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 Post subject: Interview with Fred and Paul on Ghosts of the Precursors/SC2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:35 pm 
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Hunam adventurer

Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 30
http://game-wisdom.com/podcast/creation-star-control-2

No huge revelations, but an interesting listen.

Ghosts' development process:
  • Right now it's just the two of them self-funding. After overseeing 150 people they're happy to be taking a more direct hands-on role again. Eventually more people will be brought in, but not yet. Not worrying about money right now means they don't have to base any major design or narrative decisions on it.
  • Their relationship with Activision has reached the point where they'll let them take some time to work on this on their own (presumably they're working less hours, though not said explicitly).
  • Some of the other people who worked on SC2 have shown interest in working on this too down the road. Specifics later.
  • Funding is something they're not sure about yet - a Kickstarter may or may not happen.
  • Paul has notebooks of ideas going back to 1994.
  • SC2 had a diverse crew of people, some who had never worked on games - teenagers making music, artists writing dialog - so they would like to bring some of that back if possible.

Gameplay and story:
  • Keeping a lot of this close to their chest for now and not ready to reveal many specifics.
  • The target audience for this is first and foremost SC2 fans. That said, they are looking at how they can integrate modern conventions where it makes sense without "modernizing" in way that compromises the essentials of Star Control. How much 3D should be used is still an open question, though 3D Melee sounds very unlikely.
  • The general structure of the game will be a space adventure and it will not change as radically as SC1 to SC2.
  • They want to keep the fundamentals of combat and conversation recognizable, though "richer and with innovations." As for other gameplay systems besides combat and dialog, they hinted at changes but they don't want to talk about it until there's something ready to show.
  • They want to balance the story between revisiting the old and doing new and surprising things. A lot of races will be returning, but not all, since working all the old races and a good number of new ones in would just be too cluttered. They're looking at new things they can do with races whose story was apparently resolved in SC2.
  • The framing at the end of SC2 (with older Zelnick talking to his grandchildren), was a throwaway bit at the time but helps as a way for them to think about the story now.

SC2 and other things:
The first two-thirds of the interview are mostly about SC2. I won't summarize it all here, but a few bits that stood out to me:
  • SC2's openness is balanced by subtly pushing the player to do things in a few different stages, so the story progression takes place in a rough order for most players (with lots of variation).
  • There was an elaborate system for sending away teams of different races out at first, but it was dropped because it wasn't fun.
  • The Thraddash started out as a proud and noble warrior race with a code of honor, but were really boring and hard to write for. The hook that made them work was that they THINK they're a noble warrior race but are completely insane from our perspective.
  • On SC3: Accolade offered the chance to make it at first, but turned it down because they needed a break from Star Control and it would be under the same contract as SC2 (with which they worked six months without pay to finish the game). With the SC3 we got Legend was "a good developer", but Star Control has a very specific voice that is hard for anyone else to write in.


Last edited by Mormont on Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:50 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Fred and Paul on Ghosts of the Precursors
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:38 pm 
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Slylandro gasbags
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Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:10 pm
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Nothing there that makes me get terribly enthausiastic really. (given that the mass effect series already did what Star control's sequels could have been like)
Let's see how it turns out :)


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Fred and Paul on Ghosts of the Precursors
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:09 pm 
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Arilou wiseguy

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:01 pm
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First things first: Thank You very much for this elaborate summary!

This sounds much like what I'm expecting anyway.
I fear a bit that the target group is too small to make for a successful game, but then this is not the target anyway.
I am thankful they want to finish the storyline by adding a SC3 by them, so I'll be taking whatever comes.... :)


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Fred and Paul on Ghosts of the Precursors
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:59 pm 
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Hunam adventurer

Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 30
krulle wrote:
First things first: Thank You very much for this elaborate summary!

This sounds much like what I'm expecting anyway.
I fear a bit that the target group is too small to make for a successful game, but then this is not the target anyway.
I am thankful they want to finish the storyline by adding a SC3 by them, so I'll be taking whatever comes.... :)

It won't be a big hit, but it has a good chance of selling better than SC2 at least. That game came out right when 3D games and RTSes were getting big and got overshadowed, plus Accolade had no idea how to market. I think they've said it took the 3DO version to even push it above 100k. At the right price Ghosts could do pretty well as an indie game, especially if it makes it to consoles.

I do wonder how they plan to make the story accessible to newbies - even if it isn't their chief priority I'm sure it's crossed their mind. We certainly want to avoid SC3's awkward opening recap dialog.


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Fred and Paul on Ghosts of the Precursors
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:48 am 
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Shining Being of Pure Light and Blissful Love
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It was a pretty fun interview. The interviewer wasn't the most polished, but Paul and Fred were entertaining. Their voices are similar that I couldn't tell who was talking though.

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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Fred and Paul on Ghosts of the Precursors
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:51 am 
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Slylandro gasbags
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Personally I would like less races in ghosts of the precursors, but have the aliens you interact with be more varied.
I have had this opinion since playing Mass Effect, which has you flying around in a universe where there is so much more sublety and variance in the personalities and behaviour of the aliens. Then I thought back on how SC2 was so much worse in that aspect, because it has you interact with multiple different aliens (they a are in different ships and in different locations yet they all act the same way) and even though they are non-existent fictional characters in SC2, it makes you subconsciously have prejudices against people who belong to a different race in real life.
When I was younger I thought we would become a spacefaring race sometime in the future. So then it is really important to not act on prejudice alone but have an open mind :).


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Fred and Paul on Ghosts of the Precursors
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:02 pm 
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Hunam adventurer

Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 30
You're encountering them on foot in Mass Effect, on planets or at least inside space stations. This is an important difference, because it means the location of NPCs is fixed - Mass Effect has a space setting but the combat and most other gameplay is not directly in space. Having ship encounters in space persist their dialog trees may not be realistic, but it makes good gameplay sense when you're encountering the ships randomly flying around. For unique dialog to work it needs to be in specific locations.

SC2 does have some unique "characters" different from the rest of the race - you have ZEX, the Spathi (both Fwiffo and the Safe Ones), the Rigel ZFP, and of course the Yehat. But that being said, yes Ghosts could push this farther with more unique encounters at planets or other locations. More special art and dialog for homeworlds like the Safe Ones would be a good way to start. But dialog will probably still carry over between ships in space unless they have some completely new way of doing those encounters.


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