Back in April, a guy called Crainy revealed a trailer for a Bionicle game, in which you’d be able to explore the island of Mata Nui and play as one of the six legendary Toa. The trailer created waves and brought together a ton of old Bionicle fans. But it also raised a huge amount of questions, a lot of which have slowly been explained over time. Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui still had a lot of mysteries though.
On the 20th of May though, an announcement on the larger side was made by Crainy on the Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui Discord server. And it’s incredibly interesting.
The Bad News
Unfortunately, the whole multiplayer side of things has been put on hold for now. Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui will be focusing solely on the main single player experience. While multiplayer may be worked on in the future, it seems that Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui will only be a single player game.
To be honest, I did expect this. After all, multiplayer is a hard thing to work with. There’s a myriad of problems with just getting multiplayer to work, and that’s before you work on integrating it into the single player experience. If no multiplayer means that we get the game faster and with more features, then sure, not a problem.
It’s a shame, but it’s not completely off the table.
The Weird News
The most surprising thing however is that Crainy revealed the engine he’s using to make the game. In the trailers and on Discord, a lot of people assumed that the game was being made in either Unity or the Unreal engine. In Crainy’s Discord update post, he explains that Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui is actually made in the Starcraft 2 engine.
Now this is a bit of a surprise, and also goes to show how far you can take an engine and move it away from its source.
To play the game however, you will have to get a Battle.net account and download Starcraft 2, which is free to play.
“WHAT? THIS GAME IS A MOD?”
Technically, yes. But Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui is only a mod in the same way that Garry’s Mod was originally a mod. Or the many, many games all made in the Half-Life engine. Plenty of other fan games have also been made on the Starcraft 2 engine. Crainy himself explains that he’s made games and mods on the Starcraft 2 engine for years. It’s simply a tool to be creative, one that the developer knows well.
I mean, Payday 2, a horde shooter game, is made on the Diesel engine, an engine originally designed for racing games. This is no different, aside from the fact that you’ll need Starcraft 2 to play Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui.
Honestly though, the engine isn’t that important to players in the grand scheme of things. What we saw in the trailers is how it will all look in-game. As long as the game delivers on (most) of its promises, it doesn’t really matter what engine the game uses.
What about Blizzard?
In his Discord update post, Crainy assures everyone that he very much doubts Blizzard will take issue with his creation. He mentions that other fan games haven’t had any issues in the past and that he believes Blizzard has no reason to interfere with his work. From his own personal experience, Blizzard has been friendly towards the modding community, even on difficult issues like copyright.
However, Blizzard has left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths due to the China fiasco. Understandably, this announcement has made some people very uncertain. Will playing this fan-made Bionicle game also mean supporting Blizzard? Frankly, that’s a hard question to answer. For some, they can justify it. After all, you’re not giving Blizzard money! You’re just taking up space on their servers.
Others though might not be able to justify using anything Blizzard-related. Especially when a lot of people went and deleted their Battle.net accounts completely, wanting nothing to do with the company.
We’re still getting a Bionicle fan game though.
At the end of the day, while Crainy’s reveals are genuinely surprising, it’s also interesting to see some of the deeper parts of his work. Sure, losing multiplayer is a pity. But we’re still going to get an amazing, nostalgia-filled game at the end of it all.