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X-Wing designer has launched a new dogfighting game on Kickstarter

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

One of the creative minds that led the design of the X-Wing series is part of the 15-person team behind Starfighter Inc., which launched on Kickstarter just yesterday. David Wessman, as well as veterans of games such as Crysis, Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries, Halo 3 and Homefront are asking for at least $250,000 to build a game they describe as "World of Tanks meets Counter Strike in space." Delivery is expected in August of 2016.

"This is the next great space shooter," Wessman said in the Kickstarter video, embedded above. "This is the next X-Wing. We want to capture that intense, immersive feeling of being in the cockpit."

The team, which includes Jack Mamais (Far Cry, Crysis, Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries) as creative director and Nate Walpole (Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 4 and Elder Scrolls Online) formed their team, Impeller Studios, in 2013 but has been in stealth mode until last month. Now they've gone to the crowdfunding model, after shopping the game around for some time.


"Our hope is that by bringing the game to the Kickstarter community, we can make this dream a reality," the team wrote on their campaign page. "We spent a lot of time at GDC last year shopping the game around, so we had time to chat in between meetings. Even though we were tired from hours of pitching, one interesting realization emerged from our conversations. The most successful projects we’ve all worked on, both in terms of commercial success and in terms of how we felt about them, were projects that tapped directly into the community."

If the team reaches the $250,000 goal they say that the game they'll be able to produce will include 16-player online matches, pitting 6 different ship types against one another in "pure, unadulterated tactical simulation combat." Features include a discrete component damage model and full Newtonian physics allowing for Battlestar Galactica-style combat maneuvers.

The game, set in 2230, will empower the community by allowing them to form player-controlled corporations.


"Mankind’s final frontier has been destabilized by corporate interests and powerful private military companies," they wrote. "The powers that be look to elite mercenary pilots to secure their holdings; violently if need be."

Concept art on the Kickstarter page also showed deep ship customization, which will reportedly extend to the layout of the instrumentation in the cockpit. The game will also feature virtual reality integration, and the team was shown working with the Oculus Rift in their pitch video.

If they reach the $700,000 goal, the team promises to double the number of players to 32, add 6 more ships, and add the ability to fly with a friend in multi-seat starships. They'll also add additional game modes, such as "carrier engagement, carrier base assault, and boarding party."

It seems that there will not be a first-person module per se, and that boarding will be abstracted.

From the Kickstarter: "Players can dock their Troop Transports with large capital ships in the hopes of disabling key systems, key personnel or capturing the ship altogether. Players get their ship into docking range, initiate the board action, then jump into a turret to defend their bird while the Combat Troops do their thing inside the ship. Bonus points for a clean extraction."

Backer rewards include the full game at the $15 level, as well as the option to participate in weekly team calls at $150 and up.

The Kickstarter runs now through June 6. Polygon has reached out to the team for more details.

Correction: We've updated this story with regards to David Wessman's role on the original X-Wing games.