USG Notebook: The Spectre of StarCraft: Ghost Haunts Its Leaked Build

USG Notebook: The Spectre of StarCraft: Ghost Haunts Its Leaked Build

Seeing the game playable again is a good time to reflect on the strife that bore it.

USG Notebook is a weekly column dedicated to rounding up rumors, tidbits, and commentary that didn't get full coverage on the site.

There are few ghosts like StarCraft: Ghost in the games industry. The third-person shooter meant to expand the world of Blizzard's sci-fi universe disappeared into the ether years ago, with only memories and a few screenshots to remember it by.

Until, at least, this last week when a playable build reportedly leaked online. While I don't have the Xbox dev kit to verify the files, several people do, and have even posted gameplay of the supposed leaked build.

Ghost was, for years, one of Blizzard's biggest missing success stories. What started as a partnership with Nihilistic Software gradually fell apart, as a 2016 Polygon report detailed.. Blizzard and the team couldn't agree on what StarCraft: Ghost should be. It would later be given to Swingin' Ape, the studio behind 2003's Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, where it transitioned from a stealth game into more of an action game.

Despite reportedly positive reception at BlizzCon 2005, it was caught between two major shifts in the industry. Blizzard had just put out World of Warcraft, and the console generation was moving onto the Xbox 360 era.

Now, we get a rare chance to see what StarCraft: Ghost is—or was—before it was put on the shelf. From the footage alone, it's a relic of the time.

We can only extrapolate whether it would have thrived, though we know now that this isn't the first time a StarCraft spinoff never saw the light of day. In June 2019, Kotaku reported that a StarCraft FPS codenamed "Ares" had been canceled. Hopefully someday, something will finally work out for StarCraft.

From the Rumor Mill

  • With the announcement of tomorrow's Animal Crossing-focused Nintendo Direct, this week's rumor mill is blessedly light. At least, until the day after, when fans start craving another Direct.
  • Devil May Cry voice actor Brian Hanford put up a tweet possibly teasing a new Capcom Vs. game. He later posted an update saying he has no knowledge of any new Vs. game on the way. Now I'm really demotivated.
  • The file size on Final Fantasy 7 Remake is looking pretty titanic at supposedly whopping 100 GB. Time to finally clear off the hard drives.

News and Tidbits

More games are finally coming to Google Stadia, including Panzer Dragoon when it launches. The cloud gaming service has already had a fairly lackluster start to the year, but maybe some confirmation of more games arriving on Stadia in the near future can drum up some enthusiasm.

Diablo and Overwatch are reportedly set to get an animated series, the former through Netflix, judging by Activision Blizzard Studios co-president Nick van Dyk's LinkedIn profile. Van Dyk formerly worked as executive producer on Skylanders Academy, and now is apparently filling a similar role on an "anime style" adaptation of Diablo. If it's anything like Netflix's Castlevania, I'm on board.

Previously known as Cooking Mama: Coming Home to Mama, a new Cooking Mama game called Cooking Mama: Cookstar is reportedly coming to the Nintendo Switch next month, according to a leaked trailer. It appears the focus is on Mama becoming an Instagram food celebrity, which is exactly the kind of modern twist I didn't know I needed. Please give me extra points for not using any filters and properly hashtagging.

Industry Chatter

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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