Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts returns to gaming, brings space combat back with him

Richard Cobbett at

Actual details are spectacularly thin on the ground, with the actual announcement, as opposed to this pre-announcement-announcement, not happening until the 10th of October. Register for his new site Roberts Space Industries and you'll find some details though, like... wait, he's called it RSI? I wonder how many cheap gags are going to be made about that over the next couple of years.

Oh well. There's at least a little bit to go on behind its front-page countdown curtain.

Whatever the actual game ends up being, it does at least look like it's targeting fans of Roberts' early work - not including the Wing Commander movie of course, because they're not allowed to control their own money. The site talks of bringing together "truly hardcore space simulation fans from around the world to celebrate the genre and remind them what made Wing Commander, Privateer, Starlancer and Freelancer great!" and from that we can assume this isn't going to be a simple Facebook game where you click on spaceships to build energy. Or worse, Wing Commander Arena. Shudder.

It's also not going to be a quick project. Roberts - who has spent the last few years making movies instead of games - claims to have been working on this for a year, and it's not due out for another 24 months or so. Hopefully he's also sorted out funding, and this isn't simply going to be another Kickstarter. I don't doubt he'd get whatever money he asked for, but... well... we've seen a lot of begging bowls at this point, and it'd be a refreshing change to just get an outright announcement.

Sir, I think our holo-ball's gone wonky. I just looked out the window, and this planet is definitely blue.

A really good new space-sim would be great to see. The genre effectively died out with Freespace 2 over a decade ago, and not because everyone saw that game and decided there was nowhere left to go. There have been a few since then, not to mention some stunning mod-projects like Wing Commander Saga to fill the gaps, but it's long past time we saw an original creation that reminded the world of something it shouldn't need to be reminded of - that having epic dogfights in space is cool and awesome.

To quote Chris Roberts on the project:

"With the power of today's computers and the reach of the internet I finally feel I have the tools to build the connected experience that I always dreamed of. A world that would be more satisfying and richer than any film I could work on.

With films you tell stories but with games you create worlds.

If you've played my games, you'll know that's what I love to do.

I'm here to tell you that I have been working on something for just under a year, something that embraces everything that my past games stood for but takes it to the next level.

I hope you'll be as excited by it as I am."

To see news on the project as it emerges, head over to Roberts Space Industries. If you missed it yesterday, also don't forget to check out this neat looking fan-made Battlestar Galactica game.

Rumours of Richard Garriott starting a new company called Tennis Elbow Games remain unconfirmed due to being lies. Warren Spector has however announced he will be taking over Slight Twinge In The Leg Inc as of next year, just as soon as someone figures out exactly what it is.