If you were a serious gamer in the 1990’s, you might remember a series called Star Control. Published by Accolade and spreading across multiple sequels and spin-offs, the series was all about creating memorable sci-fi based action based on a number of strategies. Along the way, you also dealt with a number of alien races through an interesting storyline.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Star Control game on the market (the last one was a Flash game released by Atari way back in 2007) but Stardock Entertainment looks to change that with the forthcoming Star Control: Origins, which is set to release on Microsoft Windows/PC later this year. Players will once again adapt to certain strategies as they speak with a number of alien races, while engaging in combat utilizing role-playing elements. Its tone should be quite familiar to those that played the original game.
It’s not easy bringing back a legend, so we talked to lead producer on Origins, Patrick Shaw, about what it took to bring back the series and what could be coming next!
First off, why the change from real-time strategy to something more open-world sci-fi? Do you think it was just time for the franchise to evolve?
While Stardock is known for our RTS games, Star Control: Origins has a special place in our heart because many of us were big fans of the original games. Star Control: Origins as an open-universe, action RPG provides fans of the franchise with a fresh perspective. It also enables players to have the freedom and flexibility to create their own fate in the game. Players are able to make choices on a path while engaging and acting on other quests along the way, each of which alters the path they were previously on. The entire universe is living and functioning in the background as players carve their own storyline.
What can Star Control fans truly expect this time around story-wise?
In Star Control: Origins, players are put in command of Earth's prototype interstellar ship, the “U.S.S. Vindicator”, and tasked with saving the planet from the hostile alien race, known as the Scryve, who want to exterminate us. We’ve given players the ability to choose their own path, which allows for a truly story-driven universe dictated by the choices players make.
Give us the lowdown of what we’re jumping into with Star Control:Origins. A little bit of backstory, if you will.
A hostile alien species, the Scryve, eliminate any intelligent species in the universe that could threaten or challenge it. After receiving our TV and radio signals for the previous several decades, they’ve deemed we’re a threat and are on-course to destroy Earth. Players must save Earth, at any cost. Players will explore the universe, build out their fleet of ships, create allies (and enemies) along the way, and upgrade their crew and the capabilities of their ship in order to stand a chance against the Scryve. Some of the decisions they make may not be the most benevolent ones, and each will create a ripple effect through the universe as they carry out their mission. No two players will have an identical gameplay experience.
With the new open world structure, how much would you say the gameplay has changed? Are some of the core aspects still intact?
Star Control: Origins is a completely new game that uses the original games as inspiration. Fans of the original Star Control will appreciate the similarities to the original IP, such as the various alien races and the game’s core components that pay homage to the beloved Star Control game, but they’ll realize quickly that Star Control: Origins is unique. The scope of Star Control: Origins is huge - it’ll take players a long time to experience everything we’ve put into the game. We have hundreds of stars and thousands of unique planets to discover.
What’s probably the biggest challenge when making a new entry like this to a much-beloved series?
Of course, there is the weight of fan expectations and living up to creating something new they will enjoy, while also paying homage to the original game play. We created Star Control: Origins to take place in a different universe in order to provide a fresh story timeline and combined some of the best elements of the original games in tandem with new and unique combinations of gameplay to provide players and fans a familiar, yet entirely new experience.
What was the biggest challenge when it came to creating an open world? (If not answered in the previous question.)
Creating an open-world involves creating thousands of intricate and unique aspects of the game that each player can interact with in different ways. For example, as a player is completing a mission on one planet, in the background an alien ship is hovering around waiting to challenge the player to a fleet battle, given the chance. Ensuring all of these different pieces of the game are running smoothly and cohesively is a big challenge, but we feel this creates an immersive and lifelike universe for the players.
How has feedback been with the game thus far? Are fans excited to see this series make a return?
Fans are definitely excited, and the feedback has been great! We’ve been listening to players closely and integrating changes into the game based on the player feedback we’ve received on various channels (e.g. player forums, Discord, Reddit, etc.). The Fleet Battles Beta, for example, is an integrated part of the gameplay and players like it so much that it’s also a separate mode within the game, so players can jump in for quick multiplayer battles against one another, or against the AI.
If Origins is successful — and it’s looking like it will be — do you see Stardock continuing to add content to the game? Or perhaps working on something new? Or maybe it’s too soon to tell at this point…?0comments
We’re designing Star Control:Origins to have new content even before day one … nearly every aspect of the game will be moddable (very easily) with integrated tools shipping in the game that allow players to create ships, planets, and even new adventures. Players will be able to share these new adventures and content via the Steam Workshop. Players in our beta today are already creating and sharing new designs! And of course, Stardock will roll out new content to the game ourselves.
Star Control: Origins will release later this year for PC.