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Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Fighter Squadron, Starfleet Command II Scrapped
12:17 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has published the fourth in its series of reader interviews with MacPlay. In answer to questions from our readers, the publisher's Henry Price reveals that the long, long, long-awaited World War II flight sim Fighter Squadron: Screamin' Demons over Europe has been scrapped, as has the Star Trek strategy game Starfleet Command II: Empires at War:

Ingmar Wenz: When was the last progress made regarding Fighter Squadron and when will it finally ship?

MacPlay: We have decided to halt development on Fighter Squadron. We reached this decision for many reasons, the most significant being the difficulty with porting the original code and the amount of time it has taken to finish the product. We know that this decision is disappointing but the good news is that it will allow us to free up internal resources, which will result in the release of more current titles....

Scott Schroeder: Regarding our long awaited friend Starfleet Command: Empires at War, is it still on track for a May-June release?

MacPlay: Thank you for your inquiry. I am not sure you are going to like our answer very much. Due to delays in development on our part and licensing issues that are out of our control, we have decided to forgo publishing Starfleet Command II.

The development history of Fighter Squadron is especially long and unfortunate. Begun five and a half years ago by Parsoft and cross-platform from the start, the Mac code was abandoned under pressure from Activision when the game's development took longer than expected. After a long interval, the resurrected MacPlay picked up the game and contracted with Contraband Entertainment to complete the conversion.

Until its cancellation, Starfleet Command II was being converted by The Omni Group.

Price had welcome words of reassurance, however, about the status of two other long-awaited titles, Hexen II and Heretic II, also in conversion at Contraband:

Robert Smelser: I'm curious about Heretic II and Hexen II. These have both been "Coming Soon!" for much longer than most people would define "soon." Will these be released in the near future, or will they become perpetual projects like the eternal port of Undying from Aspyr? Thanks a bundle for this open inquiry!

MacPlay: We are working hard on both titles and I must confess that the development has taken a bit longer than any of us would like. I can tell you that I had the chance to play both games on a very long airplane ride, and you will not be disappointed. Both titles should be released within the next months and are an integral part of the new MacPlay Value Series.

The topics raised by IMG's readers range widely, and a number of Price's answers are quite illuminating. These two are just a sample:
Lofty Walrus: When is it determined that a game has sold well? One month after release? One year? Another way to ask this question might be: After a game is released, how long do I have to vote with my wallet and make my vote count? If I wait for a game to end up in the budget bin does my purchase still make a difference?

MacPlay: Good question, and a tough one to answer! Typically at retail a product has to hit certain sales numbers in order to warrant taking up shelf space. Most store chains will give you some ramp up time, but on average you have about 3 months (90 days) to hit the minimum sales number an a weekly cycle. If you are not selling the minimum the product is in jeopardy of being "sent to the showers," to quote a baseball term. So to answer your question: any time is a good time to purchase a Mac product. Optimally, when a product first releases to retail, and you have the chance to pick it up from your favorite retailer, you help to support the Mac market in general.

Chainsaw: Obviously having good quality assurance is one way to gain and keep customers. In the past year, however, it seems that some publishers have been slack on making sure their games are as bug free and complete as possible. What kind of quality assurance system does MacPlay have set up to try to prevent such things from happening? And, is there any one title from MacPlay that you wish a bit more time was spent on bug squashing?

MacPlay: Absolutely! Quality assurance is extremely important. Customer satisfaction is one thing that we do not take lightly at MacPlay. I think we at MacPlay have made great strides in this area. We have absolutely the best development teams in the industry converting our products, our tech support team is top notch and our entire company has one focus and that is to produce the best and to be as innovative and attentive to our customers needs. We have beta testers all over the world that test our products and in fact we have just expanded our in-house beta testing team by 200%, just to ensure that we can recreate errors in house. I think we have done a pretty good job on our products. I know we have gotten better at releasing products and delivering a gaming experience that exceeds our customer's expectation.

For the rest of our reader interview with MacPlay, follow the link below. E-mail your questions for future installments to with the subject "Ask MacPlay". Or, for an earlier opportunity to put your questions to the publisher, tune in to The Gamesome Mac on Monday, June 3, when MacPlay's president, Mark Cottam, will be the featured guest.

IMG Feature: Ask MacPlay - Volume 4
IMG Preview: Fighter Squadron
Contraband Entertainment
Starfleet Command II

Other Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Apple Updates iBook1:40 PM
IGN Mac Launched12:59 PM
DX2: Invisible War Announced for the PC12:27 PM
• Fighter Squadron, Starfleet Command II Scrapped12:17 PM
Apple's Hot Date with Mr. Wright9:10 AM
Civilization III: Play the World Movies and Screenshots9:10 AM
MacPlay Announces Freedom Force9:10 AM
X-Plane 6.16 Released9:10 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 21, 2002 on one page

Mac Games News for Monday, May 20, 2002

IMG Previews Max Payne12:16 PM
MacSoft Ships Stronghold9:55 AM
Contraband Porting EV: Nova to Windows6:00 AM
Custer's Desktops to Be Updated Fridays6:00 AM
EV Nova Patch at Final Candidate6:00 AM
MacSoft's Al Schilling on The Gamesome Mac6:00 AM
Master of Orion III Update, Concept Art6:00 AM
Shadowbane Interview & E3 Plans6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, May 20, 2002 on one page

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