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Starcraft:Ghost!!!

Old 09-21-02, 01:49 PM
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StarCraft: Ghost Impressions
More details from a good long look at Blizzard's adventure.
http://cube.ign.com/articles/371/371781p1.html

September 21, 2002 - Starcraft: Ghost is quite initially impressive, but as always, it takes some time to appreciate all the little details in a game of this sort. Luckily, we were able to sit down with some of the game's developers from Blizzard and Nihilistic today, who walked us through the trailer and demo level pointing out some of the features we missed at first glance. There's a lot to see there, and it also holds the promise of a lot more once the game progresses further in development.
The current demo level, which we discussed yesterday, is based on a small-scale, interior mission -- there's none of the large-scale combat other areas of the game will contain. In a few blink-and-you'll-miss-it sections of the trailer, though, the outdoor environments dwarf the characters with their scale. There's one very neat moment based on the opening movie to the Brood War expansion, where a Terran Battlecruiser hovers above a rain-soaked battle. Light shines through the mist and particle effects, and the sense of scale is great. Adapting the vehicle and character designs for Ghost is one of the more interesting aspects of its development, the developers say. A massive unit in an RTS game is still small in comparison to what's presented on the screen at any given time, but from Ghost's perspective, the larger units in the game are suddenly much, much bigger.

That also goes for the very end of the demo level, not shown yesterday, where Nova comes upon a gigantic Zerg Ultralisk. He's definitely a mean one, with his giant feet and curving tusks. Other returning favorites include Protoss Zealots and Terran Goliaths, which also create a cool new impression from this game's perspective -- it's a testament to the quality of the character design that the universe is built on. We're told that, along with the original designs, Blizzard plans to carry over the other qualities that made the Starcraft characters so personable, including the original voice quips from favorites like the Terran Wraith pilots.

There are also new units to spot here and there in the trailer, from all of the different races. The Terrans now have a light infantry unit, quicker than the Marines, for assignments like interior guard duty. He's more of a security guard than a soldier, with minimal armor, short-range weaponry, and a very funny rent-a-cop swagger. On the Protoss side, there's an as-yet-unnamed ranged unit, looking a bit like a Zealot with a massive lightning gun, while the Zerg spawning pools are producing newer and more unpleasant variations on the [insert prefix here]-lisk theme.

The enemy behavior is to be guided by complex artificial intelligence. One of the developers' goals is to give the AI characters several different shades of behavior, rather than a sort of on-off switch between dormancy and violence. The radar inset map has indicators for several levels of alertness on their parts -- depending on how a particular enemy is feeling at a given time, their cone of vision will be filled to a varying level with a different color. Sights and sounds raise or lower that alertness, which in turn inspires different actions. Marines, for example, might merely prick up their ears, perhaps casually investigate, or seal their armor and get ready for a fight if the threat seems significant enough.

When a fight starts, it looks like that theme of variety continues -- the versatility of the enemy design shows up in more sustained encounters. Spend some time fighting a Hydralisk, for example, and they display multiple offensive and defensive abilities. They can charge in and attack with their claws and teeth, back off to spit venom, or pull back in a defensive posture and block Nova's attacks with their carapace. Thus, there are more than a few different ways to deal with an enemy depending on their behavior. When the Zerg charge in, it's no problem to meet them head-on with the rifle or hand-to-hand attacks, perhaps mixing that up with some dodge maneuvers (which are easy to perform while locked on to an opponent) but the flamethrower is best for cracking through their defensive postures. The Marines have some interesting vulnerabilities, meanwhile -- the best way to take them out is to snipe them through their open faceplates. For the extremely sneaky, there are also Tenchu-style hand-to-hand stealth kills, shown in one brief moment of the trailer.

As mentioned before, the character animation is a little inconsistent at times. That's being polished, though -- Blizzard aims to give Nova as dynamic a physical attitude as possible, with a wide variety of acrobatic dodge maneuvers (double jumps, backflips, diving rolls) and different means of getting around areas. The level designs break up stretches of walking around corridors with long vertical sections, deep ladder wells, tightropes, zip-lines, hand-over-hand traverses, and other areas requiring special movement abilities -- it's a showcase for the animation, certainly, but more than that, it gives the gameplay experience some variety even when you're just moving from point A to point B. Different ways of moving around an area also have potential consequences for strategy. Nova can quickly slide down ladders, for example, like the SEALs in SOCOM, but that makes just a little bit more noise when she lands, and committing to a quick descent may also cause trouble if an enemy happens to walk around a corner while she's sliding.

Different physical abilities of that sort are matched by a variety of weapons, equipment, and other toys. The graphical user interface includes some cues from the Metal Gear games, but it uses the D-pad on all three platforms to navigate through Nova's inventory, rather than involving the shoulder buttons. The vertical directions swap between weapons, from her sword through the Gauss rifle and flamethrower, while the horizontal buttons go through the icons representing special abilities. Psychic powers and other abilities granted by the Hostile Environment Suit are all grouped together, making it easier to select between them. The inventory interface actually remains much the same even when Nova is zoomed in on a target in sniper mode, and she can use some powers in that situation, like Hyperspeed and Sight. The Sight power should be particularly useful in conjunction with the zoom view, allowing the player to see through walls at long range, while the Cloak power is fun for sniping Marines from six feet away.

In addition to the basic hand-held weapons, Nova has a few throw-away items to clear away large numbers of enemies at once. Perhaps the coolest weapon in the demo is a sort of smart-shrapnel frag grenade, which releases a barrage of glowing fragments that individually seek out opponents. Combine that with a touch of the Hyperspeed skill and you get a very cool showcase of special effects -- the explosions and lighting effects go off in slow motion while the shrapnel bits leave long light-trails behind them.

The game is visually impressive on both Xbox and Gamecube (we saw the former yesterday and the latter today -- no PS2 version on display as yet), with very little to mark one version as superior. The Xbox version may have just slightly nicer textures in a few spots, but it's further along in development, with extra interface features that haven't been implemented in the GCN version yet. In either case, the environments are definitely touched with that odd StarCraft mix of dark future and dry humor. The Marine base has several in-jokes and other bits of architecture designed to add personality, like a rec-room with arcade games and weird warning signs on the walls. Most of them are references to "misting," the means by which the Marines vent their suits' sanitation systems -- you can probably come up with the punch lines on your own.

The scatological asides may not be to everyone's taste, but the variety of interactive objects is definitely appreciated. A messy battle can leave broken furniture strewn all over the place. The behavior of the character models in relation to the environment also provides some interesting surprises now and again, thanks to the rag-doll effect employed when they check out. Apparently, the collision detection is detailed enough for bodies to actually fold or crumple and fall down holes, providing they land at just the right angle. Incidentally, the question of whether Nova must hide her kills hasn't yet been resolved, although that does inspire an amusing image -- having to drag a dead Hydralisk and shut it in a locker.

Fans of Blizzard's past work will probably be asking "why?" for some time regarding Ghost. It's certainly a major departure for the developer, heading back to console games and into a new and complex genre. VP Bill Roper pointed out, however, that the company's past successes are what gives it the opportunity to branch out into something different with a project like this. After all, Starcraft II would certainly be a big seller, but it's not as if Blizzard is hurting for a sure-fire hit. For our part, we're glad to see the console market receiving the attention of the talents involved in this game, and look forward to spending more time with it soon.
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Old 09-21-02, 02:03 PM
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wow, sounds awsome. It sounds like you actually have to fight some of the other terrans if you are sniping through their faceplates. Sounds like this will be a deep game that will take some time to beat and then it should have replay value. I can't wait. I might have to buy an xbox before this comes out so I can get the best graphics for it. Can't wait to see a hydralisk headed straight for me. Hand to hand combat will be fun against the enemy here.
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Old 09-22-02, 12:53 AM
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"nuclear launch detected!" thats what I think of when I think of ghost and starcraft 'cause I'm always on the receiving end of it....
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Old 09-22-02, 10:21 AM
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Starcraft:Ghost!!!

Attention! I saw a video of Starcraft Ghost. It's Blizzards new 3rd person adventure game. All I can say is OH MY SWEET GOD!!! This was announced at the Tokyo Game Show, the only people who saw it in the US were in Dallas at the Gamestop store managers' conference. Call your local Gamestop, talk to the store manager if you don't believe me.
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Old 09-22-02, 11:27 AM
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Sounds great.. I just hope its not a GameCube only release...
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Old 09-22-02, 12:11 PM
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Originally posted by Vryce
Sounds great.. I just hope its not a GameCube only release...
It was demoed on the Xbox at the Tokyo Game Show. It was also seen running on the Gamecube the following day. Still no sign of a PS2 version, yet. That could bode well for the Xbox and Gamecube versions if the developers don't have to code for the lowest common denominator.
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Old 09-22-02, 12:44 PM
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Yeah, if anything since they are demoing it on xbox and there isn't much difference between xbox and gamecubes version then the xbox is probably the one they are building it on and then transfering the work to gamecube. Perhaps they will pass up the PS2 all together.
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Old 10-26-02, 08:52 PM
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Looks like the trailer is up...

http://gamespot.com/gamespot/filters...562237,00.html

I'll post again when I see it.

(Sorry if this has been seen before, this is the first time I've heard of it so I assume that it was just released.)
 
Old 10-26-02, 09:12 PM
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Okay, I just saw it. It looks pretty cool, but it says it will come out in 2003. I checked Flay's thread earlier today and I'm pretty sure it said 11/18/02 or somewhere around there. Did it get pushed back?

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Old 10-26-02, 10:37 PM
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Originally posted by Shawn
Okay, I just saw it. It looks pretty cool, but it says it will come out in 2003. I checked Flay's thread earlier today and I'm pretty sure it said 11/18/02 or somewhere around there. Did it get pushed back?

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The game was never set for this year.
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Old 10-26-02, 11:30 PM
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Originally posted by tha_dvd_man
The game was never set for this year.
Ohhh, my mistake. Flay's thread shows it being out 11/18/03! That's a lot longer than I thought I would have to wait, but hopefully it will be worth it.
 
Old 10-27-02, 01:10 AM
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This looks to be Blizzards version of C&C renegade.

I don't have high hopes for this. Renegade failed for a reason, so will this. why not stick to the type of games the company is used to and good at doing.
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Old 10-27-02, 01:22 AM
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Originally posted by Jackskeleton
This looks to be Blizzards version of C&C renegade.

I don't have high hopes for this. Renegade failed for a reason, so will this. why not stick to the type of games the company is used to and good at doing.
What kind of logic is that? Because Westwood makes some shooter game that turned out average, that means Blizzard venturing into the stealth/tactical-shooter genre will turn out a crap game? Doesn't make much sense to me.

Besides, the game isn't even being developed by Blizzard. It's being made by Nihilistic.
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Old 10-27-02, 02:43 AM
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yeah and Ghost in mostly in 3rd person as opposed the
1st view in Renegade
gameplay in Ghost actually looks like Splinter Cell if u ask me
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