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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.
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.
Michael 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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.
A few weeks ago, I reported that Pocket Star Books is launching STARCRAFT GHOST:SPECTRE on December 2009. Originally, at the New York Comic Con 2008, Keith R.A. DeCandido said he was hoping it would go out on the Summer 2009, but the 35 layoffs that hit the publishing company—including Marco Palmieri (Editor)—schedules were delayed.
The Tokyopop manga titled Starcraft Ghost: Academy (a trilogy) is aiming to hit the end of 2009. However, it is possible to be pushed to 2010. What I was informed is that Tokyopop hopes to unleash the three parts of the manga trilogy within 2010.
Keith R.A. DeCandido is currently writing Starcraft Ghost: Spectre and the Academy manga for Tokyopop. DeCandido offers many updates on how far he is with this book almost in a weekly basis. Here is some of the latest updates to amuse you.
|| Blizzard Quote:
||DeCandido: I turned in the script for the prologue and Chapter 1 of Ghost Academy Volume 1 on 19 December 2008. Chapter 2 is due 11 January (which will be do-able, assuming Blizzard’s feedback comes in a timely manner, as I don’t want to start it until I know I was on the right track with Chapter 1), with Chapter 3 due 31 January, Chapter 4 due 21 February, and Chapter 5 due 13 March.
Still waiting for the formal approval of the plots for Volumes 2-3 of Ghost Academy, but I can’t even start scripting that until late March anyhow… *laughs*
Ghost: Spectres is in progress, due to Pocket by the end of this month. Not sure when this is scheduled to be published. I’m hoping it and GA will both come out around the end of 2009/beginning of 2010.
I also have some pitches rummaging around for future volumes of the Frontline manga anthologies, but that’s all preliminary right now.
Blizzard has announced the Echoes of War soundtracks are now available on iTunes store allowing you to purchase individual tracks or the whole album.
|| Blizzard Quote:
||Head on over to the iTunes store to get your copy of one or all of the 15 unique arrangements from Echoes of War: The Music of Blizzard Entertainment. This new album was recently released on CD, and has now been added to iTunes as well. It features 90 minutes of music in all, based on tracks from our games, including the upcoming StarCraft II and Diablo III. Individual tracks are available on iTunes for 99 cents each. For more details, check out the Echoes of War site or head to the Eminence Online Store to order a physical copy.
Celebrating the Christmas season, Blizzplanet launches a new contest that will chill everyone’s heart with joy. The prize of this contest is courtesy and sponsored by Eminence:
The Music of Blizzard Entertainment: Echoes of War
It contains music from Starcraft, Diablo II, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Starcraft: Ghost, Diablo III and Starcraft II. You can take home this product by participating in this contest. Ends on January 2, 2009 at 11:59 EST (New York time)
Simply folloiw and complete all of the instructions listed below:
Blizzplanet is currently spotlighted at the official World of Warcraft website. Read our Echoes of War review to find out what’s inside the prize’s box in detail.
Keith R.A. DeCandido is hard at work as I speak on the Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (Pocket Star Book) and the Starcraft Ghost: Academy (Tokyopop).
He already pitched the Starcraft Ghost: Academy plot to Tokyopop and Blizzard. The manga will be a trilogy, and volume one was approved. He just needs to start writing the full script.
On to Starcraft Ghost: Spectre, he just finished writing the first chapter where Nova has a big battle against the Zerg. Keith has been through a detailed research for that scene.
Keith R.A. DeCandido hoped at the New York Comic Con 2008 to see both projects go on sale on Summer 2009, but sadly both have been pushed. Pocket Star Books informed me last week that Starcraft Ghost: Spectre is aiming to release on December 2009. Tokyopop informed me the Starcraft Ghost: Academy trilogy will be out throughout 2010.
If we start a speculation ball rolling, it looks like Starcraft: Ghost development is no longer postponed. And that 2010 is the year we might see this game reborn from the ashes on the PC, where it belongs. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the next-gen MMO turned out to be a revamped Starcraft: Ghost?
The economic recession across the United States is seriously affecting every industry: from General Motors and other Automobile manufacturers down to book publishers and beyond. Sadly, I have to inform that my personal contacts at Pocket Star Books and Tokyopop have been laid off. I had heard a few weeks ago that Tim Beedle (Starcraft/ Warcraft manga editor) and Susan Hale were no longer at Tokyopop. I don’t know the perks, but now I have figured out it is due to lay offs.
Today, after visiting Keith R.A. DeCandido’s blog, I found out that Marco Palmieri was among the 35 employees laid off by Simon & Schuster on December 3. He was the editor of all Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo novels, and more notoriously known as editor of 65% of the Star Trek pocket star books published in the past 11 years. It is a very sad day for hundreds of writers, including Richard A. Knaak, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christie Golden, Jeff Grubb, Graham McNeill, and Aaron Rosenberg who had the opportunity to meet and work with him. I am still in shock. I sent him an email just a day ago on Saturday not even knowing he may not even be able to read it from the office.
In my email I was letting him know the URL to the Night of the Dragon review and to ask a few things about the Starcraft Ghost: Spectre. I am really saddened to hear about his sudden departure. I have been in contact with Marco Palmieri for about two or three years. He would ship review copies of most Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft pocket star books to my home. The latest ones Diablo Archive, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon.
I have no words to thank him for his great support to keep fans updated with lore and upcoming books. Thanks to him, Blizzplanet has been the main source of Blizzard novel news for other fansites, fans and even wiki enthusiasts in the past years. I had the opportunity to hand-shake Marco Palmieri this year at the New York Comic Con and to thank him face-to-face. I was looking forward to meeting him again on 2009. I will get in contact with the new editor, but it will not be the same without Marco. I am not the only one with that sentiment. All of the Blizzard novel writers feel the same way. We hope Marco Palmieri finds a new job doing what he does and loves best. Not only for him, but for his wife and two children. Best wishes to the other 34 employees who were laid off too.
The next Warcraft novel is expected to hit bookstores on April 21 as a hardcover (retail price: $ 25) under the title World of Warcraft: Arthas, The Rise of the Lich King—by Christie Golden. Hopefully, the layoffs won’t delay the release dates and script proposal and revisions for upcoming books.
Source: Keith R.A. DeCandido’s blog
Keith R.A. DeCandido sent the script proposal for StarCraft: Ghost Academy to Tokyopop and Blizzard for approval. If everything goes well (laughs—it is DeCandido’s … of course it will be) this manga will be sitting on your lap fresh off the bookstore on Jun 16, 2009.
Keith: I just e-mailed off the revised proposal for the first volume of StarCraft: Ghost Academy to TokyoPop and Blizzard, along with an overview for Volumes 2 and 3. I think this puppy is shaping up nicely. We’ll see if the folks at those two companies agree. *grin*
An artist has also been assigned, but hasn’t been formally announced yet. However, I’ve seen samples, and the work is excellent.
Tomorrow, I dive into “The Unhappy Ones,” my Klingon wrath novella for Seven Deadly Sins.
Share your comments
According to GameInformer Magazine Online Staff Jeff Cork, Blizzard showed a slide presentation at D.I.C.E. in Las Vegas talking about the games Blizzard has discarded such as Warcraft Adventures. An elusive game all of us wanted released and that was thought dead was missing from the slide presentation … Starcraft: Ghost. GameInformer immediately approached Frank Pearce to squeeze out the reason Starcraft: Ghost wasn’t part of the list of cancelled games … find out what he replied here.
Starcraft: Ghost isn’t dead.
Kotaku also posted the list of games that Blizzard cancelled and no one ever knew were in development:
- Games People Play
- Shattered Nations
- Pax Imperia
- Warcraft Adventures
Strangely, there is a cancelled game that doesn’t show up in that list … Diablo II: Salvation which shows up in the abandoned Blizzard trademarks dating 2003.
Gamespot has a lengthy article covering the D.I.C.E. event with quotes from Mike Morhaime and a few screenshots.
One of the most exciting features in StarCraft: Ghost is the inclusion of vehicles. Several of them are familiar and popular vehicles from the strategy game, while a few are brand-new creations. Vehicles are a key component of multiplayer games, adding another level of strategy to ordinary competitive play. Some vehicles will also be available for Nova to use in the single-player game. Here are just a few of the vehicles you will be able to drive in StarCraft: Ghost.
StarCraft players will recognize the speedy Vulture as the ultimate scout vehicle. In Ghost, this single-person, sleek hovercraft is the fastest and most maneuverable vehicle. It also boasts a mounted laser cannon to give it offensive capabilities as well. The Vulture can be piloted by both Ghosts and Light Infantry and is a highly valuable vehicle in multiplayer games due to its great speed. However, beware of enemy players, who can grab onto your Vulture, kick you to the ground, and commandeer it from you.
This mammoth engine of destruction is one of the most recognized vehicles from StarCraft. Armor-plated and slow-moving, it is a mobile artillery platform that protects its occupant while also leveling crippling fire on enemy players. It has a thunderous primary cannon attack and can also switch to siege mode to launch devastating bombardments at enemies from afar. Both Light Infantry and Ghosts can pilot a Siege Tank, which is perhaps the most powerful vehicle in StarCraft: Ghost.
The Grizzly is one of the new vehicles created for Ghost. It is a fighter- bomber with limited troop carrying capacity. In Capture the Base multiplayer games, it?s the perfect vehicle. With its heavy armament, it can muscle through enemy defenses, and thanks to its troop carrier slots, it can ferry a full five-man team into a hovering factory. The Grizzly has a pilot?s seat and gunner position, both of which can be manned by Ghosts or Light Infantry. With both spots occupied, a Grizzly can launch a withering barrage of attacks at enemies below, including dual machine guns, lasers, rockets, and bombs. Three additional compartments allow passengers to ride aboard the Grizzly: two spots on the wings for Marines and Firebats and a third stowaway spot for an additional Ghost passenger.
Another of the new vehicles created specifically for StarCraft: Ghost, the Stinger is a rugged and versatile jeep. Its six-wheels give it better stability for navigating difficult terrain, making it ideal for all-terrain transport and support. Occupying the middle ground between the Vulture’s speed and the Siege Tank’s overwhelming power, the Stinger provides good mobility with respectable firepower. It has room for a single driver and a gunner, who rides in the back of the vehicle to man the mounted heavy assault cannon.
The arsenal of weapons that Nova has access to include precision instruments of death and blunt hammers of destruction. Whatever the mission, there is a weapon well-suited to the task. The weapons listed below are but a small selection of the many available in the game. All of these weapons are useable by Nova in the single-player campaign, but their use in multiplayer is restricted to specific characters.
The Torrent Shotgun is a close-range weapon that propels high-impact shot in a cone immediately in front of the firer. The wide dispersal of shot makes it ineffective against long-range targets, but the powerful blast is lethal from point-blank range, making the Shotgun the weapon of choice for Light Infantry attempting to eliminate close targets.
The twin arm-mounted Perdition Flamethrowers are the perfect weapon for clearing close-range targets with decisive results. Few creatures can withstand the constant stream of flames from a Flamethrower and survive. Its highly volatile fuel, fed by heavy shoulder tanks, continues to immolate the area long after the Perdition Flamethrower has ceased firing. This is the default weapon for the Firebat in multiplayer games, and is exclusive to that unit.
The Gauss Rifle is the standard Light Infantry weapon. Although it has no secondary fire mode, it is more powerful than the Assault Rifle, thanks to its faster rate of fire and armor-piercing ammunition.
E11 Lockdown Device
Another weapon that only Ghosts are trained to use, the Lockdown Device stops vehicles dead in their tracks. Before firing the Lockdown Device, Nova must hold her aim over the target for a few seconds while the weapon completes its lock. Once the targeting reticule indicates a viable shot, Nova can fire the weapon to instantaneously lock the vehicle down for a minute.
The Assault Rifle is the standard-issue weapon for a Ghost, combining light weight with a sizable 30-round clip and burst firing. When the situation calls for more explosive firepower, the Assault Rifle can also be used to launch grenades with its secondary fire mode. Its versatility makes it a reliable means of protection for Nova when other weapons are unavailable.
Sniper Rifle: Powerful and precise, this lethal weapon is only entrusted to the highly trained hands of a Ghost. While all weapons have a zoom function, the Sniper Rifle has further zoom magnification that allows Nova to perform one-shot kills on targets from hundreds of yards away.
What is StarCraft: Ghost?
StarCraft: Ghost is a stealth-action console game set in the StarCraft? universe.
How will StarCraft: Ghost be different from other stealth-action console games?
StarCraft: Ghost will be different from other stealth-action games in many ways. Taking on the role of Nova, the game’s elite Ghost operative hero, players will be able to:
Utilize a Wide Range of Elite Ghost Abilities
- Outmaneuver your enemies at sonic speed
- Infiltrate bases and sneak past guards using the cloak ability
- Lock down vehicles and electronic devices to immobilize them
- Engage in both face-to-face firefights and planet-scale warfare
- Large-scale battles: Experience a new level of interaction with tactical Calldown abilities.
Leverage the Resources of an Entire Army
- Take control of familiar StarCraft vehicles
- Wield a variety of weapons, such as the Perdition Flamethrower, Gauss Rifle, and Torrent Shotgun
- Join your allies in battle and do your part to ensure mission success
Experience the World of StarCraft in 3D
- See the world of StarCraft on a personal level
- Visit Mar Sara and other familiar planetary settings
- Explore 3D environments designed for strategic interaction
- As Nova, players will be able to hang from wires, climb poles, and negotiate tightropes
Unveil the Next Chapter in the StarCraft Saga
- Experience story-driven missions complete with multiple plot twists
- Play a crucial role in the rich StarCraft history
- Engage in combat with a variety of fully rendered characters from the StarCraft universe, including well-known Terran, Zerg, and Protoss units
What new features have been added since the Blizzard console team took over the development of StarCraft: Ghost?
The goal of Blizzard’s console team has been to expand and evolve the strong foundation already established for StarCraft: Ghost. The majority of this work involves making changes to the graphics engine, incorporating a number of characters, weapons, and vehicles, and designing and implementing StarCraft: Ghost’s new single-player and multiplayer features.
What can we expect to see from StarCraft: Ghost at BlizzCon?
BlizzCon will offer the first opportunity for the public to see StarCraft: Ghost in its current form, with the latest single-player and multiplayer features implemented. In particular, multiplayer has been expanded to now accommodate up to 16 players over Xbox Live and Battle.net. Also, gamers will be able to control newly playable Zerg multiplayer units and experience the newly unveiled “Invasion” multiplayer scenario. The new single-player level that players will be able to see takes place on the lava-scorched planet of Abaddon, which has never been seen by the public prior to BlizzCon.
How many players will StarCraft: Ghost support?
StarCraft: Ghost will accommodate up to 16 players on Xbox Live for Xbox owners and Battle.net for PlayStation 2 players.
How long will the StarCraft: Ghost single-player experience last?
Development of the single-player missions has not been finished yet, but we plan to create approximately 12-15 hours of single-player content.
When will StarCraft: Ghost be released?
While we have not yet announced a street date for StarCraft: Ghost, we anticipate that the game will be complete in 2006. However, as with all of our games, we will not release StarCraft: Ghost until it meets the high standards that our development teams and our fans demand.
On what platforms will StarCraft: Ghost be available?
StarCraft: Ghost will be available on the Xbox and PlayStation 2.
What rating do you expect for StarCraft: Ghost?
With StarCraft: Ghost still in development, it’s too early to determine what ESRB rating it will receive. Right now, we’re wholly focused on making StarCraft: Ghost into a Blizzard-quality console game, and we will have a better idea of what rating it will receive as we get closer to release.
Who is developing StarCraft: Ghost?
StarCraft: Ghost is being created by Blizzard’s console development team.
Why did Blizzard enter the console arena?
We began our early development efforts in console gaming, and we have always been excited about returning to this arena. Additionally, we’ve wanted to revisit the StarCraft universe for some time. With StarCraft: Ghost, we are able to do both. Also, due to the game’s control interface and tactical-action nature, developing this title for the console systems makes the most sense. In addition to expanding StarCraft’s rich storyline, the game gives players a chance to experience the sci-fi universe from an all-new perspective.
Will there be a PC and Mac version?
No. StarCraft: Ghost is being developed for console systems only.
How many copies of StarCraft have been sold?
To date, the StarCraft franchise has shipped over 9 million copies.
Nova is a deadly combination of psychic power and technological enhancements. Trained from birth in the channeling of her psionic energies, she has perfected a host of psionic abilities that she can use to accomplish her goals. These psi powers are learned at various times throughout the game, and each one will prove instrumental to Nova’s success throughout her missions. With her psychic powers alone, Nova would be a deadly force, but when combined with her advanced technological equipment and weaponry, she becomes an unstoppable assassin.
Psi Energy: Nova’s psi powers require the expenditure of psi energy. Usually, while a psi power is activated, it drains Nova’s available psi energy. Once her energy meter is tapped out, the power ends. When Nova isn’t using a psi power, her psi energy will slowly trickle back up over time, but she can also take a few moments to actively meditate to refill her energy. There are differences in psi use between multiplayer and single-player games, but in general, using a psi power usually drains Nova of available psi energy.
There are many obstacles and enemies that Nova can overcome easily with the use of her cloaking ability. Using her psychic ability to activate special receptors in her advanced biosuit, Nova can create a personal cloaking field around her that renders her invisible to the naked eye. While cloaked, Nova can sneak past enemy soldiers without trouble. However, she isn’t completely immune to detection. The Terrans and Protoss deploy detector robots at various strategic locations to pin point cloaked intruders, and the Zerg of course have the omnipresent Overlords to locate invisible enemies. However, even without these special detectors, Nova must still move with care when cloaked. She can fire her weapon while cloaked, but the distinct muzzle flash from her gun will alert guards to her location, as will careless bumping into enemies.
Not only does Nova’s superior conditioning give her a physical edge over her opponents, but her psi powers also give her a speed advantage as well. Using her psi speed power, Nova can quicken her movements to such a degree that the rest of the world seems to come to a literal standstill. This power is extremely draining on her psi energy reserves, but when she uses it, she moves at superhuman speeds while her enemies move drastically slower, enabling her to easily dodge their attacks and outmaneuver them.
In addition to her psionic powers, Nova has access to advanced bio-enhancement technology in her Ghost suit. One such technological benefit is her Vision ability. When she engages her advanced sensory goggles, she can perceive additional information that is otherwise hidden to the naked eye. She can discern vulnerable spots on targets, such as the beating hearts of humans or the slivers between Protoss armor plates where they are vulnerable to one-shot assassinations. This special Vision mode also tells Nova what mechanical targets are susceptible to lockdown and gives her the ability to see even in.
Although Nova isn’t playable in multiplayer games, this highly trained Ghost is. She’s a virtual replica of Nova, with psi powers and sophisticated weapons at her disposal. The Ghost has access to cloaking and psi vision, but not psi speed in multiplayer games. However, these two powers still give the Ghost a unique advantage among multiplayer characters. The Ghost is also one of only two multiplayer characters that can pilot vehicles like the Vulture, Grizzly fighter-bomber, and Siege Tank. Her array of talents means she is the only character that can employ stealth, kill from afar with one-shot precision, and lockdown enemy vehicles.
- BOSUN FN92 Sniper Rifle
- E11 Lockdown Device
- E16 Lockdown Grenade
- BE3 Sticky Grenade
Like the Marine, the Firebat wears heavy armor for increased protection and faster movement. But the similarities end there. The Firebat is a lethal expert in close-range combat, thanks to his Perdition Flamethrowers, which can annihilate nearby targets quickly and immolate surrounding terrain. To deal with long-range targets, the Firebat has two fire modes for his Napalm Rockets. One mode enables the Firebat to point the rocket towards its target with a laser sight, while the second mode actually lets the Firebat guide the rocket directly. However, while in this mode, the Firebat is highly vulnerable to attack.
- Napalm Rockets
The Marine is the heavy artillery of Ghost multiplayer games. Outfitted with a complete suit of power-armor, he can withstand the most amount of punishment from enemy players. And despite appearances, the bulky armor doesn’t detract from the Marine’s speed, as the power-assisted leg motors give the Marine a fast top running speed. However, the heavy armor does prevent the Marine from piloting vehicles. While the Marine’s weapon options are limited, those that he can use are long-ranged and very powerful.
- Flak Pistol
- Heavy Gauss Rifle
A common enemy for Nova in the single-player game, the Light Infantry is surprisingly versatile and efficient in multiplayer games. Without the heavy armor of the Marine, the Light Infantry can’t take much of a beating, but he has the widest array of weapons at his beck and call, and he can pilot vehicles as adeptly as the Ghost. The Light Infantry can also place, use, and repair sentry guns for use throughout the various multiplayer maps.
- Gauss Rifle
- BE3 Sticky Grenade
- Automated Chaingun
- Armored Flak Gun
- Torrent SR 8 Shotgun
- Decloaking Device
Now that the multiplayer component for Ghost has been revealed, it’s time to take a closer look at the unique game modes that Swingin’ Ape has introduced to the game. Ghost will boast the usual collection of multiplayer modes, such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and King of the Hill. However, even these game modes will have a unique twist to them, to make them fit the theme of StarCraft and to inspire more strategic play. In addition to traditional game types and StarCraft-flavored variants, Ghost will also introduce an entirely new game mode that fits perfectly in the setting – Capture the Base.
Capture the Flag
In Capture the Base mode, two teams of players square off on opposite sides of a simple map. Floating in the middle of this map is an empty Terran factory. Terran buildings can be captured and taken in the StarCraft strategy game, and in Ghost, they make for a perfect competitive multiplayer environment.
The goal of Capture the Base is to fly into the Terran factory and gain control of it in order to fly it back to your start point. The team that holds the base for a set amount of time wins the scenario. Of course, doing so is much easier said than done. First, you need to get into the floating factory, which you can only do by flying into it with a Grizzly fighter-bomber. Once inside, you’ll need to locate the central control room and maneuver the base back to your side. But while you’re doing this, the other team could be fighting a pitched battle within the factory trying to wrest control of it from you. And even if you should manage to bring it back to your base, the other team could always storm the factory and steal it back from you.
The initial Capture the Base map for play at the Electronic Entertainment Expo features several of the StarCraft vehicles. There are two Grizzlies – one for each side – which can be used to fly into the floating base and utilized for air support as well. Also available for use on each side is a Siege Tank, Stinger two-person jeep, and Vulture. Using these vehicles, players can hunt down members of the other team and protect the base once it’s captured.
Victory won’t automatically go to the team that first captures the base. Instead, one team must hold the base for a set number of minutes, which gives the other team a chance to take it back. However, the number of minutes you must hold the base need not be cumulative. That means teams can keep stealing it from each other in pitched battles that rage across the sky as the base is tugged back and forth between both sides of the map. Once a team accumulates the total necessary minutes – whether that’s at one time or over several instances – that team is declared the winner, and another exciting game of Capture the Base can commence once again.
|It was a time of war. The Confederacy of Man was crumbling under the weight of its own corruption, with new rebel groups attacking Confederate interests every day. Two powerful alien races had come to light and were fighting one another without any regard for terran lives. The military needed every able-bodied soldier on the front lines, especially telepaths.
Had Nova Terra been anyone else, she would long ago have been conscripted into the ghost program. But as the beloved child of an Old Family, Nova Terra grew up in the lap of luxury. She was sheltered from fear, hunger, sickness—even her own growing psionic potential. She knew nothing of suffering.
All that changed when a group of anti-Confederate terrorists murdered her family. Overwhelmed by grief and rage, Nova lashed out instinctively, without thought or control. Hundreds of people died in an instant, the guilty and innocent alike.
Fleeing the shattered remains of her life, Nova thought that she had seen the worst of humanity. Soon she discovered otherwise, confronted by the harsh realities of life on the street. Her abilities attracted the attention of the crime lord Fagin, who forced her into his employ.
At his command, she used her telepathic skills to scan the minds of Fagin’s associates, root out disloyalty, and even kill. As a rogue telepath, she could not help reading the thoughts and emotions of the people around her. It wasn’t long before she dreamed of death. Fagin’s or her own. Maybe both.
Haunted by her memories, Nova could hardly believe her luck when she met Agent Malcolm Kelerchian. He told her that the Confederacy wanted her to enroll in the Ghost Academy. Upon graduation, all ghosts routinely underwent a memory wipe.
That memory wipe, she realized, was exactly what she needed. She eagerly agreed to join the ghost program. Her psionic abilities were well beyond any of the other recruits, and she completed her physical and telepathic training in record time.
Today Nova Terra neither remembers nor cares about her past. What, after all, could it have to do with her current life as a loyal ghost of the Terran Dominion? She follows orders with unquestioning efficiency and hunts down the enemies of the Dominion, no matter where they might hide.
It has been four years since the Brood War Conflict ended within the ravaged Koprulu Sector. In that time, Sarah Kerrigan, the self-styled Queen of Blades, has become the undisputed ruler of the zerg Swarm – and the most powerful entity in the galaxy. Emperor Arcturus Mengsk, Kerrigan’s sworn enemy, has rebuilt much of his Terran Dominion and consolidated a new military force despite the ever-present threat of the zerg.
Mengsk, with the aid of his newly appointed advisor – General Horace Warfield – has begun a clandestine research project code-named Project: Shadow Blade. This covert program utilizes a rare and deadly form of gas known as terrazine to alter the genetic makeup of the Dominion’s psychic Ghost operatives. These Ghosts are transformed into terrifying Spectres – shadowy superhuman beings bent on executing the will of their true master.
In this boiling cauldron of strife and subversion, the young Ghost known as Nova has come of age. Having received years of intensive physical and psychic training, Nova has become the Dominion’s most lethal and promising Ghost in years. Utilizing a combination of pure physical aptitude, innate psychic power, and advanced technology, Nova can infiltrate any situation and strike without being seen or heard. Like a phantom in the shadows, she exists only as a myth to the enemies of the Dominion she serves.
Yet, despite her skill and cunning, Nova is about to uncover a conspiracy that will force her to question her deepest loyalties as well as her own identity. Ensnared in a bitter struggle between the Dominion and the rebel Koprulu Liberation Front, Nova will embark upon a perilous mission to uncover the frightening truth behind Project: Shadow Blade. Now, the dark path that Nova must tread threatens to not only change her forever – but upset the very balance of the galaxy.
The April 2004 edition of Official Xbox Magazine has Starcraft: Ghost on its front cover with a nicely drawn image of Nova targeting her Gauge Rifle at the enemy from the top of an elevated ledge. A second illustration is displayed at page 2. The artist, Niko Henrichon, drew this image with Manga influences—making its style seasoned and attractive to any Anime fan. The coloring of that cover looks really neat. If Blizzard ever considered licensing Nova to an Anime TV-series, this would be a hit.
The Starcraft: Ghost article is located within the Feature section at page 28 through 37. Something that smacked my face when reaching page 28 is the release date. The article says that Starcraft: Ghost will be released by Fall 2004. Bad Medicine, mon! The splash page screenshot, covering 2 pages , shows a cloaked Nova in stealth mode sneaking behind what seems to be a unit not seen before, an SCV in Civilian clothes. This guy has no armor and no helmet. All that is seen is his back as Nova sneaks behind him in silent-mode. You can see his pants, and boots. A communications headset and a baseball cap. He is just standing in front of a massive 8-feet heavy-armored SCV unit. The screenshot shows 2 SCVs loaded on docks, similar to how Goliaths were in docks when we , as Duran, played the Single Player mission infiltrating the Psi-Disruptor to kill Stukov.
The article is named 10 things you didn?t know about Blizzard?s Starcraft: Ghost! As Nova you are sent into a recon mission by Colonel Jackson Hauler, who recruited Nova in her youth. As the cover mission develops, you as Nova will start to discover the truth behind your mission as it unfolds through your mission objectives. A typical Blizzard conspiracy among factions of your Terran race.
The planets visited are Aiur, Char and Mar Sara. There is an installation at a planet similar to Jupiter with a dark spot. Each mission trains your skills in the mastering all of Nova?s features from stealth, psionic punch, Hyper-speed (Matrix-style), silent kills, cloaking among some of her skills. As missions progress and you move to Zerg and Protoss missions, things will get ugly for Nova. You will have to rely on all the skills you learned and practiced in the Terran mission. The Game AI seems to be pushed to the limits in the Protoss mission. The article says that Protoss possess a high intelligence and no matter Nova?s psionic powers, she is just a newbie to them. They master the Psionic energies like a pro. If you are spotted the Protoss will kick your ass with a waving of a finger.
10 Things you didn?t know
The Perdition Flamethrower will be available to you not very often and you need to use it wisely only against light armored units like the Civilian guard and other units you may encounter in the Terran Installation. It seems that Nova will find this Flame Thrower items abandoned through the decks. Therefore, they might not be available in other races missions. If you still have the Flame Thrower during the Protoss Mission, it will help you not. The heavy shields of the Protoss will protect them. By the time you get to do some harm, they will kill you.
Nihilistic has expanded Nova?s weaponry with an additional Energy-self-regenerating Pistol similar to those in Battlestar Galactica—yea that 70s Scifi show with Apollo and Starbuck. Since it self-replenishes energy briefly it has an unlimited supply of ammo. But don?t think this is the ultimate weapon. It is not lethal on all units. It might be used against light armored units and against Zerglings. The best use for this gun is to use it against cameras. This will allow you to save ammo for your rifle by using the Energy Pistol. A way to kill Zerglings is to use a nice feature of the Energy Pistol. By holding the Fire Button down for few seconds, it will load a massive concussion shot of energy. Knowing the background of some of the developers of Nihilistic who worked for LucasArt studios, I can tell you, this is similar to Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast and I love it. This is not the only similarity you will find with Jedi Outcast. Keep reading.
For first time we can view a screenshot of the hacking ability showing a new interface window that pops up from the left screen and takes about 25% of the screen. You can view in real time how zeros and ones digits(0 and 1) move around upwards and downwards; and some move horizontally. Some have colors: blue and red. You have to match this puzzle moving and swapping zeros and ones around to open locked doors. You can get back to that locked door at any time. Just watch it! The world doesn?t stop while you are decoding the Locked Door. You have to watch for any Guard patrolling the area. This adds a sense of adrenaline as you have to beat a timer when the binary window pops up in addition to external threats from Guards walking by. At the top of the interface I could see Press X to Review Instructions. This Help Feature is way handy for those who can?t figure out what to do with this bunch of zeros and ones. This hacking skill is something that Blizzard is refining.
An interesting twist to this interface is that each time that you miss one of those moving zeros and ones a progress bar named the Success Bar updates by lowering your chances to be successful in the decoding of the lock door password. Of course, by missing few ones and zeros your chances to open the door are lower since the countdown timer will give you away possibly with an intruder alert. You might quit and try later, giving you chance to complete the mission at any time. The benefits of opening this locked doors is that some are ammunition rooms where you can be rewarded with nice weapons and ammo. Not to mention, if you are low in Psi energy, some rooms with locked doors can give you a Psi-energy recharge item reward. A good idea would be to cloak before you start decoding a locked door. Guards will be patrolling and will come near your area.
This skill is sweet. Starcraft: Ghost is taking stealth kill to the next level when it comes to interface and interactivity. Stealth kills are called Silent Kills. When you sneak on a Guard on Stealth mode, Nova?s body starts crawling slowly moving through the floor almost flat. Her height is around 3 feet when she is performing this animation. As she gets near her target you should press the B button and a sequence of animations initiate. Nova will get on top of the guard?s shoulders. A new interface named Progress Bar divided in different sections which will indicate your movements. By pressing one of this choices you make Nova perform different animations to allow you to kill the guard. As you find heavier enemy, th
e amount of effort to kill them will r
equire you to keep making attack combos through many buttons combinations to render your opponent unconscious or eliminated. The tougher the guy the harder to kill, and the more button combos you need to perform to finish him off. The amount of animations will surely give us the chills as Nihilistic evolved interactivity in this game. A plus to this silent kill series of button combos and animations is that the progress bar indicates you how close to kill the guy you are. The longer it takes you, the progress bar keeps updating telling you how successful you are at this point. This is a cool interface feature. If the Progress Bar gets low you will only stun the guard briefly or annoy him.
A key element to avoid getting swarmed by Marines is to kill them from a higher ground. You have the ability to climb to higher spots and snipe your enemy from afar. Then hide away from the edge to keep off sight. When you find a tougher enemy in the Terran Installation, set off your spider mine. The spider mine looks like it sounds. It is a spider robot with metallic legs that walks through the floor silently. Your viewing field becomes that of the spider mine allowing you to guide it to its final target. The Official Xbox Magazine shows a small screenshot with a close up on the Spider mine as it walks its way towards the Marine.
Nihilistic has studied how to offer accessibility and at the same time add balance to the action and stealth to make newbies comfortable with the gameplay. Nova won?t be able to use stealth kills against Zerg units because of their high-density carapaces. The Terrans and Protoss will at this point offer Stealth kill animations with a progress bar. The whole Terran level is a boot camp training of your Stealth skill. Gunning your way through the installation will only cause you to be massacred as more enforcement units come to join the party. Stealth all the way because you are being trained for the true challenge . . . The Protoss. Basically try to master defense, offense and stealth when you play against the Terrans. It will prepare you to the nightmare you will face later on.
Jedi Force, ahem, Psi-recharge. The lovely LucasArt employees working at Nihilistic didn?t forget about us Jedi lovers. In Jedi Outcast, you could self-heal using Jedi Force, at the cost of leaving you vulnerable to enemies that attack you. In the case of Starcraft: Ghost, Nova in early missions she depends on her psionic skills to boost her physical performance. As she gains experience through missions, her psionic powers will evolve and develop further. A psionic bar did let you know that her psionic powers were depleting. You needed to let her recover psionic energy as the psionic meter increased. Nihilistic made changes to this. Nova no longer has to wait until the Psi energy bar replenishes. Psi energy is more interactive now. The player hits the D pad and holds it. As you hold the D pad, Nova?s Psi energy replenishes but at the same cost of Jedi Outcast. The animation will possibly make her show a concentration pose making her vulnerable to any approaching enemy behind her. She becomes vulnerable to attacks from afar if she is seen. The best and more secure way to replenish is to climb a wall to a higher spot, or crawling inside a crouching vent where she is off sight so that you are safe before pressing the D pad.
Fine you finished off your enemy with a series of interactive animations accomplished by button combos. Now what? A body laying down on the ground will just alert other patrolling guards that something is fishy. An intruder alert will be announced to the whole complex and you will be shortly overwhelmed by the swarm of marines from everywhere. This means, Nova needs to get rid of the corpses. Nova can drag a body toward a crouching vent near the wall on the floor, inside locked rooms or inside crates? Hmm. Aren?t those crates from Jedi Outcast. Hmm, my imagination I guess. You will find bottomless pit areas, conduits, recesses, and crouching vents where to get rid of a body.
A neat feature of Nova is that with a button you can search the body to get special power ups for health, Psi-balls, and ammo. Interesting in body search is that this ability also has a progress bar that gives you 8 seconds to find anything inside an enemy’s dead body. All this Progress Meter gives is a lapse of time that Nova is searching, before she can move away. If by any chance another guard is approaching, you should panic. Nova won?t be able to move away until the Body Search progress meter reaches 8 seconds. This adds more adrenaline and tension in the gameplay. Just make sure that no one is around before you press the button to initiate Body Search.
Ah! Genious Nihilistic team! What all players ever dreamed of. Gunplay isn?t just for standing. Some games restrict your shooting ability to a specific position. In Starcraft: Ghost, it doesn?t matter what position Nova is, she will shoot her heart out toward enemies. This feature is similar to when I used to play Tomb Raider II. Remember how Lara Croft used to shoot to anything no matter what acrobatic move she would do? Nihilistic pushed this feature to the edge and blew it past it. You will be able to shoot while hanging, jumping, grappling, dodging and while flipping around in acrobatic jumps.
These come pretty handy. You can also make Nova reach hidey holes on the ceiling, where she can hide and close the crouching vent door. You can find on the floor, close to the wall, some conduits and recesses, or crouching vents where to crawl and hide. A nice place to hit D pad to increase your Psi energy meter unseen and safe from lurking enemy units. Another nice place to hide are those Crates we are familiar with from Jedi Outcast. Some specially marked crates let you know they are unlocked. You can make Nova hide inside this crates(box) to rest and to increase her Psi energies. Or umm if you need a short break to visit the restroom, you could leave her while you attend your ummm Nature?s call. While inside one of this crates, you may use Nova?s Sight ability to look your surroundings for any heat signature through walls that may alert you of what you will find ahead from a safe point of view.
Nihilistic is making sure that the environment of Nova can be a tool for her to achieve her mission, giving you many options to beat the Terrans, Zerg and Protoss. Elevated spots keep you off sight and gives you a break to think. You can snipe units from this high spots and hide to remain unseen. There are plenty of ledges of different heights and platforms where Nova can grapple her way up or hang sideways. If you are familiar with Tomb Raider, Starcraft Ghost is your game.
If you are on one of this high platforms and guards are too close, look at your surroundings. Analyze your options and alternatives. Find marked crates or a crouching vent on the wall. Once you have found this options you can jump down and run to hide on one of them. From there you can initiate more strategies. Nova can take one Marine on her own by going on Stealth mode. But find 2 Marines, and you are in trouble. The Stealth Kill will give you out to the second Marine. Since the Silent Kill may take too long to eliminate the Marine, the second Marine might start shooting at you. The strategy is to hide and snipe from a safe place in the proper angle. Crates, high ledges, platforms and crouching vents are the perfect place for a strategic assault on 2 or more Marines.
There seems to be 2 types of Surveillance cameras. You can disable some with your Energy Pistol.
We recommend using the Energy Pistol on cameras to
safe ammo on the Gauge Rifle. The Energy Pistol doesn?t need ammo. It self-replenishes. The other type of camera can be disable only temporarily. It seems to auto-repair itself and can ?t be destroyed.
Those were the 10 things you didn?t know of Starcraft: Ghost. We recommend you to buy the Official Xbox Magazine for $9.99 to check out this 14 cool screenshots.
Something that needs mentioning is a nice and interesting feature never mentioned before. Nihilistic added a similar attribute of World of Warcraft. Reputation. It works a bit different in Ghost. It is called the Success meter. Somewhere in the interface is a bar that keeps track of how successful you were during the missions. At the end of the mission, Starcraft: Ghost mimics Starcraft?s Performance screen. The ranking system rates your performance based on the different factors and options you chose during the game. As example, if you noticed, most of this interactive animations where you control Nova?s movements through the use of button combos have a Progress meter. The hacking a locked door also has a progress meter. This meters along with other undetermined factors are used to calculate and rank your performance.
Nova?s Energy Pistol has the other neat advantage that is more silent than the Gauge Rifle. But if you hold the fire button too long, it will shoot a massive load of energy, similar to the standard energy gun of Jedi Oucast, which is louder and may alert the enemy that is nearby across the wall. This type of massive energy shots registers in the Computer AI as a Sound event. It will trigger a swarm of enemies toward Nova. As a better strategy, it is recommended by Blizzplanet that if you need to use one of this Energy shots by pressing the fire button for few seconds, you should first hand use the Sight ability to watch your surrounding in Heat energy mode. This way you can be sure there is no one nearby to hear the shot.
Nihilistic and Blizzard are still studying Xbox Live functionality. It is not ruled out yet to make Starcraft: Ghost a Multiplayer game. Keep your fingers crossed! If Multiplayer gets to be possible, you may expect nice downloadable goodies. Now that Xbox 2 might rely on some sort of ROM Sticks instead of a Hard drive, theoretically might be possible that we could download patches and additions or expansions for Multiplayer use. This last comment(in bold) is entirely my personal opinion and has not been confirmed by Blizzard/Nihilistic nor by Official Xbox Magazine. I didn’t quote word by word the article in Official Xbox magazine. Most of this review was based on observation of the abilities mentioned in the magazine.
Go order your copy of Official Xbox Magazine!
Starcraft: Ghost has the characteristics of Game of the Year 2004. It has the Blizzard seal. That is all we need to know to acknowledge it as a Must-have winner.
Many Guinness records in sales with games like Diablo II, which sold a million copies in less than 2 weeks of launch; Warcraft III and its expansion pack The Frozen Throne, with millions of copies sold; and Starcraft/Broodwar with some 5 millions copies sold; it is no blunder to assume that this game will shatter Splinter Cell and Max Payne, where it hurts; getting the spotlight.
Starcraft: Ghost already has a fan base of millions. Sum the millions of players that never played a Blizzard game and have seen this baby show up in so many reviews and you get the biggest hit on any console. People at Official X-Box Magazine forums already want the game and most have never played Starcraft (PC).
Blizzard Entertainment characterizes for studying and analyzing the success and failures of other game companies. As a team of Gamers themselves they find fixes and solutions to the mistakes made by game companies, and benefit from the feedback of their own development team(hardcore gamers) and from the feedback of fans through their Battle.net forums.
Starcraft: Ghost is unique in its genre made after a game with a deep and rich storyline. No wonder Starcraft is the number one sport in Korea with millions of fans playing everyday in Internet Cafes and World Tournaments with prizes up to $ 50,000. Tag Starcraft: Ghost as one of your favorites and sit and watch how this game reaches sales records within its first 2 weeks of sale. Some of Nihilistic employees were formerly employees of Blizzard that were involved in the creation of Starcraft in 1998. Nihilistic is well known also for the creation of Vampire: The Masquerade. This unholy merge of efforts of Blizzard Entertainment and Nihilistic Software, to bring Starcraft: Ghost to the console in full 3D, has made this game predestined to be a winner. Nuff’ Said!
Surge Magazine visited Blizzard Entertainment at Irvine to interview Game Producer John Lagrave and Director of Game Design Rob Pardo. The article gets a rundown of the history behind Starcraft: Ghost. Blizzard did never plan to abandon the Console market, but their success in the PC market sorta slowed them down. Nihilistic then came to Blizzard with a plan to create a FPS game. Blizzard saw Nihilistic as the opportunity to return to Consoles while they focus their efforts on World of Warcraft. Currently all Blizzard teams are busy. Blizzard North is working on an unannounced project. A second project of Blizzard North was canceled back in August due to the resignation of 30 Blizzard Employees. The remaining staff of the cancelled project was merged with the second team to keep working on one game.
The other Blizzard Team was working on Warcraft III and Frozen Throne, and the third team is focused on World of Warcraft. Nihilistic was sorta like a blessing for Blizzard who wished to return to the console market, but had no personnel to spare into a massive project like a console game. When Nihilistic visited Blizzard and proposed a Console game as a third-party team for Blizzard, they didn’t blink. They gave the go ahead and immediately John Lagrave and Rob Pardo offered support to keep the game as highly Blizzard quality as possible with a daily supervision on the work done by Nihilistic.
While Nihilistic works on 3D modeling, interface, weapons, and other areas … Blizzard supervises and offers collaborative effort with Rob Pardo and John Lagrave, creates the in-house Cinematics and most of the narrative sequences and voice actors.
Everything Nihilistic creates in the game has to be approved by Blizzard in a daily basis. Nihilistic currently consists of 20 employees, located in San Francisco. Blizzard also assist with artists developing models and environments to give it that feeling and look of a Starcraft Universe. Details like the burned soil of Mar Sara are testament to this. Mar Sara was one of the planets that the Protoss burned down from orbit to purify it of Zerg infection; which are details needed in the game to give a feeling of continuity and realism with the environments set in the Starcraft RTS universe.
Blizzard reveals that Starcraft: Ghost offers players navigation of 5 planets full of missions throwing you into desert, jungle, asteroid and molten environments. Lagrave warns that fighting against Protoss Purifiers isn’t piece of cake. Few seconds under the psionic raygun energy field and you are toast! This unit resembles what Firebats do with a flamethrower, although they shoot pure psionic energy blasts instead.
Psi powers are useful when you are discovered and need to make a safe retreat to make a kill before the guards alert others of our presence. Nova uses 4 types of Psi-powers:
Speed Power: Slows down enemies to a quarter of their speed, while Nova moves at a normal pace. Allowing her to run past the enemy’s fire reach and safely make a blow kill.
Cloak power: Cloaking renders Nova invisible, which comes handy when you need to walk past a bunch of guards or units. Of course, trying to kill all of the bunch might be too risky as few may run away out of your reach and trigger the alarm. Cloaking allows you to go past them without raising any alarms.
Sight power: It is a Predator-visor-like effect low-light vision enhancer that lets Nova perceive footprints, interactive control panels, enemies behind walls and weak points in enemy armor. Once her psi charge runs out Nova should hide into the shadows away from being discovered.
Blizzard revealed that there are 3 types of mines which are insect-like drones(robots): the Mantis Mine is a reconnaisance mine that crawls around undetected bypassing guards on the ground level. The Firefly Mine focuses on distracting your enemies. You can use Fireflies to lead the enemy to a ambush or to lead them away from your destination. The Spider Mine is a walking explosive device that can sneak up on the enemy and can burrow to remain undetected. Once the enemy is on top it kills the target.
Blizzard reveals that players have to navigate 23 levels through the game which may offer a minimum of 15 hours of gameplay. Check out Surge Magazine issue# 2(May Edition).