StarCraft II modder Ryan Winzen's life may be about to turn upside down: Blizzard has told Eurogamer it will consider offering him a job – if he's good enough.
His creation, World of StarCraft, puts the assets of StarCraft II into a World of Warcraft mould. A gameplay video shows a character selection screen as the demonstrator flicks through the available class options. The footage also shows a group battling monsters in the StarCraft II world. Action is third-person, as in WOW, and the requisite health bars and skill bars of an MMO user interface are present.
A YouTube video showcasing the mod, which you can see below, was slapped with a cease and desist order from Activision Blizzard after it went viral. But it was all a misunderstanding. Blizzard revealed it was happy for the mod to live on with the name changed to StarCraft Universe. It turned out Blizzard owned the trademark to World of StarCraft. Who knew?
Now Winzen, who will soon meet with the StarCraft II team at Blizzard headquarters, could be offered a job by the creator of the very game he used to make his eye-catching mod.
"There are a number of factors that go into whether somebody can get a job based on their work," StarCraft II game design director Dustin Browder told Eurogamer.
"I haven't met him. Is he a nice guy? I don't know. If he's a jerk then absolutely not. I don't care how good you are. I'm building a team here of people that has to work together.
"Is he technically skilled? How much of that did he do on his own? What are his design values? What he did was technically impressive, but does he understand how to make a great game? I haven't even played the mod.
"There are a lot of questions that go into it. But if he's somebody who did all this great work and he passes all the other challenges to being a game designer, then yeah, he could be looking at offers from me or from other developers around the business.
"I don't know whether he's got the proof or not. For his sake I hope he does. But that's all up to him at the end of the day, whether he's done the homework, done the effort, to get that kind of opportunity.
"A YouTube video of something technically impressive is not a game designer, but it is on your way. It is possibly a game a designer, which is very exciting."
Explaining the "big misunderstanding" that caused Activision Blizzard to force the World of StarCraft video from the internet, Browder said some within the company thought it had been created outside of StarCraft II.
"We just want to shake his hand and say sorry for the misunderstanding," he said. "You got to give him a break. It's very difficult to look at that mod and understand that's a StarCraft mod.
"Some people within the organisation thought it was a whole new game. Hats off to our tools developer that they made a tool that somebody could so easily confuse our staff about what was going on!
"Once it was explained, hey, this is not what you think it is, this is what we want to encourage, this is just another great StarCraft mod in the works, things got easier for everybody.
"It was just a big misunderstanding. We just want to shake his hand and say let's look at this mod together and revel in the craziness this guy had put together. The absolute over-the-top amount of effort this guy has put into it is just glorious. We just want to say congratulations and good luck and please keep it up."
Winzen has already scored a job offer from League of Legends developer Riot Games.
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