Monday, June 4, 2012

The World is a Star Ocean

The world is a Star Ocean. That is the key thing to take away from tomorrow's Transit of Venus, which you can observe on the National Mall if you have the time. If I get there early enough, you may even run into me while I wait for Seeking Planets Like Earth to start. So, what's all the fuss about stars and space and star oceans? The world does not have enough good sci-fi RPGs. Compared to the inundation that exists with fantasy (and sci-fantasy with things like Anarchy Online and Star Wars games), there's just not enough good, clean, space ship fun.

Sci-fantasy is good fun, but I want a world without magic to make the science stand out more. I mean, what do we have? Xenogears and Xenosaga aren't even pretty close to pure sci-fi; Front Mission definitely counts. There's Septerra Core but it did not age well. Even Star Ocean veers very, very heavily away from space faring adventures into standard fantasy tropes. Heck, the space captain is really a squishy archer in the first game. With a real bow and arrow. Besides these, I'm probably missing some, so let me know.

Mass Effect is fairly sci-fi, though being Bioware, it lets fantasy slip in when they need it, but that's not a knock.But, it is still not what I want. I want to move away from a party-based approach. I liked Front Mission's squad system in the first game, where you had an array of people. You felt like a real team, even if they weren't very clearly defined. Later games gave up having a large roster for fleshing out a smaller roster, a good trade-off. But, it doesn't capture the sort of epic feeling I want from this sci-fi game.

There's Infinite Space, which was fun, but kind of simplistic. I'd like a nice, solid RPG using a space opera as a backdrop where the hero is in charge of an elite fighter wing. Even without the pseudo opera part of space opera. You could even use a unit leader/squad formation like in Warsong. Well, maybe not exactly like that, but similar to that to get the feeling for fighter wings and specialized space combat, like capital ships.

I'm imagining something with the tempo and feel of Wing Commander meets Ogre Battle; we'll even name it after a Queen song: Spread Your Wings; Sail Away Sweet Sister (this one also plays into the whole brother/sister theme that runs through TO:LUCT and the world being a Star Ocean. This one is my particular favorite choice); Ride the Wild Wind. I'm just saying, if you want to write a love letter to the tactics RPG genre and space operas, I have ideas.

If you want to get very complicated, you could even have an away team/troop transport system for planetary landings, taking space stations (and not just blowing them up), or rescuing people on capital ships. You would need to manage your air/space force to defend the take off point while the ground team secures its objectives. This also lets you have a range of character types involved (they're not all just ace pilots!)

So, I want to sit down at my computer and lead multiple squads of fighters into a campaign to rescue a space diplomat from crazy space aliens while securing the warp home point or whatever science-y FTL transit you decide to come up with. We should make that happen.This idea may not actually be as bad of an idea as previous bad ideas.



I'm just going to throw this out there. If your friends advice to you about your unsatisfying sex life is "Have an affair," these people are not your friends. Also, shame on the WSJ for not making the woman anonymous and outing her friends like that. But, seriously. I've never been married, but let me give some advice: "Have an affair" is quite possibly the worst trouble shooting for any marriage problem ever.

Also, some day, I should do a label clean up. Fun fact: The Veritech model post now has the Macross tag. No post likely tomorrow, since I'll be out late.

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