Star Control II had two best parts: The star-spanning single-player adventure and the two-player head-to-head combat. Sure, taken together that’s the whole entire package, but SCII was just that good. Stardock has been working on the prequel Star Control: Origins for a couple of years now and, while the completion time is still a firm “when it’s done”, the Super Melee mutliplayer combat beta launches this November for those who sign up for the pre-order on either Steam or GOG.
The Super Melee in Origins is going to be fairly similar to the classic combat of the series, where you pick a group of ships to go up against your opponent’s armada, pitting them one at a time against each other until one side or the other runs out of fighters. The fighting is done from a top-down perspective, usually with a planet in the middle of the arena with a gravity well that throws a bit of chaos into the action, and the ships are so different in abilities and handling that very few matches ever feel similar. Star Control: Origins is taking the idea of wildly varying abilities to a new level with its ship editor, letting players take parts and fuse them together into a new, unique whole. One of the fun things about Star Control’s multiplayer was learning how to best use one ship against another, so a Chenjesu Broodhome that looks like it’s got a clear advantage over the weaker Pkunk could still get a huge chunk of life whittled away before it was able to land a hit. Being able to create your own, balancing it over multiple fights against other people doing the same, should easily result in some fantastic creations.
In addition to the pre-order news Star Control: Origins also got a progress report trailer, showing off not just the Super Melee but also the ship editor, character animation (love the Ur-Quan and Spathi fighters hanging from strings in the background of the Tyom’s (yellow slug-alien) ship), planet exploration, and several other aspects of the new game. It’s early, but packed with the kind of details that give a series fan hope. Check it out below, and maybe drop by the visit Stardock’s pre-order page if it makes you feel both nostalgic and anticipatory at the same time. If you’re feeling particularly nostalgic, though, Stardock also released both Ur-Quan Masters and Star Control 3 on Steam today so you can snag all three games as a bundle.