Game-related ramblings.

Tag: Deep Shadows

Wishful Thinking: Han Solo Simulator

As always, you can click on images to view larger versions.

Writing my recent post about The Precursors, and how it attempts to be a dream game by coupling a free-roaming space sim with a first-person shooter/role-playing game, reminded me that I’d started a series about dream game designs over two years ago. I never got around to writing any more entries, which is too bad, because one thing I’d intended to write about is exactly what The Precursors attempts; namely, a Han Solo simulator. I touched on that a bit in my post about the game, but I wanted to clarify exactly what this dream game would be for me, and the ways in which The Precursors (and other games) succeed and fail in achieving it. Read on!

From Russia With Bugs: The Precursors

Remember that you can click on screenshots for bigger versions.

There are some games that achieve such cult status that people still play them years, even decades after they were released. Often, this devotion is reserved for the catalogs of specific developers known for creating a certain type of experience. Looking Glass is one example: their System Shock and Thief series are so beloved that fans took it upon themselves to modify these games so they can still be played on modern operating systems with modern graphical resolutions. In fact, these fan-made fixes are incorporated into the recent releases of System Shock 2 and the first two Thief games on GOG and Steam. Troika are another example, known for creating deep, reactive, highly ambitious but bug-ridden games. Their steampunk-meets-fantasy role-playing game Arcanum inspired a fan known as Drog Black Tooth to work on an unofficial bugfixing patch for years, one that is regarded as essential for any new player. Their adaption of the World of Darkness pen-and-paper role-playing game, Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines, is so revered that a fan known as Wesp5 is still actively working on an unofficial patch, ten years after the game’s original release.

But that’s not the only game that Wesp5 is working on fixing. Wesp5 also has an unofficial patch for The Precursors, from Ukrainian developer Deep Shadows (yes, they’re Ukranian, not Russian, but their game is in Russian and I couldn’t resist that headline). I’d heard that Deep Shadows are also known for incredibly ambitious but buggy games, and I’d heard good things about The Precursors specifically, but it was Wesp5’s attention that really sparked my interest. I played for a surprisingly long time before The Precursors played its trump card and I discovered why Wesp5 was so inspired. It’s a genuine attempt at a dream game: a first-person shooter coupled to a free-roaming space flight game, letting players fly wherever they want, scraping together a little cash, and then land on planets to explore, chat, and shoot some people. It’s a Han Solo simulator.

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