Surge Magazine visited Blizzard Entertainment at Irvine to interview Game Producer John Lagrave and Director of Game Design Rob Pardo. The article gets a rundown of the history behind Starcraft: Ghost. Blizzard did never plan to abandon the Console market, but their success in the PC market sorta slowed them down. Nihilistic then came to Blizzard with a plan to create a FPS game. Blizzard saw Nihilistic as the opportunity to return to Consoles while they focus their efforts on World of Warcraft. Currently all Blizzard teams are busy. Blizzard North is working on an unannounced project. A second project of Blizzard North was canceled back in August due to the resignation of 30 Blizzard Employees. The remaining staff of the cancelled project was merged with the second team to keep working on one game.
The other Blizzard Team was working on Warcraft III and Frozen Throne, and the third team is focused on World of Warcraft. Nihilistic was sorta like a blessing for Blizzard who wished to return to the console market, but had no personnel to spare into a massive project like a console game. When Nihilistic visited Blizzard and proposed a Console game as a third-party team for Blizzard, they didn’t blink. They gave the go ahead and immediately John Lagrave and Rob Pardo offered support to keep the game as highly Blizzard quality as possible with a daily supervision on the work done by Nihilistic.
While Nihilistic works on 3D modeling, interface, weapons, and other areas ... Blizzard supervises and offers collaborative effort with Rob Pardo and John Lagrave, creates the in-house Cinematics and most of the narrative sequences and voice actors.
Everything Nihilistic creates in the game has to be approved by Blizzard in a daily basis. Nihilistic currently consists of 20 employees, located in San Francisco. Blizzard also assist with artists developing models and environments to give it that feeling and look of a Starcraft Universe. Details like the burned soil of Mar Sara are testament to this. Mar Sara was one of the planets that the Protoss burned down from orbit to purify it of Zerg infection; which are details needed in the game to give a feeling of continuity and realism with the environments set in the Starcraft RTS universe.
Blizzard reveals that Starcraft: Ghost offers players navigation of 5 planets full of missions throwing you into desert, jungle, asteroid and molten environments. Lagrave warns that fighting against Protoss Purifiers isn’t piece of cake. Few seconds under the psionic raygun energy field and you are toast! This unit resembles what Firebats do with a flamethrower, although they shoot pure psionic energy blasts instead.
Psi powers are useful when you are discovered and need to make a safe retreat to make a kill before the guards alert others of our presence. Nova uses 4 types of Psi-powers:
Speed Power: Slows down enemies to a quarter of their speed, while Nova moves at a normal pace. Allowing her to run past the enemy’s fire reach and safely make a blow kill.
Cloak power: Cloaking renders Nova invisible, which comes handy when you need to walk past a bunch of guards or units. Of course, trying to kill all of the bunch might be too risky as few may run away out of your reach and trigger the alarm. Cloaking allows you to go past them without raising any alarms.
Sight power: It is a Predator-visor-like effect low-light vision enhancer that lets Nova perceive footprints, interactive control panels, enemies behind walls and weak points in enemy armor. Once her psi charge runs out Nova should hide into the shadows away from being discovered.
Blizzard revealed that there are 3 types of mines which are insect-like drones(robots): the Mantis Mine is a reconnaisance mine that crawls around undetected bypassing guards on the ground level. The Firefly Mine focuses on distracting your enemies. You can use Fireflies to lead the enemy to a ambush or to lead them away from your destination. The Spider Mine is a walking explosive device that can sneak up on the enemy and can burrow to remain undetected. Once the enemy is on top it kills the target.
Blizzard reveals that players have to navigate 23 levels through the game which may offer a minimum of 15 hours of gameplay. Check out Surge Magazine issue# 2(May Edition).