In this time of mundane games, repetitive gameplay and overly exploited genres, it feels good to have some fresh air with some of the old genres resurfacing once again. The credit, of course, goes to the chivalrous indie developers who, still in this world of capitalist gaming industry, light up our hearts with their spirit of creativity. One such genre that is gaining momentum by leaps and bounds is the 'space simulation' genre. This time alone in E3 2014, there were a few groundbreaking titles that truly inspired awe - quite an achievement given the nature of mediocre games these days.
Although it was a delight for me to experience all the latest games that are going to hit the market eventually, the one that truly turned my head and left me speechless was 'No Man's Sky'. This game literally beggars all description as no one has ever attempted to build or even conceive a game of such scale. This is basically a procedurally generated massive game, which may sound simple, but, as the saying goes, you got to see it to believe. The mesmerizing vistas and the bizarre environment teeming with unique flora and fauna on a seemingly alien planet are just the beginning of the story. This vast exploration game takes you on the journey to explore countless planets, and the best part is: you get to have your own space ship to fly off into space and back into different planets. How big is the size of the world you ask? Well, would it impress you if I were to tell you that every single player will be starting off on a different planet of his/her own? Can you now imagine the scale of this game? Besides the expansive universe, the vibrant visuals and dynamic environments are just sight of sore eyes.
What happens when you marry the genre of space simulation with first person shooter? You get a game called 'Dreadnought'. This free-to-play action space simulation game is just what the E3 had been missing all along. We have all played fast paced action games where little thinking and more reflexes are required. We have also seen previous space simulation games where your little pea sized craft sometimes gets into a pathetic situation with a gigantic mother-ship of some kind, and you die wishing that only if you had one of those humongous ships at your command. To fill this void in your little world of gaming, 'Dreadnought' fills right in. This free-to-play massively online game puts you in a team battle where you fight off against the enemy ships using skills and tactics (not reflexes). Ever played 'World of Tanks'? If so, then you will know exactly what I am talking about.
These are just a few titles of space simulation games that are going to leave a good long lasting mark on this genre; however, a game that will not only revitalize the genre to the backbone, but also revolutionize the gaming industry itself is 'Star Citizen'. Star Citizen is the largest crowd funded Kickstarter project to date. With Chris Roberts, the chief developer of ever green titles such as Freelancer and Starlancer, at the helms, Star Citizen is on its way to becoming one of the largest PC exclusive game in the industry. The reason why this game is PC exclusive is quite simple: the consoles just cannot handle the demand of the graphics that are being run on this game. Using modified Cry Engine 3, this game is set in an open universe with tons of exploration to be done, battles to be fought and places to be conquered.
There are many other games from this genre that are in development and very few in market such as EVE Online, Kerbal Space Program, Elite: Dangerous and Limit Theory and it all just goes to show the rebirth of the long lost genre. It is high time that the developers put on their creative hats and the gamers open up their mind to new stuff. Only then will genres like these truly flourish, proliferate and prosper.
By M Qazi