MMORPG.com: Starcraft Universe has been in development for over two years now. What inspired you to make a third-person RPG out of Starcraft?
Ryan Winzen: It was an idea that came to me in the late 90’s with the release of SC1 and Everquest that resurfaced around the release of Wings of Liberty. I remember seeing a few World of StarCraft hoaxes using images from StarCraft: Ghost and knew it might be possible to use the StarCraft II engine and assets to develop something that would cater to a desire many StarCraft fans have had for a while.
MMORPG.com: How many developers have and/or are working on SCU? How did the team assemble itself?
Ryan Winzen: I started bringing in a lot of talented modders in the SC2Mapster.com community shortly after we gained notoriety in 2011. We’ve had a lot of guys go in and out, doing odd jobs here and there, working on the game intermediately, but I’m the only full-time developer. Philipp, our lead programmer codes the actual game part-time, and we’ve got a mess of other guys who have done things at varying degrees. Up until recently, it’s been all volunteer work by hand selected individuals. We’ve really been blessed to have such a great group of guys working on this thing.
Here’s a list of people who have worked on SCU: http://upheavalarts.com/starcraftuniverse/the-team/
MMORPG.com: You recently completed the first round of KickStarter by raising $80,000 plus. Congratulations! Why, after two years in development, did you decide to conduct a KickStarter campaign and what are the plans moving forward?
Ryan Winzen: Thanks!
Well we finally realized the amount of time and effort to create something of this scale with a small team required more of our attention. The lead devs needed to be able to produce this thing full time or we’d simply never complete it with our day jobs in the way. Additionally, funding would allow us to contract more individuals to help us put polish toward areas that are lacking, such as our website.
In short, without funding, StarCraft II might be dead before we’d be able to complete it.
MMORPG.com: Please give us a thumbnail sketch of the short- and long-term goals for the project. With the KickStarter campaign at an end, how do you anticipate generating more investment?
Ryan Winzen: Short term goals: Release a multi-player beta map to test out core systems, progression values, combat balance, and fun factor. Hopefully complete by January.
Long term goals: Release the first Act of SCU by the middle of next year, and the full game by the time Blizzard releases the Arcade Marketplace to fund the project throughout StarCraft’s lifetime.
MMORPG.com: It seems that no canon characters (Kerrigan, Raynor, etc.) will appear in SCU. Was there a prohibition on using copyrighted characters?
Ryan Winzen: No, I just want to respect the existing lore as much as possible. Any time you start writing dialogue for someone else’s IP, characters especially, you run the risk of screwing up. I won’t take that risk unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary, and I have positive feedback from other die-hard lorelovers on our team.
MMORPG.com: Some call Starcraft Universe an MMO. Others say it is a collection of modules strung together with lore. How would you describe it?
Ryan Winzen: It’s a multi-player online RPG much like Diablo but utilizes a third person interface for maximal immersion. Just drop the massive. It’s a MORPG.
MMORPG.com: What features will MMO players find that are familiar? Leveling? Character advancement? Gear?