The mod formerly known as World of StarCraft is in open beta, and you can download it for free now, albeit in truncated form. StarCraft Universe: Chronicles of Fate is a singleplayer prologue and proof of concept for the WoWish StarCraft mod, designed to pique interest and widen wallets for a crowdfunding campaign to fund the rest.
StarCraft Universe’s team had originally hoped to stump up cash via Blizzard Arcade StarCraft 2 mod shop, but have decided to wait for Heart of the Swarm’s release in March before wading in there. Instead, they’re asking players intrigued by the prologue to donate somewhere between $5 and $1000 to the mod’s development.
"We didn't want to ask for anything until we proved that we could make this,” said Upheaval on Facebook. "So please, play our Prologue, enjoy yourself, and if you believe we have what it takes to make this game happen and have the extra cash, support us by donating at UpheavalArts.com/StarCraftUniverse. We want to make this game a reality!"
The beta is needed to test what has turned out to be a “massive undertaking”, one which fundamentally alters the way the StarCraft 2 engine works. In fact, it’s that very transformation that’s been responsible for StarCraft Universe’s troubled history, which began with a cease and desist letter from Blizzard and ended with a personal apology once the Big B realised it was their own engine they were grinding their teeth at.
There’s a foreboding-laden introductory video below, which alternately evokes 40k’s brand of endless war, Ridley Scott’s brand of space horror and Blizzard’s brand of just about everything.
You can summon StarCraft Universe on battle.net by typing its name into the StarCraft 2 map browser. Let us know what it’s like, won’t you?