Stardock's Star Control Will Have Alternate Timeline
(tech demo does not represent final product)
In an interview with Arc Technica’s Lee Hutchinson, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has stated the following:
Wardell's Star Control would take place 43 years before the events of Star Control 2 and would function as a prequel. "We plan to start the game around 2112 with aliens first contacting the Earthlings and the formation of Star Control," he explained. From there, the game will proceed in the same open-ended adventure fashion as Star Control 2—Wardell told Ars that the player would captain the Earthling flagship, which can be fortified with upgrades as it explores the galaxy.
"This has been a much discussed topic internally," he replied. "Since Paul and Fred can't officially be involved, we decided we would create a new continuity that splits off from the Ur-Quan continuity starting 250,000 years prior where something happened to the Precursors." Splitting off an alternate timeline, says Wardell, gives series creators Ford and Reiche the ability to continue the "main" Star Control plot if they choose to do so at some point. "Morally, we just didn't feel it would be right to try to impose our vision onto Paul and Fred's sci-fi universe," explained Wardell.
We asked for more details on that team of fanatics, and Wardell didn't disappoint: "The game itself is being developed by veteran developers from Firaxis, Big Huge Games, and Stardock, whose engineering and art talent are amazing, but also know what a Star Control game should be like," he said.
Maybe this could be a sign that a new dev team composed people from other places will be created similar to the formations of Sledgehammer Games for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and 343 Industries for Halo: Reach.
"We intend to make Super Melee a pretty big part of the game from a multiplayer point of view," Wardell confirmed. "It'll be an expansion on what was in Star Control 2, except we would like to support more sophisticated battle arenas and up to 8 players. We picture there being a lot of different modes for Super Melee, ranging from classic to Dota-style super melee."
As with all good things, Star Control will come only to those who wait. "We don't expect to even consider what a release date is until next year (2015) at which point we'll have a good idea of how far along we are," he said. However, unlike Star Control 2's dual platform release, the new title will be available on a multitude of systems. "We do expect the new one to be home on the PC but also be available on Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Steambox, and any other platform that Nitrous supports."
Comparing this to the Star Trek reboot
When 2009 Star Trek (directed by JJ Abrams) was released, it received very positive reviews and was very profitable. It reached levels of success that surpassed the previous films. I did enjoy the movie and it really showed how special effects have evolved over time. It also took place in an alternate timeline, giving Abrams and the writers room to change things around without having to “retcon” anything.
Budgeting have always been an issue for Star Trek and it’s great to see that Star Trek is growing into a successful movie franchise just like Star Wars, which JJ Abrams will also be directing in the future.
Some decisions had to be made by the producers in order to gain this success, mainly a plot that revolves saving a planet and lots of action. It’s very hard to make a big-budget sci-fi movie that doesn’t revolve around saving the world or the universe. There is much more action to maintain a fast pace.
Did you know that Gene Roddenberry was not directly involved in the development of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? Due to the mixed reception of The Motion Picture, his role was changed to Executive Consultant, and a new script and director was chosen for the sequel.
The reason why I mentioned Star Trek is because the target audiences are different and the competition is much greater. There are a certain set of expectations one can make about big-budget sci-fi and can not be easily applied to games. They were aware of the previous Star Trek movies and what can be done to make it more successful.
It’s very clear that Brad Wardell wants to create a new Star Control game that appeals to fans and is approved by Paul and Fred. Due to TFB’s contract with Activision, they cannot be directly involved in the development of this game. Activision loves Skylanders way too much. Stardock is known for their stance against DRM and their publishing of niche games/utilities made of smaller budgets compared to larger studios and making a profit (e.g. Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod). It’s very early in development and no concept art of this Star Control has been released yet. However, I feel that this new team Stardock is putting together may be able to pull it off. They’ve got a lot of things to cover to match the unique touches of SC2 such as the music, alien artwork, witty dialog, fonts and unique ship design. Strangely enough, SC2 was never 100% polished and Paul and Fred worked overtime to get it done and left things out such as Groombridge and the infamous “planet lander bug”.
Only time can tell when we will get more details about what kind of game this is going to be. Brad has also stated that this will not be a 4X style game (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) like SOASE.
What do you think about this Star Control and its alternate timeline?
Ars Technica - Stardock CEO reveals details about new Star Control title in development
Polygon - New Star Control to include series creators’ input, alternate timeline
LittleTinyFrogs - Brad Wardell’s post about Star Control