Evochron Legacy Blasts Off Into Sandbox Space

I’ve always been impressed that sandbox space sim series Evochron is mostly the work of one man, StarWraith’s Shawn Bower. Heck, I’m even more impressed now big names and big budgets have now returned to space sims as points of comparison. I’m awful at Evochron–always floundering and giving up in demos–but I’m glad it exists.

So hey, look, Evochron Legacy [official site] came out this week. It has a demo too.

First, the basic Evochron pitch from StarWraith:

“Evochron Legacy is a freeform space flight simulation that focuses on ‘lone-wolf’ survival gameplay and pilot controlled spacecraft management. The environment setting is a vast seamless style universe where you can perform many activities including buying, trading, spying, racing, escorting, delivering, emergency responding, mining, exploring, weapon/equipment crafting, cleaning solar panels, clearing paths through asteroid fields, recruiting, protecting, hiring crew members, fuel harvesting, building stations/cities, and designing/selling ships.”

It’s got online multiplayer on top of singleplayer offline play.

What’s new to Legacy? Ah. Do you want me to make that snappy? Summarise it neatly? Well, as ever, Legacy is an evolution of Evochron rather than something radically different. Looks like new things this time include an economy more responsive to players affecting supply/demand, more detailed planet surfaces and the ability to build cities on them, new weapons, new technologies to play with, new types of contract, and new models and textures for loads of ships and stations and whatnot (made by a modeller Bower hired). Here, dig into this development page for many more details.

Evochron Legacy is £17.09 on Steam, including a 10% launch discount, and $24.95 (about £23 including taxes) from StarWarith. Folks who own Evochron Mercenary can probably get a 40% discount, automatically on Steam or through here for StarWraith.


  1. FriendlyFire says:

    It’d be good if they upgraded the engine at least once. The game still looks and feels like something straight out of 2006.

    • Legion1183 says:

      My thoughts exactly. Its a shame because it really does sound great, what with all the features mentioned. But I just can’t bring myself to play a space sim with an outdated engine such as this when there are so many other gorgeous looking spacesims available. Its understandable, one guy doing all this is amazing and well done to him.

    • CloneWarrior85 says:

      I would agree if it wasn’t the case knowing that this is a 1 man game (well 2, 2nd guy making the new models).

      It’s still pretty damn impressive for so much work, and frankly this is 1 of those games that the gameplay far surpasses any AAA graphics game + gameplay put together.

  2. derbefrier says:

    I have messed around with it a bit ( finishing up some games before i go all out). bottom line, its Evochron Mercenary 2. its still basically the same game but pretty much everything has been improved and there are a few new features. If you like Mercenary you really cant go wrong here, specially with the nice discount Owners of Mercenary get.

  3. Sin Vega says:

    I really ought to give the last one another try, I never played it properly. Impressed to see such a robust discount, too.

  4. rsf says:

    RPS should interview this guy. He’s been single-handedly following his dream of making a seamless, procedural, space sim long before space sims got back in vogue.

    Before he released on Steam, there were only one or two mentions by news sites including by RPS, and no reviews. The game series might have had some issues with accessibility etc. in the past (haven’t seen a review of the new version), but it did offer plenty that was unique, that would have been met with purchases, had it received more exposure.

    I imagine it’s been quite a journey for him, and he has said the stress of it caused him some health issues. He probably has a thing or two to say about difficulties in indie development, and how the way the industry works relates to funding reaching meritorious projects.

    • gabrielonuris says:

      That’s a thing I’ve never understood with this market; I mean, this guy alone has made what Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen are struggling to accomplish, and he already released 2 games, and with a reasonable price. Seriously, why this guy isn’t showing his face on magazines and blogs really baffles me to no end.

      • Premium User Badge

        Waltorious says:

        More than two games, actually… Evochron Legacy is the SEVENTH Evochron game, although it’s only the three previous games have had the full seamless universe with planetary descents and whatnot. He’s also made several games that are mission-based like Wing Commander and TIE Fighter.

        • gabrielonuris says:

          You gotta be kidding me… I need to see those other titles right now.

      • Shadow says:

        I haven’t tried the mission-based Evochrons, but the latest three open world games are essentially iterations of the same one. Mercenary was an improved version of Legends, and now Legacy is an improvement of Mercenary. It’s essentially the same game, continuously developed for a good number of years.

        They’re good games, and were practically the only modern space sims for a while, but hardly spectacular in my experience, having played Legends and some of Mercenary. My main beef with it is that the universe is immensely generic, and a lot of the alleged depth in roles sounds more interesting on paper than it actually is. Then there’s the engine, which is considerably outdated.

        At least now with Legacy, it seems there’s been a change in art direction, and spacecraft no longer look like various shapes of rock.

  5. SomeDuder says:

    Derek Smart, Derek Smart, Derek Smart!

    There, the beast will appear soon and explain how his one-man creation is better than this game.

    • Silent_Thunder says:

      I once tried his game. Operative word tried. I think Harpoon had a more concise and digestable manual.

      I’ll wait for the like 1 person here who knows what I’m talking about.

      • Zenicetus says:

        I never tried one of his games, but as someone who has followed the space game genre since forever, I’ve always admired the ambition of his concepts. On the other hand, I’ve inevitably run into enough incredibly over-hyped comments by him that don’t match the delivery, and feedback from those who have played those games, that I think I know exactly what you’re talking about.

        I’m still waiting for some other developer to create what he had in mind for Battlecruiser 3000AD and make it work. I would buy that game.

        • Silent_Thunder says:

          Oh No I meant I’m waiting for the one person who gets my Harpoon refrence.

          • Josh Grams says:

            Oh, there have got to be plenty of people here who have played Harpoon. Don’t there? Don’t there…?

            /me feels old now.

        • Kong says:

          Battlecruiser 3000AD was fascinating.
          For a few hours. Ambitious and ahead of its time, maybe a litte over the head of its developer.
          To say Derek Smart accomplished nothing is not fair. His soial skills might be lacking, but as a single programmer he did an impressive job. His work may pale when compared to Evochron, but it was inspiring.

  6. Hobbes says:

    Evochron – Doing what Elite : Dangerous has been doing, except doing it *properly* for a lot longer.

    If I could just get Elite : Dangerous to marry their graphics and sound to Evochron’s single player and attention to detail…

    Well, I can dream.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I only played one version of Evochron, I think it was the version before the last one. There are some things I remember that I wouldn’t mind seeing in Elite Dangerous like tighter mission design and more things to do. But one reason I didn’t stick with it very long was the enemy AI in combat. I know this is a one-man effort and it’s very impressive on that level, but the combat just wasn’t that interesting. Lots of boring circular tail chases. Not that the AI combat is all that wonderful in ED, but it does seem a little better.

      Also, while both Evochron and ED have speed caps, I think I get a better impression of speed during combat in ED than what I remember in Evochron. Too-slow speed caps are one of my pet peeves with cockpit-focused space games. It feels like jousting with WW1 biplanes in some of these games, instead of rocket ships.

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        Waltorious says:

        I think I played the same version as you, Evochron: Legends. I remember that the game had an “inertial dampening system” which, when turned on, would limit your top speed so you could make better maneuvers. This made the ship behave more like the ships do in TIE Fighter or Wing Commander. But if you turned this off, then you could reach much higher speeds, and spin around without changing direction. Of course, there was still a speed cap, but when flying at speeds near the cap it was basically impossible for enemy ships to hurt you, because missiles and other weapons simply weren’t fast enough. High speed flights were a great way to get through dangerous areas unmolested.

        I’ve never played Elite: Dangerous though, so maybe it has even higher cap speeds?

  7. racccoon says:

    Its way to ordinary there too many games of similar graphics and abilities, I, if I prefer would re dig up n play Empyrion – Galactic Survival again.

  8. Det. Bullock says:

    [Yelling at clouds mode ON]Big names and big budgets but no new Star Wars spacesim yet, as I said before at least a remake of X-wing vs Tie Fighter would be nice, it wouldn’t cost much and you could make additional DLC campaigns easily to make the DLC-loving suits at EA content.

    Or just imagine a sequel to X-wing Alliance that follows the Azzameen family through the time after the Battle of Endor, come on EA, you won’t even have to spend that much: just throw in mouse support for those who don’t have a joystick or a gamepad and you’ll have a good mid-budget title that’ll make you a lot of money.

    Oh, you don’t do mid-budget?
    Silly me. [Yelling at clouds mode OFF]

    Said that, I should really try this one sooner or later, the fact that there is no demo has always kept me away from Elite, I always find open world space sims hit or miss.

    • Zenicetus says:

      For what it’s worth, I think Elite Dangerous is worth the money just for the experience of the first 5 or 10 hours, if you’re a fan of cockpit-level space games.

      I have some minor quibbles about the flight model, but I think Frontier nailed the experience of climbing into your first small spaceship and taking it out for a spin, in an awesome-looking Galaxy. It’s especially great if you have a joystick/HOTAS and head tracker from other flight sims.

      The open question is whether you’d still enjoy what the game has to offer after that point, and it’s hard to predict. I played it intensively during the Beta, and just couldn’t stay interested in what was available on the singleplayer side of the game after it was released.

      • Det. Bullock says:

        Well, while not a HOTAS (no space unfortunately) I do have a joystick (and quite an expensive one because after years of 4 button budget sticks I wanted to treat myself for once), I’m indeed worried about what there is to play after those first 10 hours, there are many on the ‘net that say there isn’t much to do as a single player game.

  9. Kerr Avon says:

    Yo Saturnalia! Thanks spanks for the heads up dear Alice, you just saved me some money!! Oh and give my regards to Des, dear lady. Och aye the noo, aye.

  10. Kerr Avon says:

    By the way, anyone playing this game (as well as Elite Dangerous and Star citizen) should definitely check out http://hcsvoicepacks.com and try the Tom Baker, Paul Darrow, Brian Blessed and Norman Lovett ship computer voices. Just watch some youtube videos on it for more info, for example: link to youtube.com