Thursday Blizzard released an official statement in regards to the "World of StarCraft" mod for StarCraft 2 currently in the works by Ryan Winzen.
Created using the built-in StarCraft 2 toolset, Winzen's project quickly attracted the attention of gamers and journalists alike. A pre-alpha demo video uploaded to YouTube offered a glimpse into the highly-polished mod which merged Blizzard's StarCraft universe with a MMOG gameplay model. The resulting sample left many of us wanting to see the mod's completion.
However Activision quickly swooped in and requested that YouTube remove Winzen's demo video, citing possible copyright infringement. The project's outcome was suddenly in question. Eventually the video was re-published after Blizzard and Winzen discussed the MMOG in detail.
As of Thursday evening the project was back on track-- Winzen will be required to re-name the project on behalf of Blizzard's request. Thursday the company also released an official statement explaining what transpired between the two parties, and essentially provided an official "green light"for Winzen to continue with his work.
Here's the statement:
Earlier this week, a player-made StarCraft II mod called World of StarCraft and described as a “StarCraft MMO” was featured on a number of prominent gaming news sites, catching the attention of gamers as well as our own. 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.
It was never our intention to stop development on the mod or discourage the community from expressing their creativity through the StarCraft II editor. As always, we actively encourage development of custom maps and mods for StarCraft II, as we’ve done with our strategy games in the past. That's why we release an editor with our RTS games, and why we feature top player-created content in the custom game search. It's also why we held a contest to spotlight the best community-crafted StarCraft II mods at last year's BlizzCon, and why we’ll continue to improve Battle.net to better showcase player-created content.
Like many players in the community, we’re looking forward to seeing the continued development of this mod, and as part of our ongoing discussion, we've extended an offer to the developer to visit the Blizzard campus and meet with the StarCraft II development team. As always, we appreciate all of the efforts of the talented and enthusiastic mod-making community, and we look forward to seeing and playing what they create using the StarCraft II editor in the future.
Thursday also brought reports that Winzen received a job offer from Riot Games. "When I see a modder with a lot of drive that has done something cool, I tend to contact them," said Zileas, Design Director of Riot Games. "I shot him 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."
As with Blizzard, we're eager to see how Winzen's StarCraft MMOG mod progresses. Currently dubbed as "StarCraft Chronicles," Winzen is currently accepting applications for other modders to join the development team, as seen here.
Please, for the love of the FSM, get your Activision overlords to sign on to this policy for all of their gaming divisions.
It truly is rare. Only two companies encourage this kind of work these days: VALVe and Blizzard.
Here is to hoping neither dissapear under the EA veil for a long long time.
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