By show of hands, how many of you know who Chris Roberts is?
Wing Commander in 1990. That was a fun game. Even though the graphics aren't anything beyond what a SNES can do, it's still a very enjoyable space sim, given that it was among the first space sims to have interactive characters and also consequences for your actions, good or bad - kinda like an RPG. This title went on to have sequels and spinoffs. Each outdid the last, and the final characters were very cinematic as it featured cut scenes with real actors and you could decide how the conversation went.
Before Elder Scrolls, and before Grand Theft Auto, this was the hot ticket in gaming. It felt like an RPG, plus you could jump into a star fighter and wreck some havoc on the Kilrathi. That's "kill-wrath-e" for all you kids reading at home. Unlike Star Wars or Star Trek, this series of games put the story's focus on the pilots who fight interstellar wars. The controls were so complex that you literally had to use most of the buttons on your keyboard AND use a joystick. It takes a while to get used to, but after a while, you become an ace in what is the closest experience to being a star fighter we will experience. Coupled by reading Ender's Game, these influences drove me to write for the first time - and it's no wonder that my first story takes place in space and the hero is a pilot!
Neat graphics, eh?
Then, shortly after the Wing Commander film came out (a guilty pleasure of mine), Roberts went on a break - a ten year break. This is about the same time when console gaming started to rise like never before. Some have claimed that the PC game is dead, but I'm here to tell you, reports of its death are greatly exaggerated. Here's why:
Welcome to Star Citizen!
*jaw drops* ... words fail me ...
Like the comeback of a legend, Chris Roberts has returned with a stunning, fully integrated universe that may change the face of PC gaming (and maybe all gaming) forever, just as Wing Commander did, but this time, with a little twist. There's no gaming conglomerate behind this. Technically, this is an Indie game, crowd funded, and the game improves and adds new features as gamers continue to play.
Unlike the modern MMO, monies earned goes to expanding this universe. Once they reach their 20 million goal, players will be given the ability to fly to other worlds, land on them, and go wherever!
Barkeep, a round for my friends here!
There is character interaction, opportunities to make a virtual fortune, and consequences for reckless behavior - including (in rare instances) permanent player death. While you can skirt around this death by having all your assets given to a backup character as an "inheritance," you'll want to think twice about taking on a non-AI fighter pilot ...
I have GOT to get me one of these!
Instead of feeling like a star fighter pilot, this game has the potential to make you feel like a citizen in an interstellar universe. Buy. Sell. Trade. Build a career. The possibilities are almost without limit. There will be about 100 worlds, almost 10,000 different faces to choose from, and loads more ... a better value for your money than any MMO I know. Also, it's not limited to MMO - you can go on single player campaigns. The game is not yet available, however, but by pledging (depending on the package you want), you will secure a spot for yourself when the game goes online - like a kickstarter project!
I know this has time suck written all over it, so I promise that I will behave myself by pledging as a scout (low level entry), which is long enough for me to swoop in and see what all the commotion is about. Having said that, this is the first kickstarter I've ever supported.
You know something ... this is all reminding me of a very excellent series of novels that I know of, and the last book in the series comes out next week! I'll have more to say about that on Monday.
Until then, have a great, Vanduul free weekend!
What do you think of Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games? Are you familiar with Roberts or his games? Want to me my wing man?
I'm David, and sign me up with Squadron 42!
Note: in researching this game, I noticed a lot of information about the details that wasn't consistent from source to source, so if I said something that's not factual, it wasn't intentional.