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

  • Damn time goes fast…I downloaded the beta months ago and even installed on my Vita but I never really had time to play it and now the game is out already…damn.

    • I wish the time could have gone faster (it was a hard process on our end to finalize this game). Just really glad people are playing it and enjoying it.

  • I gave the demo a fair shake and I’m leaving it disappointed. All the things that others have pointed out on various forums are unfortunately true. It’s a technically and artistically ugly game that unfortunately isn’t all that good/interesting/fun either. It’s a great shame, really, because I feel that there’s potential for a good game in there, but I don’t think the devs have enough resources to pull that off. It would take tremendous updating to pull a truly good game out of this disappointing mess. I would really have loved for this to be good, but it’s definitely not for me. Can’t say whether other people will find enjoyment in there, but I didn’t.

    No space renaissance on my Vita this time around :( At least there’s Elite Dangerous to look forward to on my PC.

    • Thank you for your feedback – we’ve done a lot of work since the demo to improve the experience, and we’re sorry to hear you won’t be a part of that.

      Kindest Regards,

  • will the cross buy include ps4 version as well

  • awesome for just $2.99 more it is well worth it to have on all my systems. so glad there is another space shooter, I was playing wing commander IV on my ps3 just to have a fix. just buying it now loved the beta cant wait until its downloaded to blow some ships up lol thanks for an awesome game keep it up. when will ps4 version be out?

    • I will say this but have to let you know that I predicted the Vita version would be out in December of 2013, so my crystal ball isn’t always accurate. :) We’re looking at early Fall (probably early September) for the PS4 version, but please apply the proper size grain of salt to that statement.

  • Personally, I think it’s astounding just how many people are complaining about the game’s price. Seriously? $23 is not overpriced. If it were a physical release, it’d been 40 for Vita, probably more on PS3 and PS4. So $23? That’s a good price. Now, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand not being able to AFFORD a game, and WISHING that a game you want to be on sale, but it’s NOT the same as being overcharged. Not even the same ballpark. Instead of just saying: ‘I’ll get this when I have the money’ and accepting the truth, some decide to accuse the developer of charging an unreasonable price. Really? Go look at Ace Combat: Joint Assault on PSP (Which is 34.99! at the time of this posting) and then come back here and have the audacity to complain.

    Now, I currently do not have enough money in my PSN wallet to purchase, but when I do (and it’s payday this Friday, so I’ll be getting my bi-weekly allowance), I’ll definitely be buying. Played the Beta, and I thought it was fun. It has definite shades of Colony Wars (awesome), and Ace Combat IN SPACE (Add reverb, please), not to mention the obvious wing Commander and Tie Fighter influences that you’ve mentioned. Soon, my Vita. Soon.

  • cool thanks will be play vita version now and ps3 version in a couple of months so that should keep me busy until then any anyway

  • Hi Mr. Garry.
    At first, I thought that all the questions would go unanswered like the majority of posts here on psblog. But seeing that you answered quite professionally all the questions, you guys got my respect! Based on what we see here, and after having a beta to begin with, we can expect some support

    Your answer @15:
    “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.”

    Well, this is what I really dig in flight sims:
    Left Stick: Down goes up, Up goes down, Left to roll left, Right to roll right (like a real plane control) (with the option to invert axis)
    Right Stick: Up looks up(camera), Down looks down(camera), Left to bank left, Right to bank right (with the option to invert axis)
    To put it simply, just let us assing whatever control to whatever direction we want and you´ll see a legion of happy space pandas :-D

    If there´s this option, or if you guys can implement it, I´ll just have to start selling your game to my friends (same tastes in flight sims/arcadeys)

    Thanks in advance!

    • Thank you for the kind words. Our joysticks are a little different from that scheme, but that will be changing – Adam (our lead programmer) and me have been planning a patch that allows more customization.

  • I can’t tell you how excited I am about this title! Actually, I think I just did. I have always been a big fan of the space sim genre and have been Dying for a gripping space sim with an interesting story and tons of awesome gameplay. I am currently 4 hours in, and I am having a chuffing great time! Truly a phenomenal effort, that is (in my eyes at least) a shinning success. Great job Escape Hatch, all those long hours your team has put in have paid off. I can truly tell this is a labor of love. You have earned a life long fan. Great job!

  • Holy hell, how did the development of this game slip under my radar? I blew all my money on Demon Gaze yesterday, but this will be my next purchase.

  • Great game !!! I just played through the training mission it ran pretty smooth . Thank you .

  • Another thing… Why is everything almost completely black on the Vita, it’s dreadful to look at once you launch into space. Can you put in a gamma adjust slider? This game needs some serious tweaking before it’s worth picking up. I’ll keep an eye on it, because I see potential, but as it stands now it’s not in a state befitting a commercial release. It’s like a very early beta game in many respects and needs some serious patching. I don’t understand how this passed QA with all these glaringly obvious and detracting issues.

    • Thank you for your feedback – we can definitely look at this for a future patch.

      Kindest Regards,

  • Been playing the game for several hours now so some first impressions.

    Big question – why are pitch and yaw on one stick and roll on the other? So “unrealistic” (albeit it’s a space flight sim!) and detrimental to game play. Pitch and roll on the left and yaw on the right would have made more sense? Not entirely convinced that yaw is even necessary in a game like this.

    My expectations were possibly too ambitious – after all, this isn’t Elite Dangerous. But given it’s very reasonable cost it delivers a decent experience (notwithstanding the above comment regarding pitch & roll!).

    I find the text incredibly difficult to read and the on-screen HUD (especially in-cockpit) information is almost impossible to absorb quickly and easily.

    Would have been good to have some non-combat missions too – the landing routine is excellent.

    An excellent and much needed addition to the Vita portfolio.


    • Thank you for the kind words, Tim. Control schemes are always something that has a lot of back and forth – we choose this one because it made sense at that the time to be our predominant scheme. With all that said, we are going to be releasing a patch which will allow the user to have more control over configuring these controls.

  • I am going to pick this up for sure. I grew up on X-wing, all the Wing Commander games, Privateer, Darkstar, etc.

  • Did not realize this was cross buy with ps3. I love that and miss x wing vs tie fighter. That being said, my purchase will now be defined by one remaining factor: is there a 1st person mode during flight? It ain’t flight sim if there ain’t first person.

    • I agree. There is a 1st person cockpit view, and a 3rd person tethered camera view, easily switched by hitting the “Select” button.

  • I’m interested but only have 8gb so once i beat and delete persona 4 I’ll probably get it

  • Thank you!

  • Downloaded the game at release and was really loving it. Until I encountered a game crashing bug that occurs upon completing mission 2 and attempting to dock. The screen goes black while the music continues or it shows up an error message. So as it is, I can not complete mission 2. Other than that, great atmosphere, engrossing sound and music, just can’t PLAY what I PAID for.

    Please focus on patching.

  • On second thought I would like to personally request a refund. I just loaded the game up again and have had nothing but crashes in the second mission at any time. 3 and counting.

    I love the game, but if I can’t play it where does that leave me?

    So I really regret to DISCOURAGE ANYONE TO DOWNLOAD THIS GAME UNTIL IT IS PATCHED as the game is unplayable and broken.

    Quite a shame.

    • First of all, we are very committed to making this as great a product as possible, and that includes plans for future patches. In the case of mission 2, it has been very well tested, and we have not encountered this problem, nor seen it reported by any of our testers. My advice would be to try replaying the mission from the beginning, and please send us email at with this issue if it repeats. We are very glad to look at this potential problem and get it fixed.

      Very sorry for any inconvenience that has caused.

      Kindest Regards,

  • Sadly, I have to agree with some of the more negative revews about this game. The graphics are not mind-blowing and the first person cockpit takes some figuring out. The voice acting is not terribly bad, but it isn’t very good either. There are also some bugs in the game, some of which can stop play.

    Nothing wrong with this game can’t be overcome. The graphics, as stated above, aren’t quite amazing, but you can tell that a lot of work and all-nighters was put into it. The exploration of the Midway is a prime example. This feature has NO OTHER POINT except showcasing the dev’s love and passion for the genre.

    P.S. If I could change ome thing about the game, it’d be the option to have the power grid/squad command without pausing the game It’d be difficult to pull off in a patch I imagine but the game would be less pause-and-go during complicated battles and such. Probably a forlorn hope, but a hope nonetheless!

    I wrote alot more positive things, but PSN doesnt like novels in the comments. In short, dont judge a book by its cover. Give the game a chance, and it doesnt disappoint.

    • Thank you! We are working on fixing the bugs for a patch (please feel free to send anything you find to, as well as addressing issues with the cockpit art and UI art (we have already made strides in making it clearer). We will definitely take a look at the power grid/squad command pause (it would be very easy to give the players a setting in options to pause when on this screen or not).

      Kindest Regards,

  • Your customer support is very impressive, and as I said before, I was in love with this game before it’s hiccups came about. But believe me when I say that mission 2 is a crash fest. I’ve uninstalled, reinstalled, booted down, restarted, and the crash is only more prevalent.

    I would prefer to not go private with technical issues because as your product stands, it’s SO cool. But gamers like me with that same appreciation still deserve a product that WORKS.

    That said, buyer BEWARE. This is ALPHA level. And that said I am so very sorry devs..

    • Thank you, MCstitiK, for the kind words about our customer support. We really do strive to put the customer first, even though we are an independent developer.

      Also, I am very sincere in saying that you are the first person to report crash bugs with the game on this level. Sony QA and our own QA have not reported the issues that you’re seeing. I am also sincere in wanting to help figure out why you have a crash.

      If there is any way you can send a step-by-step description of what we can do to reproduce the issue that you’re having (and I really think the Sony blogs aren’t the proper forum for this) to we would be very happy to get to the bottom of what is occuring. Things we would need to help resolve this issue:

    • > Screenshot of your chosen ship in the launch bay (this may be spacefighter related – we have over thirty options),
      > Step-by-step instructions to reproduce the bug (there’s a lot of stuff to do in mission 02, and we want to narrow down what it is you’re doing when it occurs). If you can record video of the crash, that would be a great help, but I know that this is a more complicated process on the Vita.
      > Any other relevant information to help us track this down (a screenshot of the equipment configuration you have chosen would help

      Finally, I wanted to share this video playthrough from EltheGeek on youtube:

      Since he makes it to the end of the mission, I thought you might see if you are doing something differently that might help us track down your issue.

      Finally, I wonder if there is something going on with your Vita – PCs have lots of differences that can cause problems with certain hardware configurations, but Vitas really shouldn’t…

      Again, we are very sorry that you are experiencing issues with the game.

      Kindest Regards,

  • I quite enjoy this game, I have been through a lot of start up games where things had to be upgraded and patched in. I paid for this game knowing that and am interested in the growth this game will travel. One thing I would like to add is an ability to turn the hand on or off in the cockpit. Just personal preference its not life or death lol.

    I look forward to future play with this game and many more nights of passing out on the couch playing (like last night).

    Keep working on the game and I will keep playing.

    Thank you,
    Lusent, aka: Killer’s Keep, aka: Bones666

    • The option to turn the pilot hand on or off is being added in the next patch, along with lots of other enhancements/fixes.

      Thank you for the kind words.

  • The price is actually pretty good for such a game especially if Cross buy is confirmed. Thanks for giving me a chance to beta test.

  • I really appreciate the developer of Escape Hatch responding to nearly every question and complaint. It shows a commitment to their product and that they actually do care what their customers and potential customers say.

    I have yet to play the game myself, I just purchased it about an hour ago but I have no time to play it at this time. I bought it because I was interested in it when I heard about it two years ago and I want the Vita to have more games like this. I am aware of it’s flaws but the overall game seemed worth it. Still I think there is room for improvement through patches and am glad to see the developer has plans for that.

    • Hello – thank you for the kind words and for purchasing Starlight Inception. We really appreciate it.

      We definitely listen and do what we can with the issues we receive. We really appreciate all of the feedback and are committed to doing everything we can to make this game as good as possible. And that includes doing patches.

      Our opinion is that there is a lot to be learned from all feedback, negative and positive. We have an email,, so the team can listen to feedback and address issues as we can.

      Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm.

      Kindest regards,
      Melissa & Garry

  • I have to agree with the user that wanted proper pitch and yaw control options and with the user that wanted inverted aiming while walking through the ship. I’d add that a faster walk or run option would be nice too as it looks like it takes too long to walk throughout the huge ship and perhaps some interaction would be nice as well with monitors or NPC’s.

    To the complaint about game crashing, I found a video showing just that here:

    It shows that the game crashed just after landing forcing a restart. On the second attempt the mission was completed like normal.

    Also finding out the game only has 15 or so trophies and no platinum is disappointing for game as content rich as this.

    • Y-invert while in exploration mode will be present in the next patch, along with a run capability in the exploration mode. We’ll see about fixing the crash bug as well (thank you for the link).

      The trophy amount was out of our control, but we are appealing the decision with Sony, based on the size of the game, and will announce on FB, EHEforums,com and Kickstarter if this decision gets overturned.

  • Ok, after having played it I have some likes and dislikes and I will use that email, thanks.

  • there have been very few frame rate issues. usually if there are too many lasers going off or too many ships on screen. Also the Character models seem a bit stiff. These are the only two flaws I see. All in all this was a great buy and I thank Escape Hatch for such a great space simulator. The first space sim I ever played was Colony Wars for the ps1. hint hint Sony should make that a download ps1 game *cough*. This game reminds me of Colony Wars with taking on huge ships and the fast paced dog fights. Thank you bringing a great genre to the vita and being apart of bringing the genre back!!

    • Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for your feedback as well. Those are currently issues are are reviewing. We appreciate your support and comments.

      Kindest regards,

  • Just wanted to say thank for a fun little game. Its just needs a little polish to be pretty great. I was doing a bit of research on a new vita game to pick up and this crossed my radar. It just so happened that Gary and his wife are local and were going to be at my local GS that same day. I decided to go check it out and am glad I did. Just their passion alone sold me on getting this game. They are a small group making something just for the love of it. I applaud them and look forward to what they will do with this title.

  • Does anyone know if there is a precedent for a game being updated from a small trophy list to a full game trophy list with a platinum? If so and if at all possible, I hope Starlight Inception gets that treatment and receives a platinum! I mean, come on, Hotline Miami has 19 little chapters and it has a platinum. Zombie Tycoon II has maybe 9 missions to play through and it has a platinum. With all the missions and unlockables, not to mention multiplayer, it seems to me that this game should be considered a full-length, large-scale game.

    That said, I am definitely not saying I won’t play the game without a platinum. I fully expect to buy it and play it as soon as I finish the couple of games I’m currently playing. This looks like the game I’ve been waiting for, and even better that it’s on the vita, my favorite gaming toy of all time!

    • We agree that this game should have a larger trophy list and a platinum – as stated in 74, the trophy amount was out of our control, but we are appealing the decision with Sony, based on the size of the game, and will announce on FB, EHEforums,com and Kickstarter if this decision gets overturned.

  • Aw I can’t believe I missed your prior mention of the trophy list and the appeal! Thanks for the patient response though, looking forward to getting my hands on this game!

  • chamberlanderic

    The game is broken and not finished.

    Some sounds are missing in action.
    subtitles are freezing
    cockpit view is useless since some of the dashboard info is too small
    objectives are not clear
    missions fail without explanation (survive the flow of interceptor)
    Allies don’t seem to respond to commands or do it randomly.
    some objective are so far, that by the time you get there, allies have killed everybody
    some waypoints are too close to the base, creating graphic collision bugs.

    The Beta was in much better shape than the final product.

    • Hello. Thank you for the feedback. I have forwarded those comments to We are currently working hard on a patch to address many of the common issues.

      Kindest regards,

  • I’m glad you guys are paving the way for Space Combat games on the Vita. I believe Sony is too busy driving developers’ mind into making games only for the PS4 so Vita gamers have to deal with what’s left of PS2 library of games – if they come and ports. Isn’t that right, Adam Boyes? Maybe Shahid can speak for him, I’m not sure, those two used to hide behind each other when asked…They just don’t want to say that when it comes to GAMES we really want on our handheld, Vita and PS4 are declared enemies.
    Anyway, I really want to support your game. I’ve asked for a Starlight Inception Review at but someone told me he was expecting an upcoming game update in order to review the game. I can picture myself playing this game for hours and complaining due to the fact Vita’s battery life won’t suit me haha.
    But this is for real, from the bottom of our heart, Vita gamers do appreciate what you guys have been doing and we know it’s very exhaustive but we will make it pay off. After all, no pain no gain right?

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