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Game News Starflight 3, a sequel from original series creator Greg Johnson, now on Fig

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Greg Johnson; HumaNature Studios; Starflight 3

    Crowdfunded sequels and spiritual successors to classic game franchises were all the rage back in 2012-2013, but there's something weird about running into one in 2018. That's the feeling I get when I look at Starflight 3, the new sequel to the famous space exploration RPG series from the 1980s, which officially launched on Fig yesterday after a month and a half in a not-so-secret backstage preview mode. The developer in charge is HumaNature Studios, a California-based indie headed by original Starflight lead designer Greg Johnson, so they've got that right. The game looks nice enough, but is there any interest in such a thing in this age of Star Citizens and No Man's Skies? Watch the video, read the pitch, and decide for yourself:



    Starflight was the first PC game to go platinum, selling over a million copies while also garnering huge critical success earning “Adventure Game of the Year”. Its sequel, Starflight 2: The Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula went on to receive “Role-Playing Game of the Year”. We're building Starflight’s next incarnation under the creative direction of its original designer, Greg Johnson and we can't do it without your help!

    What Is Starflight
    • A sci-fi single-player, sandbox role-playing game that focuses on exploration, diplomacy, resource gathering and combat
    • Hand-built planets and star systems to discover, mine, catalog new creatures and trade with locals
    • Alien races with distinct languages and cultures that will test your diplomacy skills
    • Ship and crew customization to suit your play style
    • Mind-bending clues scattered across the stars that you must decipher to keep going in the right direction
    • Random events that will make some of your decisions easier and at times… difficult
    • A truly free-form experience allowing you to decide how to explore whenever you want to
    HumaNature are looking to raise $800,000 by next month to develop Starflight 3, which they already got a good chunk before the campaign launched. You can get yourself a copy of the game for a reasonable $20, with beta access available at $80 and alpha at $100. The estimated release window is Q4 2020.
     
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  2. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    It's a pretty great pitch page, though. I really like the endorsements.
     
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  3. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    :troll:

    Are you testing whether we actually read your news posts? :cool:
     
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  4. himmy Arcane

    himmy
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    Is there a source for this bit of trivia?
     
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  5. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

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    Starflight is one of my all-time favorite games. I've backed off backing projects but damn I want this to succeed so I suppose I'll throw money at it.
     
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  6. Nano Learned

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    From the $125 tier:

    Lmao. Someone should tell them these Kickstarter game boxes need to be DRM-free to make them worth that amount of money.
     
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  7. Invictus Arcane The Real Fanboy

    Invictus
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    I remember playing Starflight on my Genesis and I liked it, didn’t really love it and could back it just for the hell of it... as soon as they include a DRM free version
     
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  8. Prime Junta Arcane

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    Funny, my reaction was "could be interesting but what a terrible pitch." All I got from it was that (1) the original Starflight was awesome and (2) this is some kind of space opera game that is also awesome. It seems painfully generic and entirely fails to communicate how this is different from any other generic space opera game featuring exploration, combat, and diplomacy.

    My reaction: yet another tired retread of a once-great idea by burned-out has-beens. Pass.
     
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  9. Quantomas Learned

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    Difficult to tell at which side it will fall at this point.

    But Greg Johnson is right about one thing: that Starflight had one inspiring core. This explains very much the structure of his pitch, and it may indicate that he has still the spirit.
     
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  10. Prime Junta Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    If he still had the spirit he'd be wanting to do something new, not to retread a great idea he had thirty-odd years ago.
     
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  11. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    Windows only (yeah they CLAIM they want to do more platforms later on, but true cross-platform development this is not, and they're likely talking about consoles).
    No demo.
    No real gameplay footage.
    Just some "we did something great all those years ago" - almost all of these styles of KS ended badly.

    Yeah... no.
     
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  12. Quantomas Learned

    Quantomas
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    Which is probably not viable.
     
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  13. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    When I praised the pitch, it's because I think Starflight is like Wasteland in that it was a game that people certainly liked on release, but which was overshadowed by a glossier spiritual successor -- Star Control II for Starflight, Fallout for Wasteland. My gut -- frankly based on my own ignorance -- is that very, very few people today would think of Starflight as a major hit, when at the time it was an extraordinarily major hit. I also think that very, very few people would think that it had significance other than as the Philip of Macedon to Star Control II's Alexander: a predecessor whose impact is entirely subsidiary to the successor's achievements. A major challenge with this Kickstarter is conveying the idea that Starflight is not an also-ran to Star Control II (a successor to which has already been much in the news) or Escape Velocity Nova or what have you, but in fact a titanic game on the level of X-Com, Civ, Ultima IV, etc. in terms of its significance. I think the pitch page rose to that challenge.


    (1) He was already retreading the idea 30 years ago (Starflight 2 (1989), Star Control II (1992)), so is the idea that he lost the spirit sometime between 1986 and 1989?
    (2) It's typical for space opera creators to keep going forever in the genre, why can't he?
     
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  14. Prime Junta Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    I guess? Some people only ever have one good idea. Which is one more than most.

    There is room in space opera for more than one good idea.
     
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  15. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    To me, if they deliver a reasonably good Starflight clone, I'll play it. I spent years waiting on that stupid fan Starflight III that never made any progress. Of course, this game will never be more than a marginal game in a marginal genre -- the industry has changed a lot since 1986, and the high concept of a space opera where you get to actually talk to aliens, explore planets, command a crew, and blow up enemy vessels is no longer groundbreaking or even especially interesting. I liked the Starflight games, but in my opinion they were quite a bit weaker than Star Control II in almost every way. Starflight 1 had a great plot twist in addition to being groundbreaking, and Starflight 2 improved on its systems and had the funny Spemin reversal, but at the end of the day, if they'd come after Star Control II rather than before, no one would care about them at all. The alien species are pretty dumb, the combat is pretty bad, the dialogue system is pretty dodgy, and the economic loop is pretty bad. There's no reason for me to expect this new game to a radical improvement. To the contrary, my expectation is that while it will have more advanced graphics and a friendlier UI, it will be relative to the state of the art a gigantic regression.

    But all the same, there really are almost no games in this genre, and it's a genre I love. There are a decent number of games in "adjacent" genres, like Solar Winds or Escape Velocity: Nova or Space Rangers or Space Pirates and Zombies or Weird Worlds, but they really aren't the same experience. They either over-emphasize economy aspects, over-emphasize RPG aspects, or under-utilize the dialogue and narrative aspects. Right now there is one upcoming game in the genre (Star Control Origins); I'd hardly object to another.
     
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  16. gaussgunner Arcane

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    Yeah. I loved the Starflight games but all I can remember is SC2, which essentially *was* Starflight 3.

    It's not enough to remake SF2 in Unity3D. It would almost be better if they kept the primitive 2D look and came up with some amazing new mechanics instead.
     
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  17. Zarniwoop Destiny Cleanser Patron

    Zarniwoop
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    The real question is, will some Windows skinning hacks come out of the woodwork and claim they "bought the rights" to call themselves the original creators and start legal butthurt about it? :troll:
     
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  18. DarkArcher Educated

    DarkArcher
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    Yeah, I'm glad this exists but they don't really explain why after so long. The combat doesn't look appealing at all. So it seems like most people would rather play FTL.
     
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  19. CyberWhale Arcane

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    /fixed
     
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  20. Mordru Novice

    Mordru
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    I haven't used fig yet. Are there stretch goals and stuff?
     
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  21. Nano Learned

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    In addition to the Fig page, there's this Escapist interview:

    It's not just the PC, though. It was also on a bunch of other home computers like the Commodore 64, Amiga, and Atari ST.
     
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  22. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    And, of course, the Sega Genesis, which is probably where it sold most of its copies.
     
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  23. Nano Learned

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    Maybe, but I'm assuming the two sources are talking about its sales specifically on home computers (ie excluding consoles).
     
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  24. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Well, the Escapist article says 1 million after specifically mentioning system ports. Genesis is one of the "six systems" they mention, so in context surely it's being included, no?

    Fig pitch is pretty vague.

    Anyway, I'd point you to the Digital Antiquarian's post: https://www.filfre.net/2014/10/starflight/

    Here's what it says:
    I'm not sure how we got from 300k to 1 million, but, yeah... At least we're dealing with a 2:1 ratio. (Incidentally, this was written after the Escapist's article, and while I find DA's conclusions sometimes a little dubious, his research seems thorough, so I'd be surprised if he was the one whose number was off.)
     
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  25. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    By the way, this all goes to show how hard this information is to come by, because even details like "initial sales far exceeded the most optimistic expectations" seem subject to different recollections. In a separate interview, Greg Johnson says: "The game was eventually released in 1986 to rave reviews, though Johnson adds that the game took 'a year or so' before sales started hitting notable levels. 'At the time it didn't really feel like a huge hit - it wasn't until later looking back that we realized how many units it had sold. It was a pretty neat feeling.'"
     
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