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Friday, July 08, 2016
Exploring the studio-space
Let’s talk space-exploration games. There’s a slight problem here in that the “genre” has barely existed since its late-1980s heyday.
Your dad had the two “Starflight” games, and then he bought an unfinished sort-of sequel in “Protostar”. He had “Nomad” too; but you didn’t see it, because he deleted that shit. He might have had “Star Control 2” / “The Ur-Quan Masters” which was basically the cartoon version of Starflight (and did a great job at that); it didn’t sell well at the time but it has quite the cult following. I’d be stretching the definition to count “Alien Legacy” and “Star Control 3”.
Since then I dunno. The Elite series? the first Mass Effect? Battlecruiser? Freelancer? Privateer? I’d not count anything after SC2.
Some people at this point might cite “Star Citizen”, but let us ignore them. Those who helped fund this turkey are suckers. Instead let’s talk games that actually exist, or are in publicly-visible alpha, or are at least very likely to get into playable form soon.
I’ve also heard “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare” but, having looked into this, I don’t see where its authors are even promising a space-exploration game. This is just a shooter. I’m sure it’ll be a fine shooter but it’s not what we care about here.
No Man’s Sky – This was announced too early, and the (late) release-date it got has recently been delayed; some magazines are wondering if it can possibly live up to fans’ expectations. But I’ve loved watching what I’ve watched so far. It went gold yesterday, so it is definitely coming out in early August for PC and PS4.
Empyrion: Galactic Survival – This has been on Steam under its “early access” programme since *last* August. So it’s not done either, but what exists out there now is playable. Word is out that its AI is crappy and, when you get that far, unbalanced. So, needs work. Still.
Mass Effect: Andromeda – Ahoy, matey! Everyone’s favourite homosexual-relationship simulator is back again. Maybe this one’ll have an ending that makes sense …
Space Engineers – another long-running alpha that never did “go gold”, by any definition I can think of, but everyone is happy with that. Best I can tell the business-model was to advertise a proof-of-concept and then to release the source code for free when they figured they’d made enough bank. This is more like Elite in that they don’t give you the story; you’re the story.
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