Starcraft: Ghost uncloaked

Blizzard and Nihilistic Software reveal their tactical action game--only for consoles.

Last week, Blizzard Entertainment 2879748announced its intention to unveil its next project at the 2002 Tokyo Game Show. Today, that project was revealed to be Starcraft: Ghost, a tactical action game being developed for the current crop of gaming consoles. Clearly, Starcraft: Ghost is a departure from its namesake, Blizzard's extremely successful 1998 real-time strategy game for the PC and Macintosh. Though a version of Starcraft was produced for the Nintendo 64 console, Starcraft: Ghost marks Blizzard's first dedicated foray into console gaming in many years.

Fans of Starcraft will immediately guess that the "Ghost" part of the title refers to the real-time strategy game's ghost units, psionic covert operatives armed with high-powered rifles and personal cloaking fields. In the real-time strategy game, ghosts also have the ability to disable mechanical units and call in tactical nuclear strikes. These and many other abilities will figure prominently into the forthcoming action game.

In Starcraft: Ghost, players will assume the role of Nova, a young but highly trained ghost operative who looks much like Starcraft's Sarah Kerrigan. Nova will have numerous abilities, like being able to move about at sonic speeds, use her cloaking field to infiltrate heavily defended areas, and use her lock down ability to disable electronics. The gameplay will emphasize the ghost's role as a reconnaissance unit, allowing players to designate targets for large-scale Terran strikes from battlecruisers and siege tanks--vehicles that should be instantly familiar to Starcraft players. In addition to her special abilities, Nova will be able to wield the ghost's C-10 canister rifle, the marine's gauss rifle, the firebat's perdition flamethrower, and more.

Nova will be a highly mobile character, capable of scaling fences, walking across tightropes, hanging from wires, and more. Her "hostile environment suit" will allow her to sustain more damage than a human normally could, as well as perform superhuman feats of strength and agility. She'll come face-to-face with Terran, Zerg, and Protoss units during the course of the game, and she'll play what Blizzard is calling "a crucial role in the rich Starcraft history."

Blizzard has made no mention of whether Starcraft: Ghost will have any multiplayer features, but it promises that the mission-based single-player mode will have an engaging, suspenseful story. Of further note, the company has not specifically disclosed exactly which gaming platforms Starcraft: Ghost will appear on--although it can be assumed that PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube versions will be developed. However, Blizzard has specifically stated that PC and Macintosh versions of Starcraft: Ghost will not be developed.

Starcraft: Ghost is being developed jointly by Blizzard Entertainment and Nihilistic Software, best known for its 2000 action role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption. The game is slated for release in late 2003 and will be distributed in Japan by Capcom, rather than by Vivendi Universal, Blizzard's parent company, which isn't surprising, considering the fact that the two companies have something of a longstanding relationship--Capcom published Blizzard's last PC games, Warcraft III and Diablo II, in Japan for the PC. Blizzard expects that Starcraft: Ghost will earn a Teen rating from the ESRB.

For more details, read our 2880893first impressions of the game--straight from Blizzard's press event in Tokyo--and take a look at the first batch of artwork from the game.

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