Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, EVE Valkyrie, No Man’s Sky: Our Grand Return To Space

Posted by Simon on August 19, 2014
Games, News

Lego spaceship

It’s a wonderful time. Finally, after years of neglect and half-assed mobile entries, the space game is back. EVE Online‘s held the ground for a few years, but its systems and politics are incomprehensible to all but the most devout of players. These emerging titles, together with seemingly mandatory support for the Oculus Rift VR headset, hold the promise that’s been burning in the hearts of everyone who’s been raised on a diet of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica: to sit in the cockpit and twirl through the stars in the hot bloom of a thousand enemy lasers.

Let’s start with the biggest single crowdfunded thing in history.

Star Citizen

The baby of Chris Roberts, legendary designer of Wing Commander, Star Citizen started strong and got stronger. Fantastic ship design, amazingly ambitious stretch goals and an absolute refusal to make the thing run on anything but high-end PCs has really sold it to the masses, and its funding just surpassed a staggering fifty million dollars. The latest stretch goal was hiring linguists to create genuine individual spoken languages for a number of the game’s alien races. Yep. Here’s early footage of the game in action from PAX 2014:

Elite: Dangerous

And while we’re on the subject of legendary space game designers, here’s David Braben’s return to the genre. His first space title,1984’s Elite, may have run on a BBC Micro but it held an entire galaxy of space warfare and trade. It’s further along in development than Star Citizen and has full integration with the latest version of Oculus Rift, and a rather giddy report about the beta on Kotaku makes it sound like a truly epic experience. Here’s a little something to whet your appetite – just image this through a VR headset:

EVE Valkyrie

An offfshoot of the aforementioned “EVE Online”, the first-person space combat project has been impressing for a while. Excitingly, it’s been announced for the PS4 and will use Sony’s own VR headset, Project Morpheus. Here’s EVE Valkyrie in action:

No Man’s Sky

My most wanted game and a glorious love letter to the front covers of  70’s sci-fi novels. Made by Hello Games in the UK, a (relatively) tiny team that made the enjoyable Joe Danger series, No Man’s Sky places you in a procedurally-generated universe that you’ll never, ever finish exploring. Spot a planet and you can fly down through the atmosphere and land anywhere you want on the surface. Climb out of your ship and walk around, taking in the sights. If danger threatens, jump back in your craft and blast back into space without a loading screen in sight. Throw in space dogfighting and beautiful art direction and you might have my game of the century. Take a look at the awesome E3 trailer:

Enemy Starfighter

On the slightly cheaper budget side, there’s Enemy Starfighter. It’s a great example of how slick action and great ship design can make up for not have a $50million Kickstarter behind you. Here’s the PAX 2014 trailer:

 

Honorable Mentions: 

FTL: Faster than Light is a fantastic management resource sim in space. Get your ship across a hostile galaxy while your enemies snap at your heels. Compelling and addictive. Steam, iPad

Flotilla, made by Blendo Games, is a slow-paced space combat sim where you map out the movements of slow, hulking battlecruisers to the calming soundtrack of classical music. High on strategy for those times you need a Kirk fix. Steam

Space Engineers is wonderful. Build your own ships piece by piece from unlimited resources in creative mode then smash them together and watch them shatter. A great Early Access game that’s recently added a survival mode. Steam

 

Top picture: Amazing custom Lego spaceship by dasnewten.

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