I have always loved space flight simulators, from Wing Commander to Tie Fighter, but it’s been quite a long time since I’ve seen any that get me interested in the genre again. Of course there’s been Freespace, and a few other games out there, but none of them looked exciting, or any different than ‘planes in space’. Finally I am seeing two very different, but equally exciting games coming that are actually making me consider getting a better joystick, and even an Occulus Rift.
From CCP, the makers of Eve: Online, comes Eve: Valyrie. There’s not much information on the site yet but from the looks of it this will be a straight-forward space flight simulator with the added bonus of being multiplayer. I have the feeling it’s going to be like playing an FPS in space, and from the cockpit of a fighter. They will have all the expected features of the current FPS genre, upgrades and unlocks, rank and reputation, and best of all pitting your skill against other thinking opponents. That was the one thing that was missing on all those older sims we all love. This game, like the other in our feature today, also supports the Occulus Rift, which is a next generation virtual reality system that literally puts you in the game. I’ve experienced the awesome that is the Occulus and even in the limits of the 780p version I saw, the feeling was pretty amazing.
I don’t see anything on their site yet about game types, server architecture, or player count yet. There is a great teaser for game play though, so definitely click on the site link above and take a look, just make sure you come back. Also announced recently, the amazing Katee Sackhoff, of Battlestar Galactica and Longmire fame is doing voice work for the game. That in itself is exciting.
The second game in this feature comes to us from Chris Roberst, creator of Wing Commander, and his gaming company Cloud Imperium Games. Star Citizen is going to be a mix of FPS, space flight sim, and MMO, and it will be buy to play. Buy to play? Yah, that’s a new phrase to me as well. Free to play games have acquired the stigma of being cheaply made, having lack of support, and generally a playground for undedicated players which can frustrate more die-hard gamers. Not my words mind you, but that’s how the community feels about them. Buy to play, is a game you have to buy up front, like other retail titles, but carries no monthly subscription. Similar to our favorite Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. Anyway, I digress. The plan for this game, which started as a kickstarter that is now over 45 million in funding, is to create a universe with hundreds of star systems, all containing multiple worlds, each with several landing points. The shear scope of that boggles the mind. Other games, like Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Star Trek Online have tried this, with various levels of success, but hopefully this game will be different. Already we are more interested because there is no monthly subscription.
In the game you can choose to play from several different professional perspectives, from pirate to career soldier, traveling the galaxy, fighting, scheming, and trading. You earn money by completing missions for various NPCs and can use that money to buy new ships, equipment, upgrades, and the like. Not only will you be able to operate fighters, but also cargo ships, transports, and support craft. They are also incorporating a pseudo-permadeath system in which your character has a limited number of ‘lives’ and will eventually reach a point where his near death experiences will become a real death one. Never fear though, from what I have read you won’t lose any gear. You simply create a new character who inherits all of his predecessor’s gear. I do believe you lose most, or all of their contacts and relationships in the galaxy, but there’s no fear of losing any of the hard-earned equipment. This game also supports the Occulus Rift, and of the two of these featured games I think this is the one I’m most excited about myself.
So, head on over to each site, and take a look at the next generation of space sims. Help fund Star Citizen, if that looks like the one for you, and hopefully we’ll see each other in game. I’m sure you’ll see some incarnation of me there. With the permadeath system I’m not sure if you’ll see Xamot on a ship, or the callsign for a pilot, but you’re bound to see it somewhere along with the 5307th rangers tags. See ya there!