Starlight Inception Out Today on PS Vita

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Starlight Inception Out Today on PS Vita

Starlight Inception

In October’s PlayStation.Blog entry, we welcomed you to Starlight Inception, the first-person / third-person space combat experience coming to PS Vita today. This is the first game of its type on Vita, containing a single-player campaign, single-player Fly Patrol (tower defense), and several multiplayer options.

The inspiration for Starlight Inception was the old space sim games that we loved as kids, but with a more sophisticated, modern sensibility, and tailored for the controls of PS Vita, PS3, and PS4. The game will have a retail price on PS Vita of $22.99.

In Starlight Inception, you’re a young space fighter pilot one hundred years from tomorrow, who serves in the United Star Force (USF), a multinational force which keeps the peace on the colonized planets and moons of our star system. You are assigned to the U.S.F. Midway (SCVN-41), a space carrier which houses the most advanced space fighters, bombers, and transports that humankind has ever seen.

The first mission starts as a training exercise, but is rapidly interrupted by the Pentad — a simultaneous terrorist bombing of five Earth cities, including Chicago, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Pursuing the perpetrators of the bombing as they attempt to escape from Earth orbit, you rapidly realize that this isn’t an isolated incident — we’ve been thrown into a global (and system-wide) war.

Starlight InceptionStarlight Inception

The game has more than 40 hours of single-player gameplay, an online multiplayer component for up to eight players, and a first-person mode which lets you explore your mothership between missions — see your bunk area, the bridge, the hangar bay, observation decks, and visit the Pilot Ready Room, where you receive your mission briefings.

So what does a mission look like in this game?

You start at the end of the last mission, in the expansive landing bay. You’re standing next to an impressive SF-35 Lightning Fighter and facing the main elevator of your capital ship, the Midway. The intercom system shatters any illusions of relaxation — “All pilots report to the ready room. All pilots report to the ready room.”

You make your way to the elevator, engage the selection for the ready room, and hang on as the conveyance whisks you several decks higher. The doors open to reveal a ready room — the area where pilots are briefed before their missions. You hit the “Start Mission” button and are greeted with a holographic transmission from Fleet Admiral Heyerdahl of the USF command — you are to fly to Mars and directly engage units which were part of the Pentad attacks on Earth.

You travel to the hangar bay, choose your fighter from an array of available craft, and equip it with a large selection of guns, missiles, stealth coalescers, shield generators, and other configurable enhancements. You tap the ENGAGE MISSION selection, and are in the launch bay over the planet Mars.

Starlight Inception

You launch with a whoosh and fight through the enemy forces in orbit. A wave of Olympus Empire Dominance fighters approaches and intelligently evades your forces. You have three tactical partners, Darkstar One, Three, and Four, that you can issue commands to — but you are still outnumbered. Darkstar One reports that she has taken 50% damage. You tell her to assume a defensive position while you push forward on your left analog stick and hold down the right shoulder button to accelerate. After you neutralize the Olympus threat, you breathe a sigh of relief, and stare at the impossibly huge red orb before you.

But your break is short-lived. You are ordered to fly down to the surface to engage the ground forces. You push down on the right shoulder button and your fighter accelerates wildly down… down… even further down, through the outer atmosphere of the red planet. And you are suddenly in the sky over Mars, barreling headlong toward the Martian dust before you pull up. You quickly switch to cockpit view to check your instruments.

What’s that? A Surface-to-Air Missile on the HoloRadar? Better evade it as quickly as you can before you become just another particle of that Martian dust.

Multiplayer is robust and one of the reasons we did not ship back in December as originally planned. The game supports several play modes for up to eight players in both team and deathmatch configurations, and makes available all of the fighters, bombers, and transports from single player, plus additional multiplayer-only craft, including several enemy craft.

Starlight InceptionStarlight Inception

The modes include Free For All (Deathmatch based on frags or timer), Team Deathmatch, protect the flag, and capture the flag. The “flag” in this case is a sphere of light which you can control for your team. We have created ten arenas, loosely based on the levels in the game, in which to fight. You can fly through the caves of Rhea, a moon of Saturn, or fly through the radioactive remnants of Chicago, engage in combat within the Space Station Sigma Seven, or hit afterburners over the lunar surface. We expended a great deal of effort to make multiplayer a fun and compelling experience on PS Vita, as we did with the rest of the game.

Another item that we addressed was the feedback received from our beta, which was released in November of last year. The chief comment was framerate. We have made huge strides in improving framerate in all modes of the game, while fixing other bugs along the way. The action is now silky smooth, even when traversing the area between space and planetary atmospheres. We have also improved our lighting model.

We should also mention the soundtrack, performed by three time Grammy-nominated composer, David Arkenstone. David had previously contributed music to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and is amazingly talented. It has been a true pleasure to work directly with David to match his musical style to the battles, and quiet stretches, that occur within Starlight Inception. David’s music has definitely captured the excitement and danger of the missions.

There are numerous PS Vita specific features in Starlight Inception — we make use of the accelerometer, the front touch pad, and the sticks. You can use the accelerometer to control your ship’s flight just by shifting the Vita from side to side. The touchpad is enabled for menus as well as icons within the game — especially the toggle for camera controls and roll control tied to the right analog stick.

Starlight Inception

We wanted to offer a genuine space combat experience with Starlight Inception. In order to do that, we worked with military advisors who reviewed the script and character dialogue. We have also entered into a licensing agreement with Lockheed Martin for the use of fighter names and the Lockheed name. This is the first time Lockheed Martin has ever endorsed a product that portrays future products with the Lockheed name, and we were both honored and excited to be able to do this. We feel it really adds to the realism of our game.

Finally, we wanted to say thank you to all of our supporters who believed in our game before it was a game. First and foremost, we are working to make good on our promises to you folks and hope we are delivering a product that is light years beyond what you expected and hoped for.

And we are always happy to answer your questions. Light up the sky…

Kindest regards,
Garry, Melissa, and the Starlight Inception Team

Comments are closed.


81 Author Replies

  • How close is this to a Wing Commander III, IV. Prophecy experience? I’m on board because I want to see this genre live again.

    • Wing Commander and the Xwing vs. TIE were definitely two inspirations for our game. We are just as excited about this genre as you are.

  • Man, I wish this was free-to-play. It’d be nice to get a F2P game that isn’t yet another puzzle game or casual game.

    • This game had a rather large budget and we would not survive as a company if we made it a F2P game. I personally am not a believer in “freemium” titles – I believe a developer/publisher should charge a fair price for a complete product and only charge for non-critical or significant add-ons. We believe we have arrived at a fair price for the content in this game, and hope you can understand why we made that decision. Thank you for the feedback.

      Kindest Regards,

  • Ok this really cool i had no idea it was coming to PS Vita, thank you Escape Hatch Entertainment my wallet is ready :)

  • This looks really sweet. Will a demo be available? I just want to make sure the controls feel good while playing. Nothing worse than a game that has clunky controls.

    • We are working on a demo for the game, but realistically, it won’t be up in the next week. If you “like” our page on Facebook (Starlight Inception), or follow us on twitter @escapehatchent, the announcement will be posted when it is available.

  • Looks awesome! Price?

  • I’d love to give this a try.

  • I’ve been reading about this for forever now, and I am really excited.

    My big question is, is the PS3 version going to be a cross-play / cross-buy?

    I will probably hold out for the PS3 version depending on this, as this just looks awesome, and I would rather play with my home theater set up as opposed to my Vita.

    • Yes, the PS3 version will be a free download as soon as it is available (estimated date is early June) if you purchased the Vita version.

  • + endustry94 on April 22nd, 2014 at 10:12 am said:
    Looks awesome! Price?

    …$22.99? Pretty sure it said so in the blog post.

  • Cool, can’t wait to try it out.

  • for that price, I think I’ll just go with batman or injustice. Or both :3

  • The beta was awesome, but $23? I’m thinking $12 tops but I’ll get it on sale one day for sure.

  • Looks fun. How big of a download is this going to be? I am interested in the game, but my Vita card is nearly full.

    • The size of the game is a double-edged sword: on one hand it is large (2346 MB); on the other hand there is a huge amount of content and gameplay.

  • I’d be more likely to purchase this game if it wasn’t associated with Lockheed Martin

    • Haha. Well Lockheed Martin was very nice to let us use their name for the game – they were the only manufacturer (in present day) that would let their name be associated with products they hadn’t even created yet. We thought it added an air of authenticity to the game. After all, if you play a game like HAWX, you wouldn’t be able to avoid these guys.

  • This looks cool. I’ll prolly give it a try. The beta seemed pretty cool. The Vita is on its way, but it still needs a few titles to really help.

    PS Vita wishlist is as follows. (lol)

    Mega Man 9
    KOF ’13
    Hard Corps Uprising
    Sonic Mega Collection (Sonic 1-3 + Sonic and Knuckles. Sonic CD?)
    NBA JAM On Fire Edition
    Prince of Persia Classic
    Labyrinth Legends
    Shank 1 and 2
    The Cave

    Also, how tough would it be to get Street Fighter Collection 2 and the PS1 Mega Man X games added to PS1 Classics?

    • We have no control over other games, just Starlight Inception, but there is a link: to submit new ideas to Sony.

      Thank you for the feedback – we thought Vita needed this title, and we’re surprised that there aren’t more space combat games on this system.

      Kindest Regards,

  • Question, How customizable are the controls, I know from the beta the controls didn’t feel too correct. How have you fixed this?

    • We have done a lot of work on making the controls as usable as possible. We have some customization (y-axis invert for example works now), and the accelerometer can be used to steer the ships as well.

  • Thank you for the questions and comments!

    @ KazeEternal – Thanks. Wing Commander and X-Wing vs. TIE were our inspiration.

    @JonJonXD – Good question! Yes we WILL BE cross-buy when the PS3 version of Starlight Inception releases (estimated June 2014). The way it will work is when an individual purchases the PS Vita version of Starlight Inception, he/she will see the PS3 game as free when it comes out. Please note – it will not be in the download list and he/she will not be notified. You just browse to it on the store and download it.

  • @ blackryn0 – We fixed issues with the y-axis invert. We will continue to tweak the controls based on user feedback after launch.

  • O ok thank you. Just bought it. I have high hopes for this game I have been waiting for it for long time. I am a big indie supporter. Good luck :)

    • Thank you – looks like Melissa might have already answered your question, but I jumped in too. :)

      Kindest Regards,

  • We did have several discussions regarding the price of Starlight Inception. We decided on $22.99 because we feel it is a good value at that price given the feature set, content, and more than 40 hours of single-player gameplay, an online multiplayer component for up to eight players, and a first-person mode which lets you explore your mothership between missions. The two full single-player campaigns are one heavily scripted story based and one tower defense based.

  • For that amount of content its more than worth that price. Its a shame people would rather pay 40 to 60 dollars for something they played last year and the year before that and the year before that. Thanks for bringing this to the psvita, its almost unheard of that a game of this scope can be on a handheld you have set the bar.

  • The BETA was pretty fun, I’ll wait for a sale, but a definite buy. I really liked this. If my brother and I get this, it would be really fun car time trip fun. :)

  • Actually, I’ll probably buy it now for myself, buy it for him as a gift when on sale. Looking over the feature list again, this is more jam-packed than I previously thought. Looks sick. And again, the BETA was fun, and that was but a very tiny chunk of the game. I miss X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, rouge squadron. Those two non-rails space shooters were really fun, and I could use more. This looks really fun. And 40 hrs of SP. Yes please! :)

  • What is the estimated file size for the game?

    (I’m not sure if I’ll have enough spare room on my memory card at the moment, but it would be handy to note how much space I’ll need to set aside for it to work.)

  • I played the beta for this and enjoyed this greatly at some point I will get this at some point.

  • For $23, please tell me this game is cross buy for all three versions of the game.

    • Yes we WILL BE cross-buy when the PS3 version of Starlight Inception releases (estimated June 2014). The way it will work is when an individual purchases the PS Vita version of Starlight Inception, he/she will see the PS3 game as free when it comes out. Please note – it will not be in the download list and he/she will not be notified. You just browse to it on the store and download it.

  • Game looks promising, but it is over-priced on Vita as the same game (with presumably better graphics) can be bought on Steam for $19.99. Portability and motion control is neat, but is more than off-set by worse graphics and a slightly higher price. I’ll wait for the inevitable Steam sale on this one or hope it shows up eventually PS+.

    • The version for Vita (and PS3) was specifically developed for those systems, and is tuned and tweaked to work on whatever native system it exists on. It is very hard to compare a product on handheld or a console to a PC game, but we respect your decision.

      Kindest Regards,

  • I also really wish this had a day one ps plus discount. :(

    • I’m sorry that it doesn’t, but, because of the budget and the delivered features, we feel it is worth the price.

  • I agree with #26. I’d love to get the game, but it’s priced higher than the Steam version, which is unacceptable for a game that, for all I know, is pretty much the same thing content-wise on all platforms.

    Also, why doesn’t the creator have his own red tag to signify his dev status?

    • The Steam version was in transition from early access, and as part of that transition will be having it’s price raised to $22.99 very soon.

      All of our comments (except for Melissa’s initial answers) should now be redtagged.

  • Sweet! I’ll be picking this up with my next month’s gaming budget :) Already bought FFX this month :(

  • How many trophies does it have? and does it have a platinum? I liked the beta plan on getting it soon.

  • @ KazeEternal – Thanks. Wing Commander and X-Wing vs. TIE were our inspiration.

    with this discription, I’m sold. going to buy after work.

  • Looks really great. I needed a game like this on the Vita and here it is! And, it looks really impressive. I’m totally sold!

  • The game has officially launched, and I’m sitting here without my backer code. People who literally just heard of this game today because of this blog post are getting to play it before me, despite the fact that I paid for it months ago. Melissa kindly said she was looking into the issue for me, but that doesn’t mean much now that the game has officially released and I could have just bought it today. I saved a few bucks, but for what? To test my patience?

    It looks like the only way I’ll be playing this is if I buy it… again. What a nice feeling, after looking forward to this stupid game for months. I guess now that the game is out, the people who helped fund it take the back seat for those who haven’t bought it yet.

    • Hi Rockefellow – Melissa here. I am in the process of responding to everyone. My apologies for the delay. I will send you another email with your PS Vita voucher (SCEA). Again my apologies that you did not receive it when they were sent out on Sunday evening. We sincerely appreciate your support of Starlight Inception.

    • Hi Rockefellow – Melissa again. One note – I have been in contact with Sony today and the PS Vita vouchers (SCEA) that were sent out on Sunday evening are still in the process of being activated. This includes the code I am sending to you. My Sony rep has requested that the PS Vita vouchers (SCEA) be activated ASAP. We were not anticipating a launch until early evening. I will notify all backers again once I hear that they are activated.

  • Well! Either I was simply impatient, or calling attention to the issue sped up the process here. Whatever the case, I appreciate the effort, Melissa– wondering when or if the code was coming was simply exasperating for all the reasons I expressed above. I don’t mind if the code isn’t activated just yet– I just wanted it in the first place.

    Thanks again, and congratulations to the whole team on the launch!

    • We were unaware that the PS Vita vouchers (SCEA) were not activated when we sent them out on Sunday. I was only informed this morning that there were issues downloading with the code. I immediately contacted Sony and they looked into the issue finding that the vouchers were still in the process of being activated. We were anticipating an early evening launch time onto PSN so my guess is that is why the delay in activation. Once I contacted Sony, they immediately responded and put in a rush for activation. Those codes are now active and yes we did test it first ;-) Thank you for your patience! – Melissa

  • Is there a character creation option? btw, this game looks pretty awesome and reminds me of X-wing rogue squadron II.

    • Not exactly. However the “characters” of this game are the 30+ space fighters, bombers, and transports. Also there are many non player characters that you interact with, both male and female.

  • This looks super cool. I miss this genre. Why aren’t there more games like this anymore? I miss the old days of Wing Commander and Colony Wars.

    • Thank you! We feel the same way, and put our several years of blood, sweat and tears into this game to prove it. :)

      Kindest Regards,

  • ah… well, bummer on the character creation. But I can’t wait to get home and buy this game. My dreams of being an ace-starship pilot begin tonight!


    I’m even posting this from my vita too. I am pretty excited. I don’t expect it to be perfect. I only expect it to be made with true and sincere love for this genre. And I have a good and obvious feeling my expectations will be met. I too grew up living and breathing the fantasy of space sims like Wing Commander. From the hand drawn, CG, to FMV incarnations. As a gamer it these types of games wil always have a warm spot of my heart. I will gladly help support anyone who dreams to make these kind of games. Thanks for the effort alone. (waiting for it download, makes me imagine that moment when a new cadet or crew member is on their way to their post. They are often in a shuttle looking out the window getting a glimpse of their new home.) I can’t wait.

  • Why are people complaining about the price? Game development is costly. To add Vita specific features cost more than simply porting it. When game devs go out of business, everyone cries foul, yet people constantly piss and moan about a few dollars. I was not going to purchase this game, but will buy it this week just to support the dev.

  • Actually got to play it…it’s actually pretty good so far – one glance at the hangar options, and I started drooling (ooh, unlockables. I like unlockables…) Only gripe I’ve had so far is the very, very first part, first person view while walking around, the Y-axis isn’t inverted, even though I selected it in Options (space combat, it is inverted, and works like a dream); made me almost give up right from the start, before the meat of the game :( Can’t quite admire the scenery when whenever I want to look up, I keep looking down…

    • Thank you for getting the game! We are working on the walking y-axis inversion option for a future patch (thank you for the suggestion). Stay tuned.

  • @mentolkase is ur brain backwards? i don’t understand why like people on shooters think up should be down an down should be up? thats backwards, if i wanna aim up my brain says press up on analog stick not down on it

    • If there is one thing I’ve learned about game players (and I’m one myself), customization for play style is very important…

      Kindest Regards,

  • make demo an i will try

    • We addressed this above, but we are working on a demo. Please like our page on Facebook (Starlight Inception) or follow us on twitter (@escapehatchent) for a future announcement.

      Kindest Regards,

  • @41 Let’s keep personal insults at bay.

    Missed the campaign on KickStarter but I will not be missing this anytime soon.
    Can’t exactly play it right now (injured my left eye when a lithium battery exploded yesterday, so dealing with that), but I will be trying my best to add it to my cart and buy it right quick.
    Thank you for bringing us more games for our PS Vita.

    (man, that was hard to type)

    • Sorry to hear about the explosion (eeek!), and hope you feel well soon.

      Thank you for the kind words, and +1 on the personal insults advice.

      Kindest Regards,

  • Also, if you add this link somewhere on the post (with tags and all to show it as the game’s title), should make it that much easier to find:!/en-us/games/starlight-inception/cid=UP2105-PCSE00354_00-STARLIGHTINCEPTI

  • Why are people complaining it is cheaper on steam? All games are cheaper on steam.

  • Great job including so many features in the game, especially MP, I’m sure the delay was worth it. There is no game like it on Vita. I really enjoyed taking part in the beta and giving feedback.
    Can you tell us if the PS3 version be able to play multiplayer with Vita? You also mentioned PS4, is that also cross buy and same question regarding MP for PS4. I know it technically challenging for a small team, but I was just curious if you can shed some light on this topic.

    • Currently, the PS3 version can’t play multiplayer with Vita. Our biggest task before launch is hooking up CrossSave…

      The PS4 version would probably be a very slight crossgrade ($2.99, mostly to cover the cost of development).

      We have a much better chance of linking the PS3 and PS4 versions in MP.

      Thank you for the kind words – they really help!

      Kindest Regards,

  • Oh and @41
    This is a flying game, that how sticks work in flying games and real planes. Pull back to go up, forward for down. Imagine a stick coming out the top of your head, pushing forward makes your head look down, that’s how we old school gamers think. We hold our controllers pointing towards the tv, you might hold it pointing towards the roof. If you can’t understand that, then you are entitled to your own preference, just don’t paternise the rest of us.

    • We are working on maximum configurability in a future patch to cover as many preferences as we can manage…

  • Ouch :(

    I was all ready to buy this, but all excitement died reading the impressions in the link above. The Vita version looks like a hot mess. The UI is a sub-amateur effort with wobbly, messed up fonts… and look at that in-cockpit hud! It is utterly 100% unreadable. Did the developers actually think that this was ready to release on a fairly powerful portable? I’ve just finished Dead Nation and the Vita port was really nice, running native resolution with nice lighting. It was scaled back to fit the Vita, while maintaining a high quality throughout.

    Starlight Inception looks like it could have used another 6 months in the oven – Actually it could have used a few people with actual artistic skills. Most of the 2D art/UI looks like what is commonly referred to as “programmer art”. Very disappointing… will NOT buy! Too bad that the potential was wasted on this one due to abhorrent visual design. I like to buy games where the developer at least made an effort!

    • Everyone has a right to their opinion, and people are going to write what they want – we have no control over that. But please don’t rely on just one site for all the information – there are other reviews out there that have a different perspective than neogaf..ultimately you have to make your own decision.

      Kindest Regards,

  • I was already planning on getting this, but my eyes popped out of my head at the mention of David Arkenstone!! His tavern music from WoW was such an awesome gateway to the rest of his discography. Kudos for getting him to do the score for this!

    • The David Arkenstone score is awesome – we were so lucky to be able to work with him! The soundtrack is also available separately on itunes and Amazon, if you’re looking to just listen to the music. I listen to it in my car and it makes me feel like I’m in one of our spacefighters…probably TMI…:)

      But thank you for the kind words!

      Kindest Regards,

  • I am a little disappointed… hm… “a little” because of the lack of the adhoc support. Will you include it with a later update maybe?

    • It was implemented, but didn’t pass QA muster. We are weighing the pros and cons about including it in a future patch. Stay tuned.

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