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Stardock wants to give  Star Control  the  XCOM  reboot treatment
Stardock wants to give Star Control the XCOM reboot treatment
July 23, 2013 | By Kris Graft

The classic Star Control series is set for a reboot, thanks to Galactic Civilizations developer Stardock.

The developer confirmed today that it acquired from bankrupt Atari the rights to the classic PC action-strategy series, which first debuted in 1990. Stardock is wasting no time getting started on the new installment -- the Michigan-based studio said today that development is starting this year, with a release date to be determined.

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said, "We expect the new Star Control to come in the form of a reboot, similar to what Firaxis did with the XCOM series last year. We are looking at Star Control II as a major source of inspiration."

What Firaxis "did" with XCOM last year was take a dormant, cult hit PC strategy game series and turn it into a multi-platform, commercially-viable franchise that was lauded by fans and critics -- not an easy task.

Stardock has had its eye on the franchise for years. CEO Wardell told Gamasutra in 2008 that he actually had pitched (unsuccessfully) an idea for a new Star Control game to Atari. It wasn't until Atari went bankrupt and started selling off its assets that Wardell and his company could successfully make a move.

Star Control is an exploration-driven strategy game that was created by Toys for Bob -- the now Activision-owned studio that created the megahit Skylanders franchise.

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Ramin Shokrizade
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I remember a few years back when Brad was asking the community which game they would like them to make next. A sequel to both Star Control and Masters of Magic were on the table. Stardock ended up going with the latter, resulting in Elemental which did not have the fun factor of their earlier titles. The latest iteration is better but still not on par with MoM. I would love to see Stardock "reboot" Star Control, but again all of us fans are just a bit nervous that we also don't want such a beloved franchise "rebooted" in poor shape.

Ron Dippold
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Please, please, hire someone(s) decent at comedy writing. It's extremely hard to do well, especially in games, it's the heart of Star Control 2, and just having the regular staff writing 'funny' stuff will fail spectacularly flat. Unless you just want to do it po-faced because humor's too risky - that'd be a better choice than blowing it.

Slade Anderson
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It takes a "*Happy Camper*" to write for the Orz. I hope they at least consult with Toys for Bob or I will be "Frumple".

Philip Minchin
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Definitely agree. Games more than any other medium depend on deep comedy, where the humour arises from the essential characters rather than engineered situations or specific flashes of pre-formulated wit - that's the only way that you can make malleable timing and outcomes consistently funny.

The fact that you can help a Pkunk take the Yehat throne (and everything that leads up to that happening), or the last Shofixti's stubborn defense of his burnt-out star, still make me chuckle. But it means nothing to people who haven't played the games, because you have to really understand what "Pkunk", "Yehat" and "Shofixti" actually mean for the jokes to work.

(Interestingly, both the Pkunk's determination to reconcile with the Yehat and the Shofixti's refusal to trust you made me laugh, but also made me incredibly exasperated at first. Proof that comedy = tragedy [well, irritation] + time? Or proof that I was getting into my straight man role too much, and one of the ways games are unique is that the player can actually be inside the joke?)

The fact that all are entirely serious about their ridiculous natures, and that you even come to see the nobility in their very different approaches, is all part of why they work so well. It's not about creating stereotypes for cheap, mocking laughs - or other easy reactions for that matter; they all have their integrity. The psychopathic Ilwrath are monsters, but also victims of actually quite a vicious prank (impersonating someone's god?); the Ur-Quan have reasons for their crusades of annihilation and enslavement... Even the species that superficially appeared to be there just for juvenile fan-service, the Syreen, took on some genuine depth by the end of the game.

TL;DR Thank you Stardock! I am incredibly excited! But PLEASE hire top-notch writers who loved the game as much as we all did. (PS I'm available!) (PPS Though possibly not top-notch :( )

Dimitri Del Castillo
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"Like, Awwk Awwwk, man!"

The Pkunk were the greatest race in any game!

Kenan Alpay
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Please don't screw it up.

Chris Melby
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If this gets turned into another FPS, I'll cry. :(

Michael Mullins
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Stardock doesn't do those. Design misapplications will probably err on the side of Galactic Civilizations if they err.

Chris Melby
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I have my fingers crossed and I'm with Ron, the humor is so important for this game... And the music... And the gameplay...

If it's no worse off than Star Control 3, than I'd be OK with the end result I guess.

Josh D
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That's kind of how I feel - Star Con 3 wasn't good, but it wasn't horrible either, and I'd imagine the improved graphics coupled with the nostalgia would at least give me some solace. I'm still praying for a respectable tribute, though.

Chris Melby
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Same here. If they can at least get some consulting from the original guys, I'd have more confidence.

John Flush
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Hum... might have to watch this one close. I actually liked all three games (if you can count the first one as a legit game). SC3 gets a lot of flack because it wasn't made by Toys for Bob, that and the whole muppet CGI wasn't any good. But all in all I thought the story and back-story of everyone across all three games was definitely interesting.

Would probably be a harder sell these days though as most of the interesting parts of the sci-fi have been ripped out and rehashed to no end these days, the most recent example was Mass Effect. If they even try to make it similar to the original everyone will be calling it a ME clone of sorts, with less 3rd person shooting and wandering.

Chris Melby
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The first ME is one of my favorite games in the past 10 years. I could see the scenario you described happening and it would cause me frustration to say the least. O.O

Todd Boyd
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SC2 is so deeply-steeped in nostalgia, they will need to tread very lightly here or risk alienating (ha!) die-hard fans of the series.