StarCraft Universe, the "StarCraft MMO" concept that got a bunch of Blizzard's lawyers itchy and nervous a couple of years ago, is aiming toward a full fledged release—with Blizzard's permisson—and is looking for $80,000 in Kickstarter funding to do so.
StarCraft Universe did release a version—SCU: Chronicles of Fate—over Battle.net earlier this year, but the mod was a singleplayer prologue meant to introduce players to the story and acclimate them to playing the game, said creator Ryan Winzen. StarCraft Universe will be fully multiplayer (and may be soloed), will incorporate typical MMO features like player progression, inventory retention and the like.
Winzen says players do not need to own a paid version of StarCraft II to play StarCraft Universe (or Chronicles of Fate, which acts as kind of a demo, for that matter). "You'll be able to play it with the free downloadable Starter Edition of StarCraft II" he said in an email.
StarCraft Universe is being made by a shop Winzen heads called Upheaval Arts. This game began life in 2011 as an MMO-style mod that Winzen and other collaborators built. Of course they called it "World of StarCraft," which got Blizzard's attention. The StarCraft developer wanted to be sure Winzen and his team wasn't screwing around with the game using something other than the official toolkit; they weren't. Once that understanding was reached, Winzen moved forward with the project, and Blizzard even flew him out for a meeting as a goodwill gesture.
StarCraft Universe, according to its pitch page, will feature four playable classes in two races each, Terran and Protoss, with player and weapon customization, usable vehicles with mounted passengers for combat, crafting, progression trees and a slew of features common to the MMO experience. Winzen is writing its story, set in an alternate StarCraft Universe, and voices will be supplied by actors who have worked on World of Warcraft and League of Legends.
The project is two days into its fundraiser and has raised $12,000 so far. If it can reach $100,000, the team will add a Zerg playable race. There's plenty more information, and other stretch goals, available at the link.
StarCraft Universe [Kickstarter]