With its emphasis on broadside combat; large, lumbering vessels and the fact you could only move along a 2D plain it often felt like you were captaining an ages-old sailing vessel.. but in space. A novel idea for sure, but one that often felt at odds with the game’s more arcade-y feel and the fact that the fighters you fought often utilised full 3D movement.
For any of you who missed its release in 2015 Double Damage’s Rebel Galaxy was a bizarre space sim in which you piloted capital ships and freighter across a gorgeously rendered 3D galaxy, inspired heavily by US midwest, whilst listening to a kickass country rock soundtrack.
So why am I mentioning a now three year old game? Because Double Damage announced a, sort of, prequel not too long ago and just recently gave us a whole hour of narrated gameplay to ogle at. It’s a sort of prequel because whilst it’s set in the same universe and before the events of the first game, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw will put you in the cockpit of zippy little fighter as opposed to a big capital ship.
In case you don’t want to watch the whole video, Double Damage developer Travis Baldree goes over combat and flight, the former of which includes the new Auto-Pursuit system that Double Damage implement to avoid common space sim problem they’ve dubbed as “space jousting”.
Space jousting is when you spin around aimlessly looking for your target in dog fight and when you do acquire them the two of you go on head to head at each until someone dies or you break off and then you do it again. As someone who’s played his fair share of the X and Wing Commander games I’ve experienced my fair share of space jousting and am interesting to see how well Double Damage’s fix works.
Outside of the cockpit, Baldree covered minigames, in-game radio stations, and an absurdly in depth ship painting screen. He also discussed some of the player feedback he and the other devs have listened to regarding their first title, such as greatly expanding the music library.
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is aiming for the more relaxed part of the space sim market where players don’t want to need a full-on HOTAS setup and hours of patience just to leave the hanger (though you can use a joystick if you wish). Baldree played the whole hour with a gamepad and looked comfortable doing so.
So if you’re looking for a space sim that feels a lot less sterile and clinical that rest of the market or you just really, really miss Wing Commander Privateer, ‘cause you’re not the only one, then Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is definitely worth keeping an eye on.