I don’t just like StarCraft, I love StarCraft. I’ve written thousands upon thousands of words about my love of StarCraft. It’s perhaps my favorite game of all time. Its real-time strategy mechanics are brilliant in their perfect balance. It’s an esport with endless depth but that makes sense to watch. It makes my eyes bleed but I don’t care.

As such a big StarCraft fan it’s a little hard not to feel like black sheep when it comes to Blizzard’s attention. After the original PC game and Brood War expansion, we had to wait like a decade for the StarCraft II trilogy to begin. And while I loved those games too, by the end it was hard not to get depressed at how inferior MOBAs were clearly the future for this genre. Meanwhile, the future for Blizzard was clearly Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch… and layoffs.

That’s why I feel especially haunted by this recent leak of StarCraft: Ghost.

In the early 2000s Blizzard planned to take the extensive military sci-fi lore of StarCraft and expand it beyond niche PC strategy games. StarCraft: Ghost was to be a first-person shooter on the Xbox, Gamecube, and PlayStation 2 where players shot Zerglings up close and personal instead of clicking on them with a mouse. However, after churning through multiple developers, the game quietly disappeared. Meanwhile, the heroine Nova had her exploits adapted into a book and later folded into StarCraft II DLC missions.

However, over the weekend an unfinished yet playable build of StarCraft: Ghost for Xbox leaked onto shadier corners of games preservation internet. Multiple hackers are posting videos of themselves going through missions, until Blizzard takes them down or the build itself crashes. It all feels appropriate for such an undead game. So check out what StarCraft: Ghost might have been before its spirit departs yet again.

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