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

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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

 

Blizzplanet Review: StarCraft: Ghost — Spectres

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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

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

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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:

StarCraft: Ghost — Spectres On Sale

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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

StarCraft: Ghost Spectres Teasers and Questions Wanted

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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).

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

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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”.

StarCraft: Ghost Spectres – Front Cover Artwork

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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.

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

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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.

TOKYOPOP to Shutdown in May

World of Warcraft: Shaman Tokyopop

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”

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

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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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