StarCraft 2 is coming back to Major League Gaming on Jan. 19 for the length of MLG's GameOn Invitational, after being dropped from last year's Pro Circuit Championship in Columbus, Ohio.
The Blizzard release will later make a show at the MLG Championships in Anaheim, California between June 20 and June 22. In the meantime, voting for the GameOn Invitational starts Jan. 13 where 16 players across North America will compete for $5,000. That includes 12 invited players and four fan-voted players.
The return of StarCraft 2 to MLG marks the restart of a North American-only competition platform for the game. Last year MLG co-founder Sundance DiGiovanni revealed the real-time strategy game didn't "fit into our Cbus plans," referring to the Columbus-based tournament.
"We recognize that in the past we were not as transparent and communicative as we should've been. We've learned that community interaction and involvement is essential in creating a successful tournament scene," reads a statement from MLG's Executive Vice-President Adam Apicella. "Therefore, in the spirit of transparency, we want you to know that we are operating this Invitational as a test."
Feedback offered throughout the Invitational will later be used to help design the competition for February through May, and later help to qualify players into Pool Play at MLG Championship in Anaheim.
According to Major League Gaming, the title was never fully dropped from the MLG roster; Rather, a spokesperson tells Polygon, it was determined another organization was running a similar event the same weekend as the Columbus Championship and it was decided not run both events at the same time.
"Our goal has always been to create competition that benefits the players and the fans and we wanted to build something in 2014 that the SC2 community needed and wanted," Apicella said in a statement to Polygon. "We took a very close look at the SC2 scene around the globe and it was clear that there was a lot of activity happening in Korea and Europe, but very little happening for players in North and South America. We coordinated directly with players to determine interest in an America's Only competition and designed this initial GameOn Invitational that will guide further online activity and carry us into the MLG Championship in Anaheim from June 20 to June 22. We are extremely excited to showcase SC2 again and the tremendous talent in the North and South America."