In the halls of “What Could Have Been”, up there with titles like 2017’s Scalebound and the now-infamous Half-Life 2: Episode 3, Blizzard Entertainment’s Starcraft: Ghost features forefront in the memories and imaginations of gamers since its trailer dropped alongside the critical and commercial mega-hit, Reign of Chaos in 2002.
What would have been Blizzard’s first foray into the console platform became one of their more memorable and most disappointing moments. Now, after the cataclysmic flop of the remaster of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Blizzard is in the news again as fans are getting their hands, for the first time ever, on its long-dead near-mythic Third-Person Shooter.
Starcraft: Ghost was supposed to be Blizzard’s quantum leap into 3D action games in the same vein as Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid but it was not meant to be. The game was placed under ‘indefinite hold’ by Blizzard following delays, changes of direction, developers, and newer and evolving game platforms and competition from other games. Eventually and historically, Blizzard decided to can Starcraft: Ghost citing they would never release a game that wasn’t up to their near-perfect standard – a far cry from their most recent releases.
Now it seems that gamers have managed to obtain playable builds of the game on the original Xbox platform, and are using emulators to run them. Videos are springing up on Youtube showing brand-new footage, never before seen, of a game that was never released.
Although the game is visibly unfinished as Blizzard abandoned its development, a few missions are playable and the main character Nova leaps and hides and shoots her way past enemies that were last only seen in the top-down strategy game upon which Ghost is based.
As it stands now (or stood) it isn’t all that great, as many gamers may have imagined an all-time classic, and the game’s clumsy shooting mechanics, near-broken environment interaction and jagged animations leave a lot to be desired – it is perhaps finally evident why Blizzard decided to cut the game loose. Brief moments of Blizzard’s characteristic polish do shine through and one can’t help but wonder what could have been given more development time and focus.
After Blizzard axed Ghost, the company switched its focus on Starcraft’s sequel, which would prove to be a huge hit as well. Blizzard’s fans would have to wait until 2016 before they could actually buy a 3D action game from the company.
Engadget reports that this leak is a snapshot of Blizzard trying (and eventually failing) to diversify its gaming experiences at an important moment in the company’s history.
By Luis Monzon
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