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?
To preface this, Stardock has the publishing rights to Star Control classic 1/2/3 plus the trademark. To use an analogy, Stardock is the publisher of Sins of a Solar Empire (however we don't have the trademark, our friends/partners Ironclad own the trademark). However, we don't' own the rights to the aliens or the lore. We have a license to use them for the publishing of Star Control 1/2/3.
We've talked to Paul and Fred who still run Toys for Bobs even to this day. While they expressed interest in working on a new Star Control, Toys for Bob is now owned by Activision.
In movie terms, it's akin to the way the Marvel comics properties tend to get split up between Sony, Fox, and Marvel Studios (Disney).
The bottom line is that the new Star Control will NOT have the aliens from the original in it. The most we will likely to is have illusions to them. We're going to create a new continuity where the Star Control classic continuity (Star Control Ur-Quan) is separate from the new Star Control.
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.
However, the NEW game will not have any of that in it. It'll be all new.
There will be people who will absolutely not accept a new Star Control that doesn't have the Spathi, etc.
What do you think is the best approach for handling that?
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.