Your handy guide to Star Control
Star Control 1 (1990)- The game was just the space battles. Sort of an Archon in spacewar format. The aliens created as background for the game would go on to appear fully fleshed out in…
Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters (1992) - The battles from SC1 dropped into an epic, dynamic, space adventure. This is the game that inspired so many others (like the Mass Effect series), makes so many greatest games of all time lists and has inspired the cult following. It takes place in a living active universe, as in events don’t wait around for you to stumble upon. It’s filled with rich characters that deliver interesting and humorous dialogue. Characters that remain memorable to this day for people who played it decades ago.
(important note: The Ur-Quan masters is available to play for free thanks to an open source project that started with the 3DO version source and has been making fixes and improvements. http://sc2.sourceforge.net/ )
Star Control 3: The Kessari Quadrant (1996) - Accolade wanted to make another sequel. If I’m not mistaken they weren’t willing to pay much for it’s development and since SC2 resulted in P&F working unpaid for six months to finish the game to their satisfaction they weren’t keen on taking Accolade’s offer. So instead a licensing agreement was created for Accolade to be able to use certain elements from SC2 like some of the aliens. The game was developed by Legend entertainment. IIRC it sold better than SC2, but fans generally didn’t like the continuation of the story that took place in SC3 and it is considered non-cannon. It has a status among fans of SC2 similar to how fans of Highlander consider Highlander 2.
SC4/Starcon - The license for SC3 was extended for a future Star Control game but nothing ever came to fruition. There was a bit of work on a “Starcon” game that would have been a space sim of some sort set in the universe from the prior games.
Star Control: Origins (2018) - Stardock’s “prequel”, err, “reboot”, err, whatever term they are using now and the game at the heart of this current mess.
Ghosts of the Precursors (?) - Paul and Fred’s announced follow up to the story of SC2 that is currently held up by the litigation.