Please Bring Back Star Wars Space Shooters

Hello. Are you a Disney executive, passing a few minutes downtime between acquisitions and layoffs? Maybe you work at EA, and are trying to work out how to salvage your brand's Star Wars efforts after the disaster that is Battlefront II. Here's a free idea: make another space shooter.

This story has been republished in honour of Star Wars Day, May the 4th, and also in some small part to convince someone at Disney to get TIE Fighter remade.

If you're new to this concept - maybe you worked your way up through the ranks green-lighting Chicken Little and Bolt, or were too busy crushing Westwood Studios to invest the time in playing - there have been three semi-serious, first-person space shooters set in the Star Wars universe already.

The first two, 1993's X-Wing and 1995's TIE Fighter are among the best PC games of all time, while the third (1999's X-Wing Alliance) wasn't bad either. So there's pedigree!

Note: I refuse to acknowledge the awful X-Wing vs Tie Fighter.

Those games were a long time ago. And there haven't been any since, because the death of the joystick and the explosion of home console gaming killed off any hopes for the continuation of massmarket flight games. So I can see how you could confuse the lack of new games with a lack of interest in new ones.

And yet, the core appeal of the series - that people love to fly Star Wars ships, blowing up Star Wars stuff while listening to Star Wars music — remains. It lingered through the excellent Rogue Squadron series (which traded first-person simulation for third-person arcade action), and more recently in Battlefront II the space shooting sequences — made by Burnout creators Criterion - were easily the highlight of the game, as brief and simple as they were.

Outside traditional avenues and control schemes there are opportunities to be had in the VR space, too. Criterion's VR mission for the first Battlefront was a tantalising glimpse into my teenage dreams, and if a few years of VR games struggling to grasp the strengths of the platform has taught us anything, it's that the one thing everyone can agree on is that the games that work best are the ones where you're stuck sitting down in a cockpit.

Oh, and let's not also forget there was a new Star Wars movie released last week that has people jazzed, not just for matters of the Force, but for some A+ space action as well. The Last Jedi's opening battle showcases classic ships duking it out, old ships with new tricks, and as I sat through the film for the first time, the first thing I thought when I saw the Resistance's giant bombers was "oh shit I want to play a video game where I fly one of these".

And yet I can't, because this entire genre of Star Wars experience lies comatose, leaving modders alone in the dark of space to do the heavy lifting.

Can one of you two just, I don't know, do something about this? Space simulation is surely one of the easiest things to make a Star Wars game out of, with the strongest heritage of any other series based on the property and timeless reference points sitting right there to take notes from.

I get that there's probably reluctance to go big on a project like this. But you don't need to spend $US300 ($392) million on a big holiday title and destroy the lives of 800 over-worked developers. TIE Fighter was made using six polygons and a hatful of pixels (relative to modern development, anyway) and it's still to this day one of the best video games out there. Any new Star Wars space shooter can be closer to that on the Blockbuster Spectrum than Battlefront II.

If any of this sounds selfish, or a weird thing to specifically call out when everyone has dreams for video games they want made, I guess it just feels like a perfect storm at the moment, where there's a movie inspiring people, a legacy reminding them of great games of the past and brief teases from the present as to how something like this could look/play. It just hasn't come together yet.


Comments

    Please dont. At least untill EA loses the rights. Then feel free to make one

    Dear God no. Why would anyone want this while EA have the Star Wars franchise hostage? It would just be a dumbed-down, microtransaction-riddled mess that uses the X-Wing or Tie Fighter name for brand recognition and nothing else.

    Spoiler for the last jedi

    But the Resistance/Rebels don't have any ships anymore. How can you have space battles without ships?

      Maybe they will buy new ones from some of the unprincipled elite who were at the casino planet?

      I'm sure out of the thousands of other planets in the galaxy, they'll be able to find a few more ships.

      Any word on how that 'remake' X-Wing game is going? Heard about it a while back, but haven't seen anything since.

    I'd be all for this, but I'd be a bit wary of EA developing it. It's not like they can't make good games, they've made plenty, but... yeah. Anyway, X-Wing and TIE Fighter were great but even more formative for me was X-Wing vs TIE-Fighter. I played many hours dogfighting in that on the then Microsoft Game Zone, roleplaying as a member of the Legion of the Black Dagger. Holy cow I was a nerdy kid. Can't believe you called XvT awful... I'd say it was way before it's time, if anything.

    X-Wing Alliances was a bit mixed but even it had really good moments and the core gameplay was still high quality.

    So yup, I'd like more please!

    Last edited 21/12/17 3:49 pm

    No need. Squadron 42 will fulfill all your Mark Hamill space shooter desires...

    ...ppfffffahahahaHAHAHAHAHA!

      Don't be cruel :P

        Sorry, couldn't help it, particularly with the news that they are selling $100 tanks now...

    Yes please, more SW space shooters.

    But can we also get more stores like TIE Fighter? I loved TIE Fighter because it was written from the perspective of the Empire being the good guys. So many times when you play as the Imperials (or a former Imperial agent) in other games it's made explicitly clear that they are the bad guys. TIE Fighter's writing avoided that by painting you as a force of security and stability, and the Rebel Alliance as terrorists seeking to disrupt galactic peace. I enjoyed it all the more for that reason - it's hard to make the Empire seem sympathetic and yet TIE Fighter sort of manages to do that.

      I was thinking about that the other day and started wondering what a movie from an Imperial perspective would be like. Instead of Solo, do a Darth, or Boba Fett or something along those lines. Not sure how it would work, or if it would work, but I'd watch it.

    X-wing was awesome and came very close to toppling Elite as the best space sim in my eyes. And A-Wings are great! Seen some bad plugs for the F1 of the space lanes in recent days.

    Please Please Pleaaaaaaseeee.... Tie Fighter was one of the greatest space sims I have played.

    I agree. The PSVR Demo on Battlefront is the best VR experience. A full game like that would be the dream. Rogue Squadron VR...

    I've been dreaming of new X-Wing space sims for over 20 years. I'm dead inside now. Its not going to happen and I don't care anymore. I'm to old now.

      Stay on target.

    1. Take TIE Fighter
    2. Overhaul the graphics engine to use something modern (Frostbite?) and re-build and re-texture the ships
    3. Literally change nothing else, TIE Fighter's story and gameplay still holds up extremely well.

    Done.

      Bingo. Update the graphics, sound and that’s it. TIE fighter, especially the expanded special edition was a brilliantly designed game.
      What part of you just knows they will screw it up for the “current market” though.
      Honestly I don’t think the, ahem, younger players would have the attention span to play it.

        They will always fiddle with more than the graphics and sound. while I liked the updated Homeworld they mucked around with the way the game played and gave you the option of the improved version with all the bells and whistles or the old version with none..

        Why can't I have the old version with the graphics updated.. options people!

        That said I frankly don't trust EA to make a Star Wars space sim. Don't forget it would have to be compatible with consoles so that would remove most of the controls and things like power management.

        Also lootboxes and microtransactions

          It's a real shame that it's EA that has the exclusive license for Star Wars. Disney / Lucasfilm seem to be more than happy to hand out access to their non-Star Wars Lucsarts stuff so that they can be given a graphical remaster, eg what Double Fine has been doing with the old adventure games. Suspect without that exclusivity, someone would have tried this. I wonder what Lawrence Holland is up to these days?

      Do this for all of the Xw/TF games. They literally only need a jump to a modern engine.

    Dear Santie

    for crismas can i plz have a new career based star wars flying game. i would like to be be a goody or a baddy, and fly little ships and very big ships

    also, can i have an massive open world star wars rpg, a bit like witcher 3 but with planets and space ships and laser guns and wookies and aliens and princesses and laser swords and more boobs.

    thank you

    badge (aged 48)

    ps i left you a cookie but i drank the sherry

    pps there is some hay for your reindeer outside

    ppps i ate your cookie

    What for? So that you can drop bombs in space and they fall down despite there not being gravity? Or perhaps so you can fly through shields and one-shoot enemy hangar bay and bridge? How broken would that be... and who in their right mind would do that kind of... oh wait, never mind.

    Last edited 21/12/17 11:52 pm

      Unmarked spoilers because you're angry about the film? Classy.

        Spoilers would generally require me naming names and situations. If I tell you there is a light sabre fight in a Star Wars film, that is not a spoiler :)

        That being said am I safe to assume that you have no problems with the above features being included in a space combat game... or are you just making a comment for a sake of making a comment?

          I'm fine with those being in the game.

          The bombs are directed, they don't need gravity.

      Bombs have always fallen down in space in star wars, every star wars game set in space has had that, nobody bitched about the original battlefront 2 having bombs that fell "down" relative to your ship

      Same with flying into someones hangar and wrecking the inside of the ship also in battlefront 2

      All these whiny children are finding the pettiest things to hate in the new star wars movie and ignoring the much bigger issues in the films they could have legitimate issue with

      Because star wars space flight has ALWAYS been like in atmosphere dogfighting, newtonian physics HAS NEVER BEEN THE STANDARD IN STAR WARS

    GOG has Tie Fighter for sale for only $5.09

    Battlefront 2s flight sections are gorgeous. Just give us that engine, Criterion as devs and a good writing team (ala TIE Fighters story team) and just give us an Empire story and an Alliance story. DLC for First Order and Resistance stories. I would love to see the First Order go up against the Chiss/Thrawn and whatever else is in the Unknown regions

      Was with you until you hit the DLC nonsense. Why not just have them in the game to begin with? Done.
      No bs additional monitisation needed thank you.

        Just thinking out loud that's how it would play out for a dev these days. I'd prefer all campaigns similar length to TF/XWA.

    The FreespaceOpen Star Wars mod has been out for ages and it superior. Definitely needs to be a revival of space shooters though. I could definitely go another Wing Commander, or (pipe dream) a Freespace 3... *sigh*

    X-Wing vs Tie Fighter was a multiplayer game so you can't compare it's lack of story against the others in the series. However, the expansion X-Wing vs Tie Fighter: Balance of Power was a fantastic story. There were bits of it where it made you crap yourself. My favorite was when your wingmen were like "We don't need to worry about that Imperial Escort, it's miles away from us", then it microjumps right on top of you and all hell breaks loose. As well of Rebel ingenuity where they strip the gravity wells off the stolen Interdictor and slap them onto a Strike Cruiser. Loved the story.

    With EA in charge... Nope, they either dont deliver what the fans want or bastardise it to the point its featureless unless you pay more.

    That said Tie Fighter Battle Royal... emporer drops 100 ties into a starship and asteriod grave yard with radiation fields and tells them only the survivor gets to be his royal guards.

    Never gonna happen. Been begging them for 15 years. I've given up.

    The X3 star wars mod exists, but we need a proper star wars space game with decent dogfight mechanics so we can live out our X-wing pilot dreams we all had since we were just smol babs looking wide eyed at the screen as luke blew up the death star

    But for gods sakes dont let EA make it, i dont want to pay $20 for every individual ship and have lootboxes for weapons and engine upgrades

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