Click to viewA YouTube takedown and a call from a top lawyer for a major games publisher notwithstanding, what happened this week to the programmer leading a fan-made StarCraft role-playing game must be the secret hope of many a modder.
"World of StarCraft," led by modder Ryan Winzell, will not be shut down by Activision Blizzard, as many had feared when YouTube, acting on a copyright claim by the company, removed a video (above) of the mod earlier this week. The spacefaring MMO is unlikely to continue under that name, however, but Winzell apparently can live with that.
Longer-term, Winzell has been invited to visit Blizzard's campus to meet the StarCraft II development team, Winzell also fielded an invitation from the maker of the MMO League of Legends to apply for a job at that studio.
"It was never our intention to stop development on the mod," Blizzard said in a statement this afternoon. But, "with the name so closely resembling that of World of Warcraft, we wanted to discuss the title of the mod with the developer, and as part of our routine procedure, we contacted YouTube to request the video be removed while that discussion took place.
"We were also curious about the project and wanted to discuss with the developer what the mod entailed," Blizzard said.
Winzell confirmed this in a post on the World of StarCraft forums earlier today, saying he was contacted by an Activision lawyer yesterday. The name "World of StarCraft" is evidently a nonstarter, one clearly falling under the trademark owned by Activision.
However, "I'm trying to work with him to get the name Starcraft Universe," Winzell wrote, "or Starcraft Chronicles. I am fully respectful of Blizzard's Intellectual property, and they do in fact own a copyright on 'World of Starcraft' and have every right to do what they did." For its part, Blizzard said that it is "looking forward to seeing the continued development of this mod."
That's if Winzell will have the time to finish it. Overnight he's become a cause celebre in the modding community and yesterday was contacted by Riot Games, who make League of Legends, and invited to apply for a job there.
"Overnight I've grown from a nobody to a guy that half a million people want to design a mod," Winzell wrote on the World of Starcraft forums. "I've had professional composers contact me, dozens upon dozens of game designers and programmers and organizers."
A Riot Games representative confirmed the studio's contact with Winzell. Tom Cadwell, the lead designer for League of Legends, initiated the discussion.
"Ryan's mod showed a creative use of the Starcraft 2 toolset and demonstrates good technical skills as well as an innovative drive and a passion for video games," Cadwell told Kotaku. "These are some of the important qualities we look for in prospective Riot employees, and we routinely approach modders who stand out in some way."
Cadwell, who noted Riot's support of "Blizzard's need to protect their IP," said the studio has brought in employees with notable mod success before, such as Steve Feak, who created DotA Allstars. "When I see a modder with a lot of drive that has done something cool, I tend to contact them," Cadwell wrote on Riot's forums. "I shot [Winzell] an email recently asking if he was interested in exploring an opportunity here. As to what comes of that, who knows - that depends on the mutual fit and his own goals."
A message left with Winzell's personal email was not immediately returned. If we speak with him further, it will be updated here.