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.

36 Comments

  1. sendmark says:

    Installed and running it now, looks fascinating.

  2. Kestrel says:

    “it’s a 2D open world RPG drawing inspiration from Escape Velocity Nova”
    Or EVN’s two superior predecessors.

    Thanks for the heads up on this one, I’ll be checking it out!

  3. Kempston Wiggler says:

    It’s also got one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard. Not quite up to Haegemonia standards (the entirely subjective gold standard by which I judge all space games) but really really catchy all the same. The track named ‘Dissolve’ is a particular favourite.

    And yes, I can hipster the lot of you by smugly knowing I found and played this years ago. Good to see it getting mainstream attention at long last. :)

    /hipsterism

  4. CrunchyLeafGames says:

    Awesome, thanks for the feature Adam!

    Hey RPS crowd! We hope you’ll enjoy the game and want to let you know that we welcome any feedback! Let us know what you think, especially all the EVN fans hanging out here!

    For those who want to see some gameplay before downloading, Space Game Junkie has a video up:
    link to youtube.com

    Safe flying and watch out for any forklifts!

    • Havok9120 says:

      A forklift reference? You have proven your Ambrosia/Escape Velocity credentials.

      SOLD.

    • savagerose says:

      Did someone say “similar to Escape Velocity”? My eyes aren’t failing my senses?

      Yes pleaseeeee! Fond memories of the Mars theme and modding crappy 3d ships and being a space adventurer!

      Also of ill-fated fan attempts to make an MMO version. :)

      • norfolk says:

        I loved that game so much. Easily the first game I ever sunk hundreds of hours into. Is there anything similar out there that’s newer and at ll improved?

    • SalaciousJames says:

      Escape Velocity, you say? Automatic download.

      Oh, such fond memories of forcing the Moon to pay tribute to my souped-up Kestrel and mercenary fleet.

      • Kestrel says:

        Ah yes, the Kestrel… Now I remember why I STILL use this username.

    • drinniol says:

      But does it have a Sattelite of Love?

  5. suibhne says:

    Whoa. EV and EV:N were formative gaming experiences for me, way back in OS 7 or w/e, but I’d never even heard of this. RPS proves its extraordinary worth once again.

  6. TechnicalBen says:

    The Year 3030 eh?
    Nice to see someone not doing “we colonised space in 30 years” as they did in Mass Effect. The Sci-Fi in mass effect was cool. But wow, did they overdo the speed of development in it.

  7. Arcanon says:

    You had me at EV: Nova!! I’ve been looking for an RPG like that for AGES, thank you!

  8. marak830 says:

    Hmm thanks i think ill check this out this weekend.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    I started playing this and I’ve made the following observations:

    * pretty boss
    * wicked cool
    * rad as heck

    Unfortunately it crashed when I took a picture of a planet one time but otherwise goin’ great

  10. Tycow says:

    Got it, and chucked some money to the devs. Thoroughly enjoying my experience thus far apart from trying to set full screen instantly closes the game. When I restart it, it is still in windowed mode. :(

    • CrunchyLeafGames says:

      Thank you very much for your support!

      We’ll definitely do our best to figure this out. Switching resolutions and restarting might be a quick fix.

      And thanks for joining the forums! :)

  11. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Oh man. Escape Velocity was probably the game that truly got me into gaming. Cant believe this is free, very cool stuff.

  12. CrunchyLeafGames says:

    Hello everyone,

    we just put together an official forum for 3030 Deathwar!

    It’s part of the, coincidentally also recently launched, Crunchy Leaf Games forums.

    Post any thoughts or feedback and share your space adventures!

    You can reach it through here:
    link to crunchyleafgames.com

  13. kermat says:

    Holy cow, 3030 Deathwar is back!
    I just want to know one thing: can I port over my save files from the 2007 release? (pls yes)
    I remember getting stuck in the original release when during one of the Act cutscenes the game would just crash to desktop.

    Also, a tip if you’re interested in EV: Nova and 3030 Deathwar: check out a game called Flatspace IIk. I’d say very similar game, but its story is probably weaker.

    • CrunchyLeafGames says:

      It’s hard to say. There might be issues with the old savegames, as we have changed some of the scripting and missions. Because of this, you might also get stuck later on in the story.

      We’ve also rebalanced cash rewards for missions and almost all of the stats of ships, weapons and upgrades.

      You might want to start a fresh game just to be sure. That way you’ll also get to see the changes we’ve made to the early game! :)

  14. Erlend M says:

    Well, this reminds me of the 1993 DOS game Solar Winds. I only ever played the demo, though, and being a kid at the time I was terrible at it. Seemed like a good idea for a game though, so this one might be quite interesting too.

    • CrunchyLeafGames says:

      Yes! That was a great game! :)

      There’s a really nice Lets Play of it on Youtube for those who’ve never seen it:

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Loved Solar Winds as a kid, although I’ve never re-played it and honestly, I’ve always had the lingering suspicion that it might not have been all that good after all.

      This, on the other hand, looks tremendous. Know what I’ll be checking out tonight~!

  15. quietone says:

    These are the kind of games I love. Bought it right after finishing this article in a blink. And that is why these are the kind of articles I love.

    Thanks, RPS and Crunchy Leaf, for making me a happy guy. I really needed it today.

  16. malkav11 says:

    It’s funny, because the moment I heard it was free, I threw money at it.

  17. vecordae says:

    Linux port. A thing? Or a not-thing? Perhaps, a “It runs fine on wine” or “Maybe if money magically appears to make that happen, we’ll think about it” thing?

    • elderman says:

      Another voice of interest here for a Linux version. When I get a moment I’ll download it to test in Wine and submit an appdb report.

    • CrunchyLeafGames says:

      Hey there, we’ve gotten this question about Mac as well.

      We both don’t have much experience with multi-platform support, but we’d like to look into it once we’ve got this version stable.

      In the meantime, can you please let us know if you do find a way to get it running (wine etc.)?

  18. Dapper Dan says:

    At first I thought this was an article about this link to youtube.com
    Apparently not.

  19. c-Row says:

    That header image really makes me want to play a Mass Effect point and click adventure. Without the alien boning.

  20. theapeofnaples says:

    righteous

  21. frightlever says:

    Obligatory:

    link to voidexpanse.com

  22. level12boss says:

    In the same genre, RPS also recently covered the new and forthcoming Jameson the Pilot (link to 11bitlaunchpad.com).