Nihilistic Software has "completed its contribution" to Blizzard's StarCraft: Ghost, the developer confirmed in a statement this week, adding that the decision to withdraw was partly on account of the game's latest delay, and partly due to contractual obligations elsewhere.
Nihilistic, erstwhile developer of Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption, had been responsible for the tech and much of the artwork and design that went into Ghost. Interestingly, the wording of the statement suggests that the latest delay contributed to the firm's decision to withdraw. Perhaps the delay will be even greater now as a result.
"Nihilistic has completed its contribution on StarCraft: Ghost," the firm told US games website Home LAN Fed. "They are contracted to begin work on another project in the months ahead. Due to the requirements of that obligation and the delay of StarCraft, it was mutually determined that now would be the best time for them to complete their work."
Since its announcement at the Tokyo Game Show in 2002, StarCraft: Ghost, whilst impressing on several occasions during carefully choreographed press photocalls, has been beset by problems, largely due to personnel changes and this sort of unfortunate state of affairs.
Bill Roper, widely regarded as one of the chief visionaries behind Ghost, left Blizzard recently to found Flagship Studios, whilst producer Chris and his brother Ron Millar left and have now found their way to Lionhead Studios here in the UK.
Last Friday, Blizzard announced that Ghost had been delayed "to expand and evolve the design," but added that it remained "committed to StarCraft: Ghost as a major part of [its] line-up". Although we sincerely hope that the game delivers on its obvious promise, we do fear that its increasingly protracted development and the unfortunate circumstances that seem to be swarming around could conspire to ruin its chances - as they have done so for so many before.
Expect to hear more on Ghost towards the end of the year.