Star Control: September 2015 update
The team is now fully staffed with the exception of bringing on one additional animator. It is now, the largest game project currently underway at Stardock across all studios in terms of monthly budget.
For those of you who remember the development of the original Star Control series, you may recall that Paul and Fred worked very closely with fan (SC2 mainly). In fact, thanks to Paul and Fred we've been able to team up Riku who did most of the best known tracks for Star Control 2 back in 1992 and he's in charge of the new sound track.
Now, that said, we have a number of challenges that we need help with. I'll list them below.
Challenge #1: IS Star Control Star Control without the Spathi?
The new Star Control is a prequel. It takes place before the events of the original series.
And for those who are deeply into the Star Control lore, our long-term plan is to make the Star Control universe a multiverse. The Famous battles of the Ur-Quan conflict (part of which is told in Star Control 1 and Star Control 2) take place in one universe. By contrast, Star Control 3 takes place in a separate universe.
As mentioned, Paul and Fred are the ones who wrote the Ur-Quan conflict lore that manifests partly in the first two Star Control games. Today, Paul and Fred, the founders of Toys for Bob, work at Activision which precludes them from being able to work on the new Star Control. However, since Star Control is a multiverse, we can, with patience, hopefully wait for the day for a continuation of the Ur-Quan story.
That said, regardless the new Star Control won't deal with the aliens from the Ur-Quan stories for multiple reasons. First, in the Ur-Quan lore, the humans join the Alliance of Free Stars in 2116, 4 years after the humans are contacted by the Chenjesu and our story takes place in 2086. Second, because we don't want to interfere with Paul and Fred's story, we want to wait until they're free to work on their story again to continue it.
From Stardock's point of view, Paul and Fred own the Ur-Quan lore and in fact, this lore goes well beyond what was seen in Star Control 1 and 2. So while Stardock owns the Star Control universe, we don't make any claim on their lore. Similarly, post-release if others create their own lore for their own universes, Stardock won't be making any claims on that lore either (i.e. no sneaky EULA that tries to lay claim to any lore/assets made that uses the new Star Control engine).
When you visit www.starcontrol.com later this Fall, you will absolutely see both classic and new aliens together since we support both the new Star Control and the original trilogy. We plan to provide a fairly elaborate series of pages to support Paul and Fred's backstory so that it's kept alive for the day when they can return to the Ur-Quan story.
Challenge #2: What IS Star Control?
While game designs are always unique, I'd like to propose that we look at what we are working on together collective as a specific genre (like 4X strategy).
In Star Control's case: It's an action adventure game. Specifically, an action adventure game in which you play as the Earthlings, go out into the galaxy and meet aliens, go on quests, explore planets, and have space battles.
That is what we're in the process of creating.
Challenge #3: Defining some core values
Each person will have their own vision of what they think a new Star Control must contain. Like I said above, SOME people will absolutely say that Star Control is about the Ur-Quan and the Spathi and so forth.
For me, it's a bit more general. I want to interact with really interesting aliens that are well written, funny, charming and try out lots of cool ships, design my own custom ship, etc. That's why we brought on comedy writers early on and have put a lot of budget behind making sure that we're prepared to record 11 hours of voice acting that will be handle through our engine's lips syncing tech (our engine is made by the some guys who led Civilization V's engineering PLUS additional veterans from around the industry).
Challenge #4: Satisfying the super fans
So how are we going to make the hard core fans happy?
Broadly speaking (without giving too much away) we plan to provide fairly extravagant mod tools. Tools well beyond what has ever been made outside of say Spore.
If you've read "Ready Player One" then you have a pretty good idea of the authoring level we are going for. We'll be talking a lot more about this as we progress.
The main point is that our goal is to make the Star Control universe all-encompassing. Infinite continuities with OUR included initial campaign just one of an endless number that the community can provide. If you've seen what the Ur-Quan masters team have done, imagine if they had millions of dollars in engineering hours designated to providing tools and support to ensure that there's a never ending stream of Star Control content.
Anyway, that's where we are now.