EDIT: Don't just disregard this as another complaint about no checkpoints. The reason this game should have them has nothing do with difficulty or convenience. I'm talking about something bigger than that. Please read the whole thing before you start disagreeing with me.
First of all, thank you. Thank you so much. I am no were near capable of fully expressing my colossal gratitude to you for making this game. I didn't really know how much I needed it until I started playing, but when I took off from the Wellington for the first time I felt a rush of exhilaration I haven't experienced in years. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Space combat sims such as this have been absent from gaming for far too long.
However, as much joy as this game is bringing me, there is an element of sadness as well, and posts such as this are why.
Renegade: I am a professional game developer with full access to the source code of the engine. So our only limit, if any, was time.
And if I had through, if only for a minute, that savepoints were a really essential feature, I would have put them in. But to be honest, we even discussed that. And we all agreed that that would just be bad design. Yes we are aware that SOME of our dialogues are a bit too long in terms of mission flow. But here we made a concious decision to put more easter eggs and more character development in, to compensate for other storytelling freatures and to give fans a little more to grin about.
In a commercial game we probably would have cut some dialogue a little shorter and put that stuff in some in between flights cutscene. But we still would never put save points in a space sim because we simply think they have no place in that genre.
If we don't punish you for dying, what's the point?
I'm not saying that the decision to not include checkpoints and the ability to skip the dialogue was wrong. I whole-heatedly agree that features such as that are not in the spirit of the WC games of yore. The dialogue is top notch and I love listening to it. And I don't mind being sent back to the beginning of a mission as punishment either. But that's not to say I wasn't bitter about it for a while. I imagine everyone has been softened to some degree by all the checkpoints in modern games. But that just makes it painfully apparent that this is not a modern game. Rather than showing these games can succeed in the current market, you just show that you are stuck in the past. Then there are posts like this that really rankle me.
Nobody is forcing you to not lower the difficulty you know. And yes punishing the player for playing in a too high difficulty level is supposed to happen. And no, Wing Commander punished you just as much as this. Anybody remember a long approach to a planetary mission in wc4 just to be blown up at the last nav point by a stupid missile turret? Or that mission where you hunt the jammer ship, a lot of blah blah, even a cutscene in the middle, just be blown up near the end.
Sorry but that is exactly how we wanted it.
I'm sure many gamers can relate to the conviction that lowering the difficulty=failure. It is, quite frankly, not an option. Stating otherwise is not only ignorant, it's the equivalent of telling us to put on our floaties and get in the kiddie pool. You should also understand that the "that's how the old games were" argument is a horrible excuse for bad game design.
Yes, bad game design. As much as I am in agreement with the no checkpoints/no skip decision, it is still a glaring flaw carried over from darker times. Nostalgia can only carry this game so far.
And here we come to my main point. This game has made me very passionate about the current lack of awesome space combat sims. I want them to come back and I want them to come back in a big way. I had thought that this game was a sign of that, but I was wrong. This game may only have been released last week, but it's still ten years old. It is both a celebration of the "good ol' days" and a reminder that that weren't actually that good.
With just a few changes, this game could be so much more than that. Don't let your stubbornness blind you from the bigger picture here. The gaming community is many times larger than it was in the heyday of WC. If you were to open up to that larger community instead of re-awakening the old one, you could revitalize the SCS genre in a huge way. But, the way this game is now, you're just shutting them out. I'd love to be able to recommend this game to my friends if I thought they were going to stick with it after being forced to listen to 3 minutes of pilot chatter every time they explode.
Yes, pandering to today's market means including features such as checkpoints. I don't really know much about game development, but would it be possible to just make them a setting of some kind? Hardcore mode=no checkpoints or something? (separate from the easy-nor-hard settings preferably) Rest assured, I personally would not play with checkpoints on, but I cannot understate how much I want this game to have them. From where I sit, it should be quite easy to maintain the spirit of the games and still make them accessible to new players.
Please, I'm begging you, don't squander this opportunity. You made this game for people like me and you succeeded beautifully. It's awakened a hunger in me that cannot be fed by just this. I want more. I want more of these games. Not from you, though. You guys have worked plenty hard and I appreciate it. But you could make this game more attractive to today's market. Other developers will take notice. Yes, I am aware that this game is already a huge success, but it could be so much more than that. Please, guys. It's not enough to show that this genre isn't dead. You could make it explode bigger than it has ever been before.
PS: As far as skipping dialogue goes, I don't mind either way. However, I do think today's developers have the balls to allow their players skip content instead of forcing it down their throats because of how much work it took to make. (again, I do not have knowlege of the technical limitations of the engine. If skipping was just plain not possible, congrats on making the chatter very enjoyable.)