Without genre-blending space adventure Star Control, we probably wouldn’t have the likes of Mass Effect, so today’s launch of a modern reboot – Star Control: Origins – seems reason to cheer. Offering silly branching dialogues, arcade space combat and planetside exploration mini-games, it looks like a fine time, full of odd aliens to meet, planets to explore, and spaceships to shoot at.
It’s just a pity that my enthusiasm is dulled by a still-ongoing legal battle between Star Control: Origins developers Stardock and original Star Control 1 and 2 leads Fred Ford and Paul Reiche over who owns the rights to the series and its universe. Still, if that’s not an issue, more power to you – Star Control: Origins is out now. Below, a charmingly daft launch trailer.
While Star Control: Origins bears the name of the series, it’s officially a hard reboot, set in a fresh universe with some similar concepts. That means no menacing Ur-Quan, paranoid Spathi or cheerfully menacing Orz, but the new races below seem a likeably cartoonish set of alt-universe parallels. They’re clearly better than the horrible designs from Star Control 3 which we shall not speak of any more here. The game systems looks like familiar stuff, too, featuring physics-driven arcade combat, although the planetary exploration segment looks like a major improvement.
I speak only for myself here, but if the situation surrounding the game were different I’d probably be pouncing on Origins right now. Sadly, a combination of the legal messiness surrounding it and my towering backlog threatening to smoosh me out of existence means that I’m most likely going to skip on this one. I will, however, recommend that anyone new to the series check out The Ur-Quan Masters HD, available here – a free fan-made remaster of the second game. Don’t worry, it’s a nicely standalone story.