Squadron 42 visual teaser is making me notice Squadron 42 again

by: Randy -
More On: Star Citizen

Here's one that sneaked past us on Christmas: a Squadron 42 2019 visual teaser. Squadron 42, remember, is the single-player campaign for Star Citizen. Star Citizen, remember, is the snobbishly PC only, in development since 2012, everything sci-fi sim from Wing Commander creator, Chris Roberts. It always seems necessary to reiterate those things about Star Citizen, even though we've all been hearing about Star Citizen for eight years now.

Boy this sure is a good-looking teaser, though. I can get as salty as I want about this game—these two games—but this is a good-looking universe. The fine print at the front of the video says all footage is a work in progress, of course, but that it's captured in-engine. Which means Cloud Imperium Games/Roberts Space Industries didn't shoehorn any CGI into this. And it looks good. But Chris Roberts better step on it. This level of detail was mind-blowing eight years ago. Not so much in 2020. Roberts needs to get this game out there before his engine is outdated and only looks like a 70 Metacritic. (Not that graphics make the game, obviously.)

So here's the visual trailer. Starting with what looks like a spacecraft carrier coursing through a cloudy, rock-floating atmosphere, rife with lightning strikes and soupy god-ray lightning. Then a smaller craft negotiates a loosely scattered asteroid field to come upon what looks like a neutron star in a gas cloud. You'll have to pardon me if my astronomical vocabulary is limited. They should have sent a poet. Then a broken planet working on building a Saturn ring around itself. Next shot has more asteroids. Always more asteroids. Asteroids nearly missing ships. Ships mining asteroids. Asteroids attacking asteroid mining colonies. These asteroids are mad.

Throw in some space elevator action, some stations that open up like Mass Effect Citadel petals, and then, with a swell of the orchestral soundtrack, bring in the bad guys. The equivalent of Wing Commander's lion-like Kilrathi, though Squadron 42's bad guys are more like cold-blooded lizards with two-pronged tridents (is that a duodent?) Where human constructions are blocky, alien constructions are roundy. Spikes on their heads, spikes on their weapons, spike-shaped little ships, spike-shaped big ships. Then there's a shift to first-person perspective for your single-player character in Squadron 42. Stuff's blowing up, stuff's frozen over, stuff's rocky and lit up, stuff's dark and steamy. 

Every square inch of your computer monitor is drenched in details. I'm not normally rooting for the School of Shove More Stuff Into the Screen, but it's done well here. There's no place for your eyes to rest, no space in outer space, but Squadron 42's artists are phenomenal and they've got the programmers to translate that art into navigable areas. 

Is it time to start caring about Squadron 42? Are we near enough to its unspecified launch date? I think I'm starting to care again.