The Starcraft Conundrum
Starcraft is by far the Best RTS game of all time – with over 9 millions copies sold worldwide, since 1998. A Real-time-strategy game that has lived on for eight years straight without any sign of weakening. The game still devotes many worldwide Starcraft tournaments year-round with prizes ranging $25,000-$100,000. Almost a national sport in Korea, and a most played game in many nations around the world.
The Starcraft franchise was expanded when Blizzard Entertainment announced with a lot of hype the console game Starcraft: Ghost, on September 22, 2002. For four long years, every Starcraft fan has awaited this game with anticipation. The game originally was developed by Nihilistic Software and Blizzard Entertainment. The development cycle was extended when the expected Summer 2004 game release date was delayed. On 2004, Nihilistic departed the project due to a contractual commitment to develop Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.
Shortly after, Swingin’Ape Studios was welcomed aboard to resume development of Starcraft:Ghost [July 8, 2004], however, the development of the Gamecube version of Starcraft: Ghost was dropped. A year later, Blizzard Entertainment surprised us with the acquisition of Swingin’ Ape Studios to become Blizzard Consoles Department [May 16, 2005]. When everyone thought Starcraft: Ghost was about to be released, the worst nightmare of any fan happened after Microsoft released the first Community Technology preview version of XNA [March 14, 2006]; and announced XNA officially at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California [on March 24]. That very same day, Blizzard Entertainment issued a Press Release … Starcraft: Ghost was postponed indefinitely. This immediately rose up the idea that the XNA announcement and the postponement of Starcraft: Ghost were related. That, and some rumors around the net that Blizzard had acquired 1,000 optetron servers. Here you may read what XNA Technology does, to make sense out of this.
Many fans refuse to accept the game is dead, like known-vaporware Warcraft Adventures. Blizzard has announced plans to develop games for Xbox 360 and PS3, and a recent job opening requested knowledge of Wii a plus. Whether Starcraft: Ghost will be ported to the next generation consoles is yet to be seen as there is no official announcement. We will just have to sit and await its outcome.
After a four-year wait on a hyped-game that didn’t come out, fans are bummed out for the long wait, and others – like me – for spending some money in advance [/Hijacks thread: Yea, I am still pissed over spending $99.99 on a GameCube and $299 on a huge TV exclusively to play Starcraft: Ghost, to have it cancelled two weeks before its announced Spring 2004 release date!]. Returning to sanity … minus some $400 bucks in my pocket … and after a couple of yoga-meditation humming, we may still look forward to see the game return from its hiatus. In the meantime, old-school Starcraft fans still have a couple of interesting and significant pocketbooks to take a look at for its lore and emotional value: Starcraft: Queen of Blades by Aaron Rosenberg – based during the time Sarah Kerrigan is captured by the Zerg, and emerges from a chrysallis as the Queen of Blades. The book released on May 2006 immerse us into the culture of the Dark Templar when Tassadar undergoes training with Zeratul. Other cameo appearances in the book are Jim Raynor, General Duke, Daggoth, Zazz and the Overmind among others. Another pocketbook to be released at an undermined date is the prequel to the console game, titled Starcraft Ghost: Nova by Keith R.A. DeCandido. Personally, my hope in the Starcraft franchise is not dead yet. Yea, call me a masochist … but the dream still lives on.
This might be still unknown to the majority of the fans, but Christie Golden – writer of Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, and author of many Star Trek novels—specially the Voyager series—will write a Starcraft Trilogy. With both books mentioned above and a trilogy coming out, this gotta mean something is planned down the pipe by Blizzard Entertainment in the near future. The title and plot of the Starcraft trilogy pocketbook is still unknown. However, Christie Golden promised an interview with us around November, when she will be able to talk more openly about the trilogy.
Beyond the books, a starcraft lore boost thriller and a hope that Starcraft: Ghost makes a return on Next Generation consoles – though uncertain, all we have are fan-made projects to satiate our crave for more Starcraft groove. First, we have the Project Revolution – a Total Conversion that will allow fans to play Starcraft in 3D using the Warcraft 3 Engine. It will be featured on PCGamer Magazine on September 2006 issue. A total conversion made by fans for fans, worth to get our paws onto. I was shown a short gameplay video a couple months ago. Trust me … it looks gorgeous in 3D. The date release of the total conversion Project Revolution is not too far away, according to one of its developers. Wait and see!
The second fan-made Starcraft project to keep an eye on is Starcraft? Chronicles – a high-quality CGI Film. The news of a unofficial fan-made CGI Animation Film surely hyped up many fans when Joystiq and Kotaku featured it on the news. Immediately the leader of the project was swamped with 160 emails of 3D modellers, animators, voice actors, Sound/Music Composers volunteering themselves for the CGI Film. Even Hollywood film/CGI professionals became interested, and excited in volunteering to make their dream of a fan-made CGI Animation film a reality. From day one, the Starcraft Chronicles leader- Croatian Kristijan Stuhli – said the film will be non-profit and none of the volunteers will be paid – to not violate the EULA or infringe international copyrights and trademark of Starcraft?.
That really didn’t mattered to some experienced and professionals that have been fans of Starcraft since 1998. The possibility of creating something like this as a fan-made project, is exciting to them. With the boom of World of Warcraft machinima movie contests; and the rise of fan-made World of Warcraft drama movies flooding YouTube, and Video Google; the development of a fan-made Starcraft CGI Animation film simply rocks. Recruitment of 3D modellers, animators and voice actors is still open until August 14. The number and limit of volunteer fans Kristijan Stuhli (known as Critical.Mechanism) expects is still undisclosed. Suffice to say, it will be an enormous fan team. The Starcraft Chronicles team is currently getting acquainted with each other, sharing samples of their work, doing some Starcraft models for testing purposes to see what everyone’s style and quality is before organizing into sub-groups and assigning supervisors and a project manager. This will be resolved in two weeks when development of the CGI film will officially begin full thrust. Currently there are 32 modellers, and around 12 animators, not counting many Concept artists, sound/music composers, voice actors, web developers, and localization volunteers. If you got the skills, talent, and experience as 3D modeller join up the team.—Stay tuned for more updates in the upcoming days. Beneath you may take a sneak peek to the samples of the talented Starcraft Chronicles team to have a slight idea of the CGI film potential. For more images—[Full Gallery]
*Concept Art is copyright ?2002 Blizzard Entertainment
Aeres is a 3D Modeler and Animator from Malaysa
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