Escape Velocity Successor Endless Sky Available Now

Although not made by members of the original team, Endless Sky [official site] is the closest thing to an Escape Velocity game since the release of Nova in 2002. For those who don’t know Ambrosia’s series, the Escape Velocity games are singleplayer space-based roleplaying fare, sort of like top-down Elite, with all the trading, combat and freedom your pioneering heart craves. They’re excellent and Endless Sky, now available on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux, appears to live up to the legacy. It’s free, open source and there are 50+ ships to own and modify as you work your way across the galaxy.

*Do not adjust your speakers – there’s no sound. Put on whatever your space music of choice is while you watch. I’d recommend this.*

The game was already available to download when I last wrote about it but the Steam release coincides with the addition of the first of three planned storylines, made up of a cluster of missions. There are also plans for Steam Workshop support, so that all of the possible mods can be shared with ease (Star Trek and Wars conversions are surely being mapped out already).

Other plans involve changes to the UI and graphics, as well as the incorporation of additional alien technologies and creation of fully populated space sectors. In the brief time I’ve spent with the game, the most impressive aspect has been the reactive nature of AI ships. There’s a proper sense of existing within a galaxy where business, war and piracy are actually happening, dynamically, rather than being dropped into a sandbox where the only castles are the ones you build yourself.

I think Space Rangers 2 has finally been replaced, having dwelled in one of the innermost chambers of my heart for several years now. Grab the game and the editor and build a new galaxy. It’s a special game, Endless Sky, and hopefully it’s open-source future is as bright as this beginning. And, yes, it’s a ‘beginning’ that comes after years of hard work.

26 Comments

  1. Troubletcat says:

    I’ve been playing this a bit. It’s pretty great. I’d happily pay money for it, crazy that it’s free.

  2. dontnormally says:

    Very exciting! Have been waiting for a proper EV sequel for a long time.

  3. Spuzzell says:

    Oh my golly gosh!

    I was stuck for a week looking after the cats of some pre-hipster hipsters in Clapham when I was a kid, and they only had Macs.

    Excape Velocity was the only game I found to download that was worth playing.

    I shall check this out!

    • kael13 says:

      Hey, I had a Mac before it was cool and the EV series (And Blizzard games) made my childhood bearable!

      • leafdot says:

        You Mac users also had the Marathon games and the Myth series, and those games were pretty great too. (Granted both came out on PC too, but still! You had good stuff too, is my point, albeit not as much.)

  4. slerbal says:

    Oooh, yes. Definitely checking this out :)

  5. Turin Turambar says:

    I think Space Rangers 2 has finally been replaced, having dwelled in one of the innermost chambers of my heart for several years now

    These are strong words!

  6. Premium User Badge

    Angstsmurf says:

    Surprisingly, Ambrosia is apparently still around, offering Escape Velocity Nova for a mind-blowing 30 dollars.

    • Kestrel says:

      Yeah. It’s a total shame that we won’t be seeing more EV from Ambrosia too.

    • Leonick says:

      It’s ridiculous. EV Nova is a fantastic game, if they put it on Steam (or Humble Store/GOG for $10-15) they’d loads of old fans rebuying it and leaving positive reviews, and undoubtedly new players buying as well.

      I doubt the sell a lot of copies for $30 on their site… Honestly, I wonder if they sell any copies at all.

  7. neotribe says:

    Someone needs to do an Avara knockoff/reboot.

    • Josh Grams says:

      Hear hear; Avara was great.

      On another note, I’m surprised they got this on Steam. I had the impression Steam was death on the GPL.

  8. Shadow says:

    I loved EV Nova back in the day.

    I had been considering Rebel Galaxy for the past few days, and it looks like this blows it out of space and is free to boot. Will give it a shot.

    • Caiman says:

      Hell no, Rebel Galaxy is amazing. I was actually going to post here that it’s the best EV Nova-style game I’ve played in years, except of course it’s played from third-person and has somewhat better graphics and sound. The gameplay approach is similar though, especially as it’s played out on a 2D plane, making the combat more like Starfleet Command or Black Flag. Still, I’ll definitely be checking Endless Sky out, but it’s going to have to blow me away to match RG.

  9. kael13 says:

    It really does look like Escape Velocity. I just think the ship designs look a little too much like the original games and not enough like the pretty and interesting designs of Nova.

  10. 0positivo says:

    It’s got its problems: namely, everything dies FAR too quickly, especially capital ships, turning late game fight into more of a reaction test than anything else, and very limited control over your fleet

    That said, that trade interface… golly I wish I had that simple, yet awesome and functional trade interface in every other game ever. Makes setting up a trade route a joy rather than a chore

    It’s good, but right now Rebel Galaxy is still way up there. That said, IT’S FREE! Just try it yourself

    • mukuste says:

      Haha! The lack of music also irked me and I ended up with this, seemed to fit pretty well too:

      • mukuste says:

        Ugh I forgot it does that embedding thing when you just plop the link in there. Sorry for that.

      • Orageon says:

        I was about to post the typical Dune – Spice Opera.

        But man this compilation you posted just blows my mind, thanks heaps. I feel like roleplaying some cyberpunk tabletop now.

  11. mukuste says:

    I spent my evening with this, rather nice! What surprised me most was that the writing is rather solid and evokes completely different planets with a real sense of place in a few paragraphs per location.

    Otherwise it’s quite competent and a pleasing way to spend some hours and reminisce about Frontier: Elite II. It does feel a bit barebones, maybe, haven’t really seen anything which surprised me gameplay-wise, but then it’s still 0.8.smth. Also haven’t done any combat yet, to be fair.

    Oh and the colorcoding for the trade routes is weird and probably buggy and doesn’t make sense to me.

  12. Marblecake says:

    How the hell is this free?! I’d pay for this. Is there a way to give the dude money?

  13. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    More appropriate music, IMHO: link to youtube.com

    A game akin to Escape Velocity? Always a good thing in my book. Well, if it is up to scratch.

  14. Silva Shadow says:

    Anything that ever gets Space Rangers mentioned, gets a download.

  15. Premium User Badge

    sabby787 says:

    I can’t say this without sounding snarky but I genuinely want to know why people think Space Rangers is so good. The blurb sold me, the gameplay bored me after a few hours but it’s a game I do want to play a ton of (Mount and Blade also) but just can’t figure it out.