I’m not sure what’s more unbelievable. A fan made Starcraft MMO mod making its way onto Kickstarter, the fact that Blizzard is actually letting them do it, or that it actually looks like it has a chance at succeeding.
Starcraft Universe knows what it is. It isn’t a AAA next-gen MMO, it’s a mod for Starcraft 2, but we’ve seen what a good mod can lead to. Like many other recent MMOs, Starcraft Universe will have players moving around in third person with a limited action bar of abilities. The game is also currently limited to 6 players per mod instance due to Starcraft 2 party size limitations.
But beyond those differences it does indeed share similarities to the RPG portion of an MMORPG, notably level and item progression. When players first join they can choose from multiple classes within the Terran and Protoss races, with Zerg unlocked if the project reaches its first stretch goal. Promises of vehicular combat, custom models, a unique storyline set in an alternative Starcraft universe, professional voice acting and an original soundtrack all make for a compelling argument in favor of the mod.
Upheaval is asking 80,000 to complete Starcraft Universe and will release it free for everyone. The funds will help pay for the continued development of new assets and Upheaval has included a graph to break down what money goes where. Blizzard has already gave Upheaval the greenlight to continue development, which means it’s all up to the gaming community to decide whether or not they want a Starcraft MMO in this form. Luckily for Upheaval, the team has already shown a lot of progress on the game over the last two years of development. They created quite a bit of buzz while doing so and have gained a large fanbase because of it.
A demo of the single-player beta is available now and will let you explore the game’s prologue. Should the game be completed all that will be required to play is the free starter edition of Starcraft 2, making Starcraft Universe completely F2P. Upheaval doesn’t intend to make money off of Starcraft Universe which is probably why Blizzard let them complete the project in the first place.
More details can be found on the Starcraft Universe Kickstarter page. I can’t help but feel the mod is a little too ambitious given the medium. Eighty grand seems like very little to develop an MMO, but at the same time quite a lot to develop a mod for Starcraft 2. I must say my feelings about the matter are conflicted. What about you?