Just when you think you’re never going to hear about a certain canceled game ever again, something totally unexpected happens and puts that ditched project back under the microscope. And today, we’ve got exactly that sort of story to share: over ten years on from Blizzard unceremoniously binning the game, we’ve had our best look yet at StarCraft: Ghost.
You’ll remember the StarCraft franchise, we expect. It kicked off way back in 1998 with the original StarCraft, a real-time strategy game with a sci-fi twist that spawned plenty of expansions and follow-ups as well as picking up a huge number of fans. The most recent release in the franchise was 2017’s StarCraft: Remastered, but even that glossy re-release wasn’t enough to stop fans thinking about the spinoff that could’ve been.
In 2001, you might recall, Blizzard began work on StarCraft: Ghost. A departure from the gameplay style of the mainline RTS experiences in the franchise, this would’ve been a third-person game with stealth elements and a fair bit of gunplay. It could’ve been a bold new direction for the StarCraft franchise, and Blizzard worked with both Nihilistic Software and Swingin’ Ape Studios to try and get StarCraft: Ghost off the ground.
Development went on for years, with gameplay and cinematics both being built. A tie-in novel was even written. But production slowly ground to a halt, and fans officially heard the news of the game’s cancellation in 2014. Polygon later reported that the halt on production actually happened in 2005, when StarCraft: Ghost was looking good on PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but the imminent launch of the Xbox 360 was apparently throwing a spanner into the works. It was also reported that Blizzard shifting focus over to World Of Warcraft was a major factor in the cancellation.
And now, in 2020, footage and stills from the game have found their way online. Here’s an example of some of the imagery that has been floating around, which includes menus, gameplay, and even the start screen…— Andrew Borman (@Borman18) February 16, 2020
It looks pretty cool, doesn’t it? Especially by the standards of the time. And, as if those pictures weren’t enough to get you lamenting the loss of this game that could’ve been great, here’s a video that contains actual gameplay footage from StarCraft: Ghost…
Alas, the chances of us ever getting to play this now seem pretty slim, even though a belated release of the game could earn Blizzard some always-welcome goodwill with fans. We know better than to try and predict the news cycle, so if we do hear any more about StarCraft: Ghost, we’ll be sure to let you know.