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Recapturing Escape Velocity: 3030 Deathwar

If Elite: Dangerous were the only space game on the event horizon, 2014 would be a great year for space games. There have been others though and now we can add 3030 Deathwar to the galaxy of stars – it’s a 2D open world RPG drawing inspiration from Escape Velocity Nova, Elite and Privateer, and you can choose your own price for it (including nowt). The current release is an improved and rebalanced version of the original 2007 release. The changes include improved graphics, an overhauled tutorial and rebalanced missions, as well as a rejigged interface. It’s a remarkable and enormous game, and I’m astonished that I was unaware of the original.

3030 Deathwar’s re-release is the work of Berlin-based Crunchy Leaf Games and Matt Griffiths, one of the original creators. In 2007, aspects of the game were praised by the few critics who played it, but with no solid marketing plan, it flew under the radar of most reviewers. A lack of testing and balancing was also evident, and the new version is intended to introduce a new audience to the game while also fulfilling all of the untapped potential.

Max Dohme of Crunchy Leaf is working on a project by the name of Stars of Icarus and discovered 3030 Deathwar while performing research. He committed himself to assisting with the re-release and is also working to make the game fully open source. It’s a heck of an undertaking and Deathwar is precisely the sort of game I often hope somebody somewhere is making – how strange to realise someone had already made it.

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