Well... I'll try to answer to these questions. Please, read this post completelly.
As a foreword. Star Control II came years before my birth, and I firstly met this game in 2013. But, unfortunately, I didn't play in it then, because I was too afraid of time limit. Afraid for nothing absolutely, but I was too afraid to loose. I have read many information about this game, but didn't play the SC2 before I met one great article about its tale and read it completely... and it already was the reason to place this game №1 in my personal list of the best games ever for me. I didn't listen to the music, I didn't play game actually for this moment! But then I played this game and listened to the music, when I became interested in it... and understood, that the game is even better, that I considered before, and the giving of the rank of the best game I've ever met is not enough. I feel awkward that didn't play this game before, because if I did it, I didn't waste much time for trying to find a thing I need. You'll ask, how many days ago it happened? Ten, and only one day to consider that this game is the best. Therefore, I'm not a nostalgic fan; other reasons drive me to say about this game as a masterpiece (I'll say about them later).
I could write about the suggestions, what should the developers do to encourage me to play. But even if I was hard core fan, did I have many rights to talk about it? Well, I don't think so. I didn't create any game, didn't write music, didn't write a tale, didn't write a code, didn't draw sprites yet. Even if I did it totally awfully - at least it was the trying; but I even didn't try yet. I don't think I should judge other people, when I achieved a little in development.
I'll start with third question - about the values of the upcoming game (valuable for me). Well, I think, they are the same with Star Control 2. You’ll ask, what are these values?
It’s not the graphics. They are great in SC2, no doubt, and even while there are outdated for now (24 years passed), they are great no less (I play with them, not with HD sprites). The sprites of Yehat, Shofixti are the little part of the sprites I like; it’s hard to believe, that the resolution of this picture is 320x200, and it use only 256 colors. It was the highest resolution for 1992, but even for this resolution it looks amazing. But it’s not the most valuable thing in this game for me. Another most favorite (for me) games – Sacred 1/2, Duke Nukem 3D, Dungeon Siege 1/2, Wither 1 – also have graphics, outdated for now, but it don’t spoil the gaming even a little. I’m the gamer who think that the graphics is the least valuable reason to not play the game. Let it be not surely hi-end, I don’t think that this game will be less great a little.
It’s not the music. I love original MOD music, and often listen to it using foobar2000 (yes, I’m listening to the original Protracker module files, not WAV/OGG/MP3 recordings). I like voice action, especially Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah’s. But it’s also not the most valuable thing for me. I will accept this game even with not masterpiece music and voice action, just with good.
It’s not a gameplay. Of course, it’s one of the most valuable part of each game... but if the gameplay are absolutely the same, it sometimes most likely clone of remake, not another game. No doubt, that the base of it – like diplomacy, traiding system – are the base of true SC2. But I’ll accept changes that don’t alter the base.
This is the lore. More specifically, character’s motives. What made me to consider it masterpiece? The fact that the lore makes you to really believe, that, whatever the alien races do, they didn’t have a choice.
Ur-Quan? They’re bad guys, of course. But what they have to do after their slavery, which showed that even weak race can submit another. And Dnyarri didn’t even have weapons and ships for invasion; they did without both. Due to the large size of the Galaxy, Ur-Quans were put before the choice – to wait the next invasion from unknown side or to prevent it. Such a human reaction...
Yehats? I wish I had a choice if the race of the my friends almost disappeared because of other race, and my Queen decided to makes me a slave of that race just to keep a promise to keep the peace eternally. And my friend suddenly returned from oblivion...
Shofixti? If you have weak ships and lost the last battle, what you have to do instead of using last chance to harm your enemy? Some sources even say that Ur-Quan lost about 3/10 of the fleet. Not bad... bad thing that it didn’t stop their invasion a little.
Syreen? What to talk about the resistance without the planet and the fleet... But with powerful friend after getting the fleet – it’s must be a personal duty to destroy the race that destroyed their whole homeworld.
You say that Ur-Quan, Shofixti, Syreen, Yehat are aliens? Yes and no. They are just renamed humans, who behave like regular human from 1992, who talks like human from 1992, reacts like human from 1992. Every people can find himself in one of them. This is the thing that, in my opinion, is the most valuable. I met before this game thousands tales with bad guys; in most cases, bad guys did bad things... simply because they’re bad guys. Hardly 10% of them tried to explain why they did that. But I’ve never met before such realistic explanation. This tale helped me to understand, what I should do in my affairs. For me, unstamped and realistic plots are as valuable as gold (not a joke). It was the thing I tried to find for monthes. Why? Well... let it be a little secret (not such, but don’t want to talk about it on topics, better to talk about it in the privacy letters).
And the texts. They’re also masterpiece; its level is the level of the, maybe, «The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy», no less. Because of this game, I remember the meaning the words like «filth», «cleanse», «wrath», and will know more (yes, English isn’t my native language). Many phrases like «You are no longer filth. You are a threat. A threat deserves greater attention than filth» are easily memorable; they can sometimes be used in real life speech (not often, of course).
My only wish to the upcoming game is to create another plot (of course, another game will have another plot), but with not less realistic motives and great texts/dialogs. For me, that’s the things that make Star Control to be Star Control.
Then I’ll try to answer – what IS SC2?
Some people say, it’s action game. I’m absolutely agree. Some people say, it’s RPG. I’m agree again. But I think, it’s also a kind of real-time based strategy. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll answer.
Imagine yourself as a newbie (and more specifically – as me, when I ran this game first time). You may know the tale, but it’s only a half of the answer how to beat this game. The other half is yours. What will you do?
If you’ll fly to Pkunk firstly, you’ll most likely travel in Iwrath’s space. They’ll find you before you meet Gamma Krueger, and they’ll easily defeat you. If you firstly found Taalo shield and decided to fly to Umgah to get the Dnyarri, you forgot that they’re the slaves of Ur-Quan; even with their weak ships, they’ll kill you before you will land on their homeplanet. If you want to fly firstly to Slylandro’s home (with no use of QuasiSpace), say goodbye to your fuel, time and safety; Slylandro probes will find you on the way, while you can compare nothing to it’s thunderbolts. And don’t forget, they are almost on the opposide side of the map. You consider the probes as thing, that don’t deserve any attention? Well, you consider that your crew costs nothing, because they will appear more often as you’ll play longer. Decided not to save Shofixti? Well, you can beat the game, but say goodbye to Shofixti’s ships, cheap crew, Yehat’s and Pkunk’s forses in last battle. You play this game too long? Meet the Death March and game over. You was rude to the candidate for allie? Well, you lost some support from them; sometimes you became unable to beat the game. There are thousands of ways how to beat his game, but the player should wisely choose his way. I spent hours just looking on the map and thinking where should I go. For me, it’s most likely Civilization, but not turn-based. Not the actual game genre, but nearly as.
The next question is: is Star Control without Spathi a Star Control?
I think – yes, of course. Just ten days ago I confused Umgah with Utwig, Shofixti with Spathi, didn’t remember, who is who. But learned it in three days. This fact makes me to guess, that changing a name of races (except, maybe, humans, but not entirely sure) don’t prevent neither old, or new players to play in new game.
As for the races aside from their names... Also yes. As I said above, the only differences between them and regular humans we meet in usual life is the names. It’s such conditionally, how to choose them... The only thing I wish is to make them behave and talk also like real people (lold about it above).
And the last question. About the hard core fans.
Hmm... I’m not a hard core fan, so I really dunno what to say. As for another plot? Depending on things I was talking about above, I guess that it won’t be a great loss. There are many examples how the game series changed lore and remained to be good. Sacred 1 and 2, Quake 1 and 2, every GTA game – they don’t have much joint story. I don’t sure that it’s the same case, but they’re can be the same. If it is, I guess that some easter eggs from original games are necessary, but not much bigger.
Maybe the balanced mix of old and new features will help to make them happy?
That’s all. You’ve already read my poor half of cent. Sorry for any typos or grammars, as I said, English ain’t my native language. In my country, Star Control 2 unfortunately isn’t popular as it could be, but I guess that it’s mostly due to requirement of perfect English knowledge to play, and if the upcoming game will attract the fans, with translation it will be hit game.
While playing SC2, it's hardly to not notice the great love of the developers to the game. It's a very big feeling, and I believe that all difficulties will be overcomed.