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Stardock's sci-fi 4X Galactic Civilizations II might be a little long in the tooth (especially as GalCiv III is a thing), but even 11 years on from its release, it remains a solid offering in the genre. Still, I can understand why you might pass on it at $US19.99 ($26)... but what about zero dollars?


The space fighter series Star Control is at the centre of a new dispute over who owns the franchise, and what that means for the future of the series. In a recent series of posts, Star Control creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III have called on the publisher Stardock, which purchased some of the rights to the series from Atari back in 2013, to stop selling the games.


It hasn't really been on the radar much, but in the next year or so I'd be surprised if the Star Control reboot doesn't start to capture the imagination. It's coming from Stardock, makers of the Galactic Civilizations series, Sins of a Solar Empire and Ashes of the Singularity. And according to them, it's their biggest game with their biggest budget yet.


Two major titles characterised May this year for me, and it was an unusually stacked month even without having to dig through the indie pile. There was even some cracking titles released on mobiles, and the next-gen consoles also got some extra love with some notable ports.


The most stringent warning I've seen on a game in Early Access so far has been the all caps WARNING THIS GAME IS IN EARLY DEVELOPMENT description for DayZ on Steam.

Stardock's approach with Star Control is far less cantankerous, but certainly eyebrow raising all the same. Rather than trying to get people to flood in for early access through their founders program, Stardock wants only those who are absolutely dedicated. And you'll have to take a survey to prove it.


For Early Access games -- and alphas in general -- the trend is to offer the game at a lower price to entice people to pay for the privilege of playing / testing a busted version of your work. Stardock's Galactic Civilizations III is one of a number of recent titles that's drifted away from this model -- instead, you'll need to fork over more than what the final version will likely go for, in Stardock's case, this the rather heavy amount of $US100.


The Star Control franchise? If you're not up-to-date with the latest, the rights are currently in the hands of developer Stardock, best known for its Galactic Civilizations series. We know the company hasn't been sitting idle with the property, but it's only recently that CEO Brad Wardell has spoken about what plans it has for creating a new, modern instalment.


Sometimes when you leave a job, it's mutual, and everything's cool! Other times, you may want to feel the need to punch out with a little "fuck you" scrawled on your former place of employ. That can be fine, sometimes, but there are limits. And Stardock, the developers of Sins of a Solar Empire, are accusing a former staffer of pushing way past those limits.