I will do my best (which is admittedly meager) to answer these.
1) Please tell me you're not ditching the animated character portraits for ship combat. Not only are they fun and quirky, but they add to the UI by letting you know that yes indeed your passive defense (like the earthling PD Laser) is working, or that yes I do see you're slamming the fire button but sadly you don't have enough energy. They also gave you a heads up on what was going on with your opponent for example whether he'd remembered to arm his Glory Device.
Not at all. These are being implemented as a PNG bitstrip. They're just not ready yet.
All the ships felt very samey. You've got all the normal stats in there, and maybe its just the starter selection of ships, but none of them really felt that different to control. The original game Melee mode felt very much rock, paper, scissors. The ships were all very gimmicky but that was the point. No two really felt the same. Fighting a Shofixti scout against an Ur-Quan Dreadnaught felt like trying to run over a sugar powered six year old with a bus going 5mph. You knew if the bus ever connected it was all over but damn if that six year old didn't go the distance. They all felt unique or special, not just slight gradients of difference. It made moments where rock finally managed to beat paper feel all the more glorious.
I think a lot of that comes from just not being used to the ships. For example, the Mowlings, who are pretty wimpy, are a pretty good counter to the Scryve Battleship which just crushes most other ships.
Now, that said, many of the more complex ships won't get put in until later. The weirder the ship, the more time it takes.
I'm sensing a lot of fighter love for the secondary attack. Again, maybe it harks back to the ships used for the demo, but please don't forget the unique and quirky nature of the original games attacks. Things like feeding your crew into the ships engines as the Druuge was priceless.
Agree here. Last week we released the Phamyst whose primary weapon is charbroil (to cook) and the secondary is invitation (which causes your crew to go visit their ship for dinner with the expected sound effect when they arrive.
Like the music a lot. New, but still can hear some of the stuff on the original flare of Star Control 2 in the background.
Riku, who did much of the music for Star Control II, has returned to make the music for the new Star Control.
If you're splitting off into your own reality, make sure to blame the Orz.
It's really not about who to blame for it. I blame Space Cows myself since Star Control III was the inspiration...so to speak, to make each game have its own universe.
Don't forget the humor. For all the galaxy spanning awesomeness of Star Control 2, the game had so many hysterical moments. Don't take yourself to seriously.
We have been working hard to ensure that the game has over 6.3 units of humor per hour.
I just found out about the stuff with Fred Ford and Paul Reiche. All I can say is, even if you're 1000% in the right on this one (and from what I've seen so far you look like you are), do everything in your power to mend the fence, even if it means eating more than your share of crow. They really have done a lot for the Star Control fan community.
My love for Paul and Fred does not require them to love me back. Even though I think they are tragically mistaken in their views, we will continue to hold true to the promises we made to them: We won't touch their aliens, setting or lore but instead treat the Ur-Quan universe as a separate universe.