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Stardock CEO Wardell Eyes  Star Control ,  Orion , And More

Stardock CEO Wardell Eyes Star Control, Orion, And More Exclusive

November 17, 2008 | By Chris Remo

November 17, 2008 | By Chris Remo
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

Stardock's recently-announced Elemental: War of Magic is the developer's own internal creation -- but it's no secret that the Michigan-based company originally intended to secure the sequel rights to Microprose's 1995 game Master of Magic.

As it turns out, that's not the only lapsed property the Stardock team dreams of getting its hands on -- and not the only one currently owned by Atari, for that matter.

"I actually pitched Atari on a whole idea for a true successor to Star Control," CEO Brad Wardell tells Gamasutra, noting that the game would follow original series developer Toys for Bob's Star Control II rather than the Legend Entertainment-developed Star Control 3 ("We just pretend that never happened," the CEO says of that release).

The exploration-driven space strategy game is said to have influenced Stardock's Galactic Civilizations series as well as Ironclad Games' Sins of a Solar Empire, also published by Stardock.

Novato, California-based Toys for Bob has actually floated the idea of making its own Star Control II sequel, with co-creator Paul Reiche III indicating he has tossed potential design ideas around, but with the company now owned by publisher Activision the proposal seems to be stuck in limbo.

Wardell also mentioned Simtex's Master of Orion as a franchise he would like to see Stardock continue. Like Star Control, its third entry was developed by a different studio -- in this case, Quicksilver Software -- and was not as well-regarded as the original games.

"We'd like to do a Master of Orion 4," said Wardell, noting that those rights are owned by Atari as well. "It would be an updated Master of Orion 2. There would be more to it, but that would be the basis of it."

He took the opportunity to deliver some stern words to those entrusted with a series they did not create: "If you're making a game that ends with '3,' or Something: The Sequel, it should be similar to the original game," he claimed.

Wardell noted: "Don't go off and say, 'I have my own artistic vision.' Okay, good -- so call it something else. Don't ride the coattails of the people who came before you to launch your own artistic vision."

And Elemental, influenced by Master of Magic but not officially based on it, is not the first time Stardock has developed its own property inspired by a best-case hypothetical scenario.

"I would never have done those Galactic Civilizations games in the first place if someone had made a Civilization-in-space game," Wardell laughed. "If [Sid Meier's] Alpha Centauri had been in space [rather than on another] planet, I never would have made it."

The CEO told Gamasutra that Stardock is building up a second full internal development team, and is tossing around various project ideas. "We'd like to do a roleplaying game too," he said, pointing to BioWare classics like Baldur's Gate II and Knights of the Old Republic as examples of the route he would like to take.

It would be "the same style of isometric gameplay -- not first person -- where I have a party that I'm interacting with," he explained, even calling out a specific Baldur's Gate II character.

"I think there are a lot of people who want that. They want to have a party again. They want to have a Minsc-type character in there. You can't have that interesting banter if it's just one guy running around."

"Someone's going to have to do it," he said, tossing out the idea of Demigod collaborator Gas Powered Games as a theoretical example. "If it's not another studio, it's got to be Stardock."

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