Free Stars – Star Control Returns with Precursor Devs!

Many individuals who grew up enjoying science fiction games are likely to have encountered the Star Control series at some point. For those who haven’t, you can acquire Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters for free through an entirely legal and officially endorsed source. If you’ve never experienced it, you won’t appreciate the sheer delight I feel, knowing that the next chapter of the story is on the (Event) horizon.

To comprehend the deep affection people hold for the Star Control games, let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane.

The original Star Control, known for its iconic battles during the Ur-Quan Conflict, blended real-time spaceship warfare with tactical components. The turn-based strategy was influenced by Paul Reiche III’s 1983 creation, Archon, while ship combat purportedly drew inspiration from the classic game, Spacewar! Players could select from a variety of scenarios where rival fleets clashed on a captivating rotating star map—a remarkable programming feat. Honestly, it’s one of the coolest features I’ve seen in any game, and for the time, I don’t think anything like it had been made before!

Once ships engaged in combat, they embarked on an arcade-style battle, with two vessels vying for supremacy in the frigid expanse of space.

The ship-to-ship combat was brilliant and groundbreaking, with vessels increasing in size as they drew nearer, each using energy to fire weapons and employ abilities unique to each ship. A depleting crew complement resulted from each hit, and once the entire crew is wiped out, the victor advanced further into the conflict, leaving the broken dust of their opponent to dissipate in space.

This exceptional and extraordinary game was succeeded by Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters, which eliminated the turn-based strategy elements and replaced them with an adventure where you pilot a service vehicle that can be upgraded, construct other ships using resources found on planets, and receive some ships as well from friendly space aliens. This assistance is valuable, as resource management can be challenging without guidance. (I advise against relying on walk-throughs; experiencing the game firsthand is far more enjoyable!) My one recommendation: Learn which planets give you the best resources, and focus on them, as time is of the essence.

Star Control II featured remarkable dialogue, captivating extraterrestrial characters, and a captivating storyline—all within a challenging and highly entertaining game.

It also included some adult content in the amusing dialogues with Admiral Zex, who aspires to include you in his intergalactic collection for less than honourable reasons. (I believe he… Admires the player a little too much, though is far more attractive and pleasant than my son’s mum, so er, why not?) You can also spend a passionate night with Talana of the Syreen, provided you possess exceptional skill and the Kirk factor. Both of these scenes remain among my favourite moments in video games, with a beautiful array of dialogue options to explore. I especially love the voice acting of Zex, who’s superior, civilized tone belies the darkness of his twisted nature!

After Star Control II, there was Star Control III (which, frankly, fell short of expectations – it could have been so much more…), and more recently, Star Control Origins, developed by Stardock. While Origins aimed to recapture the essence of The Ur-Quan Masters, it ultimately lacked the same appeal, and the encounters with the Tywom were less satisfying than those with the VUX (who, despite their faults, are at least passionate lovers). The Tywom are extremely needy and a little too eager to please. They’re like Neelix without any of the redeeming factors, and too much like myself for my own liking. (Yes, I am incredibly slimy!)

Now, let’s delve into the exciting news! Pistol Shrimp Games is currently working on a new game set in the Star Control universe, under the name Free Stars: Children of Infinity. The game appears to feature a similar visually captivating style as the original UQM, which to this day remains a source of great inspiration for me. It’s being developed using “Simple,” a new tool created by Pistol Shrimp for game developers. I, for one, am eager to explore this tool, as RPG Maker has its limitations and I suck at writing Ruby!

So, why does Free Stars fill me with anticipation and excitement – and dare I say it, dread? It’s because Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III are actively involved in its development. Additionally, Damon Czanik, known for his contributions to The Ur-Quan Masters HD and Project 6014, both known for their stunning artwork, is on the team. Dan Gerstein, who displayed incredible talents in his work the Skylanders game series, is also part of the development crew. He even has a personal Yehat army that amusingly pesters him in his Twitch videos.

Pistol Shrimp boasts a team that is solid, experienced, and teeming with exceptional content creators. When the new game arrives, as it surely will, it is bound to surpass all expectations. Dan’s coding and videos have shown so many things that are awesome, that I simply cannot contain my excitement! Keep in mind that perils loom in the celestial expanse, and your assistance will be crucial in saving the universe once more! I recommend watching Dan’s videos on Twitch if you want to see just how far Free Stars has come. It will NOT Disappoint!

Alex O’Neil

I am a blogger based in the UK. I work as an SEO specialist and Web Designer, and my hobbies include making small films and writing music.