By Nathan Grayson on February 19th, 2013 at 9:00 am.
StarCraft Universe is a fan-made StarCraft MMO and – in all likelihood – the closest thing to World of StarCraft we’re gonna get until Blizzard realizes it wants all the money instead of just most of it. You might find it a bit weird, then, that StarCraft Universe – Chronicles of Fate is entirely single-player. But paving over a fundamentally RTS-focused engine with an entirely different genre is apparently a slightly complicated process, so developer Upheaval Arts is taking baby steps. But hey, that still means we get an (admittedly WoW-ish) single-player StarCraft RPG in the meantime. Worse things have happened. Maybe. I assume.
The prologue’s in open beta right now, and you can relinquish your almighty floating space god RTS powers to give it a go by simply searching its name in StarCraft II’s map browser. As with many games, things happen in it, too. Things like these:
“StarCraft Universe takes place in an alternate timeline, 11 years after the events which transpire in the ‘In Utter Darkness’ scenario of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign. It’s our vision of how the universe may have been for any survivors of the hybrid onslaught which ensued, had Kerrigan died.”
As for why Universe is emerging from its multi-year, legally troubled development cycle in this form, Upheaval fully admits that we’ll be playing the role of bug-splattering quality assurance marines – only without the marines part. “This project is a massive undertaking, which completely alters the way the SC2 engine operates, and we’re a very small team without a big QA department,” they explained. “YOU guys will be our quality assurance!”
But that’s pretty much par for the course with smaller games these days, and Universe is already looking stronger than a lot of pre-release projects. Granted, I’ve not yet had the chance to play it, so attractive words and a spiffy video are all I have to go on. Of course, I will rectify that soon, but – until then – do all the clicky, killy, looty bits live up to the stirring monologue delivered by Protossimus Prime up there?