Recently, a small four-man studio by the name of AtomicTorch released the alpha version of their first game, VoidExpanse, to the internet. Much like with Freelancer, playing VoidExpanse involves you becoming an interplanetary badass as you hop between star systems, becoming friends with factions and blowing pirates to smithereens. A space action-RPG, essentially.
It looks like this:
I gave the current, surprisingly polished alpha version a chance myself, and found it to be really smooth (though I had to tweak a config file to get it to run). Combat feels as exciting as it looks in the trailer, with twisty-turny ships and hand-aimed lasers, and when you manage to destroy an enemy craft, the resulting explosion, screen shake and loot makes you feel really good about yourself — though I did die four or five times in the space of about twenty minutes. I assume that will improve once I get out of the starter civilian ship.
Overall, if anyone else played Drox Operative, well, it feels like that — only with more in-your-face combat and on a smaller scale. No blowing up planets in this one, as far as I've seen. I look forward to messing around with the alpha more, personally... provided I can tear myself away from Reaper of Souls.
Currently, no final release date is known for VoidExpanse, but when it will be done, it will be released for Windows (and later, Mac and Linux), both through its official website and through Steam, if it manages to get greenlit. For now, you can either participate in the buy-in alpha yourself, or follow the developers' blog for updates.
VoidExpanse [Official Site]