Today marks the coming of age of Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, the fourth and final game in a series that, rather shamefully, hasn't been revisited, remastered or reimagined in all the years since. What there have been are eight Star Wars movies, among them a full triptych of prequels and sequels, not one of which could have been wrapped up without an epic space battle or two somewhere within its running time.
Yes, X-Wings have fought TIE Fighters in two Battlefronts and there was fun to be had in both, but it was conveniently simple stuff even compared to the Rogue Squadron series, which itself has been left to rust over for almost 17 years.
As dedicated fans of the genre, I think you'll agree that it's a sad state of affairs that the most successful space saga in human history hasn't had a dedicated space game in what equates to three console generations, whilst the likes of Demolition, Force Commander and Lethal Alliance have been allowed exist in the meantime.
To be fair to LucasArts/Disney, investing in a new X-Wing, compared to, say, a Galactic Battle Royale or a Sandcrawler Mechanic Simulator, might seem about as bankable as betting on the Rebellion's chances of bringing down the first Death Star, but if farm boy Luke can fold away his targeting computer and pull off a one-in-a-million shot, so too could one of the planet's biggest media conglomerates.
After all, the first X-Wing was a million-seller before such things were commonplace and Alliance didn't do too badly either. With the Skywalker saga freshly concluded and space games almost as prominent as they were when the X-Wing series was soaring, surely it's a question of 'when' not 'if' an X-Wing successor is revealed? Otherwise, we're going to have to conclude that the Grand Moff tasked with greenlighting Stars Wars games for development has something personal against space games. Maybe they were traumatised by mission 4 of X-Wing as a kid?
In the meantime, we can at least celebrate the occasion by going back to X-Wing Alliance, the only game in the series that, until recently, I managed to put some time into. By all accounts, it wasn't the best in the series and came second in most aspects next to contemporaries Freespace and Starlancer, but the fully-voiced dialogue, together with a cast of characters trying to escape the pull of the Galactic Civil War, lent proceedings a measure of gravity that, to my mind, equaled that of Kyle Katarn's saber-twirling adventures.
Before I also start foaming at the mouth over the lack of a new Jedi Knight game, I shall try to calm down by reminding myself of how good X-Wing Alliance was by playing it later in a darkened room - all whilst hoping Disney gets its shit together by announcing a new X-Wing before another anniversary comes around.