During WWDC this week we met with Michael Schade, a developer of Galaxy on Fire 2 by Fish Labs, who walked us through some of the features of the upcoming iPad game and gave us a brief hands on. This sequel of Galaxy on Fire [$5.99 / Free] has similar roots, and actually started as J2ME game that weighed in at a meager 1 megabyte. Galaxy on Fire 2 is a space conquest game, with a massive galaxy map to explore, multiple factions to align yourself to, a dynamic economy, and tons of other neat features that all add up to an impressive amount of depth.
Specifics are a bit vague at this point as the iPad game is still in development, but from our time with it we were shown an extensive listing of achievements to unlock, as well as just the tip of the iceberg of ship customization with all kinds of different weaponry. As you play through the game, the faction system will become an important gameplay component as the missions you choose to do effect your standing one way or the other with the various organizations floating about space. Combat seemed to work similar to the original Galaxy on Fire, with completely free and open battles in space with whoever you feel like shooting at (or running from).
Fish Labs recently released a developer diary discussing the art of the game. What piqued my interest the most from this is the screenshots showing the clear evolution of the Galaxy on Fire series of games.
Starting with the original J2ME version compared to Galaxy on Fire for the iPhone:
And finally, Galaxy on Fire 2 for the iPad:
Fish Labs plans to launch the game on the iPad in September for $9.99 with an iPhone version coming later at $7.99.