I am so overjoyed one-time Origin Systems man Chris Roberts is back making space-sims I could robot around the room to Public Image Ltd. Evidently I’m not the only one. C-Rob had to launch a Kickstarter in support of his comeback special, Star Citizen, after a fleet of excitable interstellar pilots crashed his own independent crowdfunding site. Gamers want spaaace. I do too. Lasers in spaaace.
The Wing Commander games were one of my most significant gaming experiences because of everything that made them spesh. Specifically, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger and Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom. I loved these games. Still do. I played them so much they are single-handedly responsible for turning me into a gaming party nightmare as now I can’t play any shooter, first or third-person, without inverting my shiz.
I regret nothing. Heart of the Tiger in particular really worked its way into my gamer’s heart. As much as I loved zipping around the cosmos in my beloved Hellcat frying up some Kilrathi star-bacon and ordering Maniac to do stuff that he subsequently wouldn’t do because he’s a lovable jackass, it was one of the first games whose story gripped me more tightly than its gameplay. This is something I’m hoping C-Rob will not neglect during the construction of Star Citizen. I’m not expecting John Rhys Davies in a goddamn cape, that might be a bit outside his budget. But the things I remember most about Heart of the Tiger and The Price of Freedom are its men and women.
Caning Flash (I had to resort to endless salvos of head-on missiles, that guy is actually really good, don’t tell him that though, gawd) in the simulator duel is legitimately thrilling not only because it’s totally rapid-fire, but because you’re so entrenched in Blair’s standing as the most kickass pilot of all time. If he beats you, he jets off in his Excalibur and he and his prototype craft’s consistent absence thereafter mean you never, ever live it down. You’re so entrenched in everything. When Flint loses it and goes AWOL, I replayed the optional mission to “rescue” her endlessly until she was back stargazing where she belonged. Also I didn’t wanna wind up with Rachel, she has quite the sordid history and meds are not easy to come by in deep space during an intergalactic cat-battle.
The Price of Freedom arrived on something like seven discs, and for good reason. If you’re gonna outdo Heart of the Tiger, you’re gonna need something even heavier. Will Star Citizen trump these games? It’s a markedly different prospect, sure – a clearly ambitious space-faring MMO with a mind for its community. That doesn’t suggest a huge amount of emphasis on narrative, but somehow I don’t think C-Rob will have forgotten the business he started way back when that everything afterwards – Wing Commander: Prophecy, groan – failed to finish. How this might manifest, who knows. This “spiritual successor” doesn’t sound like the same universe, which is fine as long as the vibe is intact. When Chris mentioned that it “will feel like things are happening and new events are occurring in the galaxy,” well now. Form on my wing.