Most of you likely haven't heard of the CDF
franchise before. Shaun Williams, the one-man outfit that is developer MAG Studios, had previously released a couple of titles on Steam. Ghostship Aftermath
is a survival horror title whereas CDF Ghostship
recalled an old-school sci-fi shooter. Now there's a third game in the series, CDF Starfighter
, and it's finding its way onto the Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program.
Not only is the game appearing on new platforms, it is taking the form of a different genre too. CDF Starfighter
is a "90s styled space combat simulator" whose inspirations lie in titles such as Freespace
and Wing Commander
, as well as sci-fi TV series such as Babylon 5
and Battlestar Galactica
. Set 350 years into the future, a darkness is about to consume the Galaxy, causing the extinction of the human race. The CDF, or Colonial Defence Force in full, are the elite star fighter pilots that are tasked with saving humanity as we know it.
While most space combat simulators try to offer a large dynamic open world, the emphasis of Starfighter
lies in a story-driven, non-linear, single-player campaign. Beginning your career at the Starfighter Academy, you need to complete your training before being attached to a ship. Players will receive briefings before being sent out into the vast universe in their spaceship, with battles taking place in a first-person perspective. The enemies may be pirates, aliens or even rogue CDF forces, and when they're defeated, you'll need to make sure that you land your ship safely back at base. How the campaign pans out depends upon your performance. If you do well in your missions, you'll be able to fly better ships and the universe will have a more positive outcome at the end of the campaign. There will also be the choice to skip missions if you feel like it, although the outcome of this won't be as good as if you had played the mission to a successful conclusion.
As well as the campaign mode, the game will offer three other single player game modes including challenges, simulations, Scramble and a Free Flight mode. Each of the six ships in the game has diverse challenges that teach players a variety of skills. Players might have to scout an area for one challenge, or they may have to take out waves of enemies in another challenge. Simulation mode is the game's equivalent of a flight school that will teach players how to use each of the ships to the best of its abilities. The Free Flight mode will allow players to hone their piloting skills in a non-stressful environment that places more of an emphasis on exploration. In the future, there will also be multiplayer modes that will involve both co-operative and competitive play.
Scramble, the mode that was on show at Blackpool, places players in a random ship against a randomly generated number of enemies in a random stage with the task being to destroy them all. Your performance will be ranked and the more that you play, the more ships and maps you will unlock. Here is some Scramble gameplay footage that is taken from an earlier build of the game:
The game features a very simple pick up and play control system that allowed players of all expertise to enjoy the game at Play Blackpool, including myself, who should never be left to pilot a spaceship, or any other aerial craft for that matter. Despite this, I survived for five minutes flying a spacecraft around an area not only filled with enemies but with plenty of asteroids too. While designed exclusively for VR on PC and Playstation 4 where the headset allows players to look in any direction, Xbox One players will receive a non-VR version that will utilise Kinect for head tracking instead. This version of CDF Starfighter
is due to be released at the end of 2016.