During my coverage of E3 2014, I got a chance to get some hands on time with Chris Roberts upcoming Star Citizen. The game is a spiritual successor to Wing Commander and Privateer which Roberts used to make himself and Origin a force in the 90s era of PC gaming.
The ability to weave a branching storyline, interesting characters, and edge of your seat action with cutting edge graphics was a winning formula that spawned sequels, spinoffs, and knock offs over the years.
Roberts was reportedly told that there was no interest in games of this type when he spoke with publishers so he went the Kickstarter route and has reportedly raised over $70.00 million to date for the game and based on what I saw, it was all up on the screen in glorious detail.
Playing in the multiplay Arena mode, I launched from a ship and was told that I would have the option to look around and explore the ship prior to launch should I wish to do so. After launch I took in the cockpit and noted that when I turned I could see all the way to either side and that the display screens adjusted and changed as I went along.
I used an Xbox controller to play but was told a mouse and keyboard work as well and that Roberts himself prefers a gamepad when I asked if a new line of Joysticks would be coming.
Anyone who has played Wing Commander will soon get into the rhythm as radar picks up enemy targets and allows you to select an individual target. While the control was not as smooth as a joystick when stalking an enemy through a climb, I was able to navigate an asteroid field and engage the enemy without much adjustment.
The ship had a mix of guns and a Gatling gun which I used to spray the enemy whenever I could. I was not able to link the two but I quickly got my missiles into play and in no time I had scrapped four bogies and was still in the mix.
I decided to end my session with a flourish as I went in close on one enemy and shot it up to the point where it was a drifting hulk. I set a collision course for it with my ship and decided to ride the crazy chair just as my ship hit which made for a fiery finale.
I wish that I had more time to play but the packed scheduled and pending meetings that I had required me to move on, but the graphics and gameplay were great and reminded me of all the things that I loved most about Wing Commander and the like.
I look forward to seeing what the full campaign and being able to play with multiple live players as well as customize, board, and seize will be like. For now, this was a very nice surprise and one to watch.