing game… What’s the next step?  Can you just send it straight to your favorite game publisher?  Should you camp on Steve Jackson’s doorstep?  What are realistic steps for getting started writing for the gaming industry?  Should you borrow money from you friends and strike out on your own?  (Is this one time the self-pub press actually works?)

Kevin DiVico [M], Charles Gannon, Mike McPhail, Aaron Rosenberg

Reading
Saturday, March 20 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Room: Elija Budd

Autographing
Saturday, March 20 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Room: Westchester Assembly


Aaron Rosenberg

Bite Me
Saturday, March 20 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Room: Grand North

Blood Ties. True Blood. Being Human. Vampire Diaries. Vampires have always been a major (if rather dark and alluring) presence in our printed media, but lately they’ve sunk their fangs deep into our airwaves as well. What do they bring to this form of entertainment and what does the television offer them? Will the rest of their supernatural cohorts be far behind?

Joshua Bilmes, Ginjer Buchanan, Tanya Huff [M], Kim Kindya, Aaron Rosenberg, Lisa Sullivan

Short Fiction and Its 9 Lives
Saturday, March 20 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Room: Odelle

Though some have been predicting its demise for years, why hasn’t short fiction died yet? Are we really entering into a new golden age for short fiction?

James Chambers, Neil Clarke [M], Keith DeCandido, Marvin Kaye, Ian Randal Strock

System vs. Setting
March 20 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Room: Birch

Nearly all RPGs share some similiarities: they have a set of rules that govern play, and most have a setting or world where play takes place. Some people love systems for their rule systems, and other are drawn in to the romance of a particular setting. Which is it for you: the math or the poetry, that makes or breaks a game?

Kathryn Baker, Steve Brinich [M], Heidi Hooper, Hal Johnson, Mike McPhail, Aaron Rosenberg

Comic Book Crossovers
Saturday, March 20 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Room: Birch

Everyone knows that adapting books for the big screen takes some skill. But not everyone realizes that adapting books for comics is just as demanding. But it’s not just books that make the cross, either. TV shows and movies are being adapted and expanded as comic book series as well. Panelists discuss both the process of these adaptations and why they’re worth doing.

Keith DeCandido [M], Glenn Hauman, C.J. Henderson, Hal Johnson

SUNDAY

To Write, Or To Have A Life? Can You Do Both?
Sunday, March 21 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Room: Odelle

The life of a writer is hard, yet rewarding, like a body-building genie.  How to balance multiple projects and get them all done, without killing yourself. Being able to get them all done and still have an active social life…well, that may take more than one panel to explain.

Ty Drago,Laura Anne Gilman, Bob Greenberger, C.J. Henderson, Aaron Rosenberg [M]

Knowing Your Place: The Role of a Tie-In Writer
Sunday, March 21 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Room: Odelle

You may be the writer, but you’re not the license holder, and that means you have to set your ego—and sometimes your narrative—aside. Is it possible to write tie-ins and still maintain creative control, even a little? Are media tie-ins and fanfiction just two sides of the same coin?

Keith DeCandido, Bob Greenberger [M], Glenn Hauman, Aaron Rosenberg

Whither Wander You?
Sunday, March 21 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Room: Birch

The physical journey can mirror and drive the spiritual journey of the characters, while providing an interesting and amusing source of external conflict.  When done poorly, it can devolve into tedium, and wreak havoc on the pacing of the novel.  How do you keep one from sliding into the other?  What are some of the best travel scenes we’ve written and read?  Which have been done poorly?  How do you write a compelling travel scene without losing the reader to what seems like a hundred pages of endless trudging through snowy wastelands?

Alma Alexander [M], Peter V. Brett, Sam Butler,  Keith DeCandido, Josepha Sherman

Keith R.A. DeCandido signing at 2010 Emerald City Comic Con

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

Gamers attending the Emerald City Comic Con 2010 should know Keith R.A. DeCandido — the convention-hopper — is there today at booth 502 signing Farscape and Farscape: D’Argo’s Lament and D’Argo’s Trial.

He recently announced he’s gonna be writing some D&D stuff.

Bring your copies of Starcraft: Ghost Nova, Starcraft: Ghost Academy and World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred for signing.

The 8th Annual ECCC is taking place at:

Washington State Convention Center (Map)
800 Convention Place
Seattle, WA 98101

Get Directions
(206) 694-5030

Keith R.A. DeCandido Signing at Fairpoint 2010 in Baltimore

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

The convention-hopper and writer Keith R.A. DeCandido is attending the Farpoint 2010 this coming weekend. He will be autographing and book-selling at various points throughout the weekend. A good chance to get your Starcraft: Ghost Nova and Starcraft: Ghost Academy signed. If you are into Farscape, he will be selling and signing the Farscape comic book.

Saturday

11:00 am: Boogie Knights concert (Main Ballroom – Greenspring 2/3/4)
1:00 pm: An Hour with Keith R.A. DeCandido (Dulaney 2)
5:00 pm: 2009 Comics in Review (Chesapeake 1)
6:00 pm: Comics to Movies (Chesapeake 1)

Crowne Plaza Hotel – Baltimore North, located in Timonium, Maryland off Timonium Road, at Interstate 83 exit 16

Crown Plaza Hotel (view map)
2004 GREENSPRING DRIVE
BALTIMORE, MD 21093 UNITED STATES

Keith R.A. Decandido at 2010 ALA in Boston

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

Here we go again stalking our favorite book writers, and Blizzard’s creative freelancers all over the globe. This time our friendly convention-hopper Keith R.A. Decandido has pop on my long-range radar — [gee, this guy writes his stuff on trains, airplanes, airports and hotels, he doesn’t miss an event. Does he?]

Keith R.A. DeCandido will be signing at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting held in Boston, Massachussets. There’s no Blizzard booth here, but you can go say hi and sneak in your Starcraft: Ghost novels and manga nonetheless to get those signed. Here’s a video showing what the American Library Association (ALA) is. If you manage to take photos or video of yourself with Keith R.A. Decandido at this event, send’em to us to post it in the front page.

When: Friday, January 15th

Location
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (map)
415 Summer Street, Boston, Massachusetts

Where: BOOM! Studios Booth # 1471

If you had pre-scheduled to go to Arisia 2010 in Cambridge, Massachussets, Keith said on his blog that he will be sneaking around there on Sunday, Jan 17 in the evening, and on Monday.

Arisia 2010 – Cambridge Hyatt Hotel (Map)
575 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, Massachusetts
02139

Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1 Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft News, Starcraft: Ghost News

I acquired a copy of Starcraft: Ghost Academy from Barnes & Noble to review this product. For a soft cover, I really like the texture and feeling of the material. Volume One contains 192 pages full of action and it’s divided into a prologue and five chapters.

Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1The manga starts out strangely from the point of view of yourself as the one receiving a letter from Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. In this letter you are required to volunteerly submit your son/daughter to the Psi-Ops Division of the Terran Dominion (Ghost Program) and how proud you should be for making this step for the defense of the Dominion from alien threats.

The prologue is a follow up to the events of the Starcraft: Frontline manga concerning Colin Phash and Corbin Phash. Corbin has started to feed the media with accussations against the Ghost Program, requesting people to rise against the taking of their children for underground experimentation.

Kevin Bick (Director of the Ghost Program) appears on the UNN to respond the accussations and displays video of what happened at Maltair IV, blaming ex-Dominion Senator Corbin Phash for refusing to volunteerly bring his son to the Ghost Program for proper training of his abilities. If he had done as requested, the events of Maltair IV wouldn’t have happened in the first place – said the director.

We do know from Starcraft: Frontline that it was the Dominion command who authorized the wrangler Randall to use lobotomized zerg units as psi-hounds to track down the telepath boy: Colin Phash. Thus, the Dominion is simply covering up their lies with false info to the UNN, making it look like the boy is a threat to himself and everyone around him without proper training — blaming the kid for attracting zerg to planet Maltair IV.

CHAPTER ONE: It’s all over now, Team Blue

We learn that the entire UED squadron was not decimated by Kerrigan’s zerg in Starcraft: Brood War. In this volume, we see the Team Blue led by Gabriel Tosh and composed of Nova, Kath, and Lio. They are here on a mission to inflitrate a planet-hopper ship overtaken by UED Pirates — you heard it, UED Pirates. Their goal is to rescue a senator and three aides on board.

Nova doesn’t look like a team player who likes to follow orders. She takes off ahead of the team and doesn’t even listen to Gabriel Tosh’s instructions. Her cockiness puts her in harm’s way jeopardizing the mission once she figures out the UED pirates are wearing psi-screens.

I found difficult sometimes to differenciate one marine from another, as they lack any serial number, marks or logos. For example, I found it helpful in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4: Fear the Reaper to identify who was who among the Reaper squad. Not much of an issue, really, due to the nature of this specific mission.

Things in this first chapter are not what you think, but we get to see how the Ghost trainees get to learn, hone and improve their skills the hard way. I could see a bit of a Star Trek influence here, and it’s no surprise with the large track record of Star Trek novels written by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

There’s a curious shadow in the complex’s hallways that resembles a child, and Nova did see the shadow, but dismissed it as something she thought she saw. Considering Nova is PI 10 and the child Colin Phash is PI 7.5, it makes you wonder how the kid got to fool Nova. In the Starcraft: Frontline series you learn that Senator Corbin Phash taught his son how to project his thoughts with false leads (repeating something in his mind to be picked up by telepaths, while doing something else), and the kid has a special gift described as “Quiet Voice” — which sorta cloaks his presence from the Zerg with the power of his mind, even when he is at plain sight. And another ability described as Astral Projection or relocation of his mind. (Paul Benjamin & Dave Shramek read X-Men, alright). Colin probably used this ability to evesdrop on Nova, while remaining out of sight from her own telepathic abilities.

CHAPTER TWO: Taking Care of Business

This chapter introduces Director Kevin Bick and Superintendent Angelini Sarco who talk about the insertion of Aal Cistler into team blue. We get to see Preceptor Soohoo teaching Terran history through the eye of the Terran Dominion, or like a yawning Kath Toom describes: propaganda. The story of how the Confederates fell in Tarsonis with the Zerg and how Kerrigan joined the Zerg was taught wrong. Therefore, the ghost trainees are instructed with the same lies the Dominion feeds the media and the people.

As the story progresses, you kinda start feeling back at college with all the drama, name-calling and angry students stepping on your patience. The interactions between students feel natural. Conflicts arise, while others try to keep things under control — like Gabriel Tosh, leader of Team Blue.

We get to see Lio Travski in action hacking into computers to bypass the Ghost Program’s security sensors in order to buy and consume Hab.

CHAPTER THREE: Seven times fall down, eight times get up

In this chapter, we see another training scenario in the shape of a maze full of booby traps, and robots. Each member of Team Blue is tested to the limit, and their mistakes and pros are measured by percent. The next class is with Sergeant Hartley who trains them in the way of martial arts. All students must wear a psi-screen and must rely on their instincts and physical prowess.

I was pleased to see Keith DeCandido bring up some scenes from the Starcraft: Ghost Nova novel such as Nova’s experience at the Gutter serving Fagin as a slave for six months.

The martial art trainer is a butcher and the training of ghosts in this class look like the harshest boot camp you have ever experienced. A bonus martial match between Gabriel Tosh and Aal takes place. Later, the team vents on Nova for not been a team player.

Nova finds a young telepath girl at some kind of library. Nova reads into her mind to learn her story, and it turns out this girl is the one Wrangler Randall captured in Starcraft: Frontline while searching for Colin Phash. It’s really nice to see continuity treats throughout the manga.

At the mess hall, there’s an informative and amusing interaction between Aal, Kath and Gabriel Tosh which help you flesh out their background, and their personality. There’s another training test to assemble a C-10 rifle within a minute and a half or less. It seems Nova listened to what Gabriel Tosh told her about her lack of a team work, and we see her caring more about her teammates, by teaching them.

CHAPTER FOUR: All I have to do is dream

This chapter shows how much Nova has accomplished earning the companionship of her teammates. Here we also get another flashback from Starcraft: Ghost Nova. The scene where Nova and Morgan Calabas are aboard the yacht en route to the Tyrador IX resort and the moment she finds her parents dead, Her experience at the Gutter for six months as a slave of Fagin, and her rescue by Wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian.

If you read this novel (pocket book), it will be nice for you to see a brief summary and these characters as images. Gabriel Tosh and Nova get closer as friends at the end of this chapter.

CHAPTER FIVE: Redemption

There are some twists at the end, and the entire story has brief hints of Colin Phash been able to eavesdrop his way around the Ghost Program undetected, unless the Ghost Program is using him as their way to eavesdrop on the trainees? I guess we will confirm or discard that in the upcoming volume 2.

While some readers new to Starcraft will feel a bit lost on what’s going on, they don’t necessarily need to have read Starcraft: Ghost Nova, as this manga briefly summarizes some of the most important scenes that shaped Nova’s life.

For a intro, volume one did a good job at showing us how the ghosts are trained, while at the same time exploring each character’s personality and past. Some characters are more caring and friendly than others. The exceptions of course are Aal, and Lio. Aal because he only cares about himself, and Lio because of his addiction to Hab and his continuous efforts to prevent his friends and the preceptors from discovering his addiction.

If you are a lore nerd like myself, collecting all Starcraft novels and manga — you will no doubt appreciate all the continuity nods and mentions.

Did you read Starcraft: Ghost Nova? Then you will love reading Starcraft: Ghost Academy as it’s written by the same author: Keith R.A. DeCandido — who participated in the shaping of the main character and its world. Awesome job, Keith! Fernando Heinz Furukawa is the artist of this manga. The artwork is very enjoyable and consistent. Rich facial expressions really help to transmit each character’s emotions throughout the plot. I am not into manga, but I truly dig Furukawa’s style.

Overall, a good read, as expected from the writing-calibre of Keith R.A. DeCandido. The Starcraft: Ghost Academy will only span up to three volumes, but after reading this first issue, I really wish Blizzard and Tokyopop published them as an ongoing series every three-or-four months without a defined end.

The Starcraft comic book by Wildstorm is heading to the Graphic Novel format, so I would welcome an ongoing manga series based on Nova and the Ghost Academy with the same author and artist.

Check out the preview scans and the recent teaser trailer. You can order Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1 here. The story continues in the second part, Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 which hits bookstores on August 3, 2010.

Slang

You will see some slang used often throughout the manga:

Teek: Telekinetic
Teep: Telepath
PI: Psi-Index (a PI 10 is a powerful telepath/telekinetic)
Chaneed: short for “What do you need?”

Characters

E.B. James – UNN Reporter

Director Kevin Bick: He is in charge of the Terran Dominion’s Ghost Program. Director Bick talked to the UNN to deny all accussations from ex-senator Corbin Phash and to convince the populace that Phash’s notion of the Ghost Program’s experiments on children is outdated info as that’s how the Confederates’s Ghost Program worked like, not the Terran Dominion’s. That’s of course a lie.

Preceptor Soohoo: History instructor at the Ghost Program

Superintendent Angelini Sarco – He monitors each of the Ghost trainees through Sparky — the computer that probes each area of the building as a surveillance system.

Jenni – assistant serving Director Kevin Bick

Dr. Gauthier – the Ghost Program doctor overlooking Colin Phash’s brainwashing process and he’s running experiments on Colin.

Colin Phash – ex-Dominion Senator Corbin Phash’s son. Colin is a telepath Psi-Index 7.5 with the innovative and unique ability to create a Quiet Voice mental cloaking field around himself to stay out of plain sight, and can cast an astral projection of himself.

Aldeo Cistler – He is the Terran Dominion’s Finance Minister and a valued member of the Emperor’s Inner Circle. He sent his son Aal Cistler to the Ghost Program to make a man out of him because throughout all his young years he has been an embarrassment to his family.

Kam – Hab supplier inside the Ghost Program. He provides the illegal narcotic to Lio Travski at blind spots where Lio can fool Sparky’s probe detection.

Aunt Yuku – Uncle Desi’s wife and aunt to Lio Travski.

Uncle Desi – Uncle to Lio Travski. Desi is a computer tech at the Kal-Bryant Mining Conglomerate in Pridewater.

Sergeant Hartley: Rude trainer who teaches martial arts to all ghost trainees and forces them to do fifty push ups on one fist.

Preceptor Appelbaum – Overlooks Delta’s training.

Delta Emblock – a very young telepath girl at the Ghost Program. She was born in New Sydney. Her mother died of a lung infection acquired at the factory she worked at. Delta had to work at age seven after her mom died and never learned to read. Wrangler Randall captured her and dispatched her to the Ghost Academy.

Preceptor Lagdamen – a trainer at the Ghost Program who oversees the training of Team Blue.

Preceptor Ryke – he teaches PI 7 and higher index telepaths how to supress thoughts. A P10 can’t control to read memories on people with strong thoughts or memory imprints.

Dr. Neall – She attended Lio’s health at the infirmary when he had a overdose of Turk, and found out traces of Hab in his bloodstream.

Team Blue

Gabriel Tosh – He grew up in the streets of Haji. He is been in the Ghost Program for at least two years and the leader of Team Blue. Gabriel Tosh plays an important role in the Starcraft II single player campaign. He is who gives you the mission titled MINING YOUR OWN BUSINESS at Redstone III [alias the lava planet].

Lio Travski – He can hack into machines using telepathy. Lio can create blind spots where Sparky — the preceptor’s sensor probe can not spy on him or detect that he is sending email to his family. Biometric sensors and cameras can’t pick him up, and he can easily infiltrate and hack into Sparky’s mainframe. He is addicted to Hab — an illegal narcotic.

Kath Toom – She gets bored in history class, yawns often. The pessimistic and complaint girl of team blue. She is the daughter of one of the executive vice-presidents of the Kal-Bryant Mining Conglomerates on Pridewater.

Aal Cistler – Age 25. He is a PI 4.5 — which catalogs him as not a telepath. An opportunistic playboy. An Intelligent and superb martial artist. He got black belts in three different disciplines. He is the son of Aldeo Cistler (the Terran Dominion’s financial minister). His father used his influences to place Aal into the Ghost Program even not being a telepath merely to make a man out of him. Aal has lived a playboy life, surrounded by luxury, lazyiness and bedding many women.

Nova Terra: November Anabelle Terra was the daughter of an industrial robotic manufacturing executive. One of the Old Families of Tarsonis. Her abilities manifested in full at the sight of her parents’ assassination. She lashed out at her would-be executioners and the telekinetic outburst destroyed the top of her family skycrapper and its anti-nuke dome, along with three hundred civilians. After six months in the Gutter, she was rescued by Wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian and brought into the Ghost Academy to hone her PI 10 abilities.

Team Red

Dylanna – She was the highest rank (68%) in the planet-hopper scenario simulation until Nova broke the record with a 70%. Nova’s team died in the simulation, while Dylanna’s lived. Yet Nova was rewarded with a higher score. This makes Dylanna angry at Nova, and a nemesis.
Winlaleah

Locations Mentioned

Lio Travski mentions two locations while emailing his uncle Desi. Desi lives at Pridewater. Both formerly lived in Nidhogg.

Nidhogg – Unknown location where drug addicts consumed Hab [illegal narcotic]. Smoky air and plagued by bugs.

Canis – One of Ursa’s moons. The Hab dealer gets supplies from here to distribute off-world.

The Gutter – a criminal activity and drug traffic zone in Tarsonis where Nova spent six months as slave of its kingpin Fagin.

New Warcraft and Starcraft Dioramas?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

Sideshow Collectibles produced a limited edition of Tychus Findlay on 2007 when Blizzard announced Starcraft II was in development. The question ever since has been: Will Sideshow Collectible create more Starcraft dioramas? The short answer is yes, but not soon. Which character would you guarantee to pre-order if they made a diorama of?

  • Kerrigan

  • Zeratul
  • Nova
  • Jim Raynor
  • Selendis
  • Arcturus Mengsk
  • Valerian Mengsk
  • Gabriel Tosh

Will you make more pieces from Starcraft? My Tychus Findlay is starting to get lonely.

Sideshow Collectibles: Yes, we continue to look at Blizzard titles for product opportunities. At the moment, we

Merry Christmas, Blizzard and Fans!!!

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Diablo 2 News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft News, Starcraft: Ghost News, Warcraft 3 News, World of Warcraft News

It’s that time of the year when families get together in special times to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. It’s meant to be a time of joy. I wish everyone happy holidays, especially all the people at Blizzard including those I have personally met or interacted with such as Chris Metzen, Mike Morhaime, Paul Sams, Frank Pearce, Ghostcrawler, Jeff Kaplan, Nethaera, Karune, Bashiok, Jay Wilson, J. Allen Brack, Wryxian, Changwoon Jung (who takes care of flight and hotel whenever I go to Blizzcon and to the Blizzard campus — thanks a bunch).

I gotta thank Chris Metzen for many things, he creates fantasy and sci-fi worlds that have entertained and enlightened me over the years not only through the games, but through books, manga and comic books. Chris Metzen got me invited to the fansites’ Starcraft II single player hands-on back on July 17th where I interviewed him. It was great when I was recording video of a Starcraft II panel at Blizzcon, and I heard this voice calling my name. When I turned my face to the side, it was Chris Metzen waving at me. That was absolutely awesome, and I felt a lot of joy within to have someone I am a fanboy of remember me and say hi. His work and his worlds inspire to wish to be better each day. You can learn things from certain stories, that you would not learn normally in real life for lack of living those experiences.

I emailed Chris Metzen a couple of weeks ago simply to apologize for that Sargeras article I wrote a few days ago. I had meant to write about it for a long time — ok, two years late — and used a photo by Gadgetress (OCRegister) of Chris Metzen from the 15th Anniversary of Warcraft celebration held at the Blizzard campus. The Sargeras article brought up the retcon, and possible reasons the creative team had to infuse a new direction to the story, while I was also exploring and parodying the reaction from fans when this retcon took place a couple of years ago.

To make a long story short, in the parody I used this photo of Chris Metzen that looked like those facepalm images, and I added a few parody words concerning the retcon. You know, at that moment it looked fun to use the photo in the context of the article, but I still felt uneasy within. I emailed him to apologize. It’s not my nature to cause stress to people or make them feel bad, or do bad things on purpose. I’m a nice guy, honest and overall a good guy. A bit funny sometimes, which contrast with my shy personality.

Chris Metzen was pretty cool about it, no hard feelings from him for using the photo in that context. However, I want to share that at the time that photo was taken, he had a speech about what all those 15 years at Blizzard creating all these worlds meant to him. It’s easy to say 15 years, but it’s a long time and a large chunk of your life dedicated to writing, inventing, jammin’ ideas within and with other fellow writers. It was a very emotional moment, that I can just grasp and imagine. It was a meaningful moment, that I am really sorry to have parodied.

While there’s a lot of trolls out there who might think otherwise, many people — including me — love the work Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson and the Creative Team have done over the years. We are very proud of you, Chris. Merry Christmas!

Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1 Teaser Trailer

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost, Starcraft: Ghost News

Whenever MARVEL launches an animated promo of their products such as the Astonishing X-men: GIFTED or the recent Planet Hulk, the Secret Invasion or Dark Reign — fans get excited.

When TOKYOPOP launches a teaser trailer for STARCRAFT: GHOST ACADEMY VOL. 1 Book Trailer — now … that’s a thrilling shocker full of Awesome!!! Discover the origin of the Terran’s most powerful weapon in StarCraft: Ghost Academy.

Ghosts

DragonCon 2009: Knaak and DeCandido Photo

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News, World of Warcraft News

Jlsigman sent me a photo of Richard A. Knaak and Keith R.A. DeCandido taken at DragonCon 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. Both conducted the Lore of Warcraft Panel at the event.

On the far left, you can see World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon. On Keith’s side to the right, you can see his World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred and Starcraft Ghost: Nova.

Starcraft Ghost: Spectres Finished

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft: Ghost News

Keith R.A. DeCandido confirmed he has finished writing Starcraft Ghost: Spectres.  It is now under review by Blizzard Entertainment’s Creative Team.  If things go well, he won’t have to revise or edit anything.  Looks like it is on track to be released on Spring 2010.  A character from Spectres will also show up in Tokyopop’s Starcraft Ghost: Academy (manga).  I can’t wait to get my paws on this book.  Everyone should.  Trust me on this one folks. I will talk of this plenty very soon.

DeCandido: Spectres is done! Finished Chapter 16 and the epilogue, and the whole schmear is off to Blizzard for their okee dokee.