A StarCraft II mod, which aims to transform the game into a free-to-play MMO, has been posted on Kickstarter this week, with a proposed goal of $80,000.
Entitled StarCraft Universe, the mod is said to be completely free, with the necessary game files available in the free StarCraft II: Starter Edition. Zooming down from the RTS perspective of the original game, SCU instead adopts a classic third-person camera akin to World of Warcraft and other MMOs. The desire to create a game in the vein of WoW is clear, with the original concept named ‘World of StarCraft’. Other typical MMO features are also said to be present, such as persistent character and levelling systems, pets and multi-passenger vehicles which can be employed in combat, and the ability to craft items.
While the mod may not be a standalone release, the Kickstarter outlines a deep and polished design, with an original soundtrack by David Orr and full voice-acting by actors from fellow MMOs World of Warcraft and Heroes of Newerth, as well as the original StarCraft.
The development company behind the game, Upheaval Arts, was created by the lead developer Ryan ‘Kreation’ Winzen, creator of the original World of StarCraft mod several years ago. Winzen’s popularity as a developer was boosted back in 2011 when Blizzard offered him an invite to their HQ. Many believed the developer to be in hot water with the publisher, due to possible copyright issues, but Blizzard instead centred itself behind Winzen’s creation, offering him the chance to meet the dev team of the core game.
Further details of StarCraft Universe can be found on Kickstarter here, including the chance to download and play an alpha release of the mod.