Space combat games are not as common as they once were, but if Double Damage Inc.’s latest game is any indication, the company seeks to change all of that. Coming fresh off of their 2015 release of the naval-combat action game, Rebel Galaxy, the team has been steadily at work building a new type of space game, and it may not be what you expect. Ship-to-ship dogfighting, intergalactic gambling, and space cops all encompass the studio’s newest game: Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw. At PAX WEST 2018, I had the opportunity to check the game out for myself, and as a huge fan of the first game, I came away incredibly excited for next year.
2015’s Rebel Galaxy was a refreshing space combat experience when it arrived. In a sea of first-person shooters, Rebel Galaxy introduced amazing real-time naval combat, a large open galaxy to explore, and the ability to choose who you pledged allegiance to as well as who to destroy. It was an engaging game and if you want to read more about my thoughts on it, check out my review here.
For Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw, Double Damage Inc. took a different direction that makes Outlaw game a prequel of sorts. In the original game, your aunt Juno, the only member of your family left alive, goes missing. Throughout the game, the player embarks on numerous missions to locate her. By the time you find her, she is a gritty, tough woman that drinks to her survival on the frontier, and knows that trust is a hard thing to come by. Outlaw puts you into the role of Juno, set decades before the events of the original.
As the original Rebel Galaxy featured large capital ships, massive space stations, and colonized worlds, Outlaw takes place at an earlier time of space exploration and human expansion. In the original, a military fleet kept law and order throughout the star systems, but here, they are a small, elite law enforcement agency. Pilots have their own starships, but they are smaller ships, akin to the Milano from Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Humans have made contact with intelligent alien species, creating a normalized culture of interaction. Humans can play pool, cards, and relax with extraterrestrial beings. However, there are entire worlds that have yet to be colonized and systems that are still uncharted. No one has encountered this lifestyle before, but those that don’t learn quickly will find their lives up for grabs by a bounty hunter looking for an easy buck.
I was given a demonstration of the ship combat, and it feels just like a traditional spaceship combat game. For anyone fortunate to have grown up in the age X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter, you’ll feel right at home with Outlaw. I was sent on a simple combat mission to hunt down some raiders. The gameplay felt tight, smooth, and intense, running at 60FPS and featuring sharp details.
I was given instructions on how to use primary and secondary weapons, with featured a traditional laser and a missile launcher. The weapons felt immensely satisfying to use, from locking-on to firing. The enemy was intelligent as well, as I boosted and maneuvered around cratered asteroids in my pursuit to claim my quarry. Through all of my maneuvers and rolls, the sun blazoned off my the hull, creating an incredible arrangement of dynamic lighting. On one hand, I could clearly see the blue streaks of the galaxy and the infinite number of stars around. Then, another moment, I was facing the brilliant light of the sun with the enemies displaying their shadows against the light. It was a remarkable and thrilling experience.
After my combat mission, I was also shown a variety of other additions to Rebel Galaxy Outlaw. including small touch-ups from the original. Players will be able to play pool, cards, and interact with other persons and alien races. Similar to an RPG, you will have dialogue options to change your stance with factions and contacts. A pirate, for example, may offer you a job to steal important resources from a rival faction, but that same faction may offer you a big cash payout if you destroy some ships from a competing organization. As before, who you work with and what you do is entirely up to you. Whether you want to be the hero, the villain, a miner, or be the Han-Solo-type, it is entirely up to you.
Finally, like the first Rebel galaxy, there will be an amazing rock & roll soundtrack for Outlaw. The soundtrack for the first game featured an assortment of hard rock musicians and light guitar strumming, furthering the sensation of being on a frontier of sorts. The difference being that horses and revolvers have been replaced with steep ships and plasma cannons. For this game, expect a new soundtrack that is greatly expanded upon the establishment of the first game.