In December of 2018, Ars was lucky enough to sit down with Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III—a pair of designers who have worked on a ton of amazing games but who are probably known best by geeks of a certain age as the creators of the Star Control series. Paul and Fred (one quickly begins referring to them with a single mashed-together word that kind of sounds like “paulnfred”) were extraordinarily generous with their time, hauling out box after box of vintage game design documents, piles of meticulously folded maps and charts, notebooks full of sketches and UX concepts—a treasure trove of Star Control.
As with all of our “War Stories” videos, we had to edit down a few hours’ worth of footage into a 10-to-15-ish minute video—that seems to be about the limit that most folks will tolerate when it comes to game design videos on YouTube. And as with all of our “War Stories” videos, we had a huge amount of great footage left over when we were done.
We used a few minutes of that footage to create a second video, titled “Six Degrees of Star Control.” As we were discussing the genesis of Star Control, we found a lot of famous and soon-to-be-famous space game designers in the late ’80s and early ’90s crossed paths quite frequently, and Paul and Fred worked with a lot of big names. This includes folks like Starflight’s Greg Johnson, Dungeons and Dragons artist Erol Otis, and Star Wars concept designer Ian McCaig.
The other couple of hours of footage seemed doomed to sit in the vault—but not anymore.
The extended interview of kings
In the same way we’ve released extended interviews with many of the other designers we’ve talked to—including Myst’s Rand Miller, Crash Bandicoot’s Andy Gavin, and Homeworld’s Rob Cunningham—we are pleased to bring you our extended interview with Paul and Fred. We’ve pulled together a supercut of the interview and all the cool stuff we weren’t quite able to find room for in the shorter video, and it’s great to be able to spend some extra time with the duo.
And of course, now that the pesky lawsuit is settled, Paul and Fred are hard at work on their long-rumored and mysterious Ur-Quan Masters sequel, once tentatively titled Ghosts of the Precursors and now unnamed. As soon as they have any news on that project to share, you can bet we’ll be there to report on it.