Makes sense, as WHEN should a score of a game without perma-death be tallied? If the player is just going to restart from their last save that previously recorded score at death never technically happened.
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Ahh, but here's the rub, while I want you to ensure save scumming isn't possible in my perma-death game, I NEED to be able to save and quit out at times to eat and have a life. Also, a flag of harcore won't do it, it would need to be a separate scoreboard as, even when devs try to compensate with some sort of scoring bonus for hardcore, it never really works in my ever so humble opinion.
Just throwing in my $0.02, and I actually respect and prefer you leave out the perma-progression UNLESS there is a way to balance things with every new boon to make the player's life just a little easier, there would also be a bane that would hopefully balance things out.
The only thing scaring me so far is the line, "There is a bare bones ship combat system in place (that is not turn-based)...". I hope this doesn't mean something like real time ship battles in an otherwise turn based game.
Oh, and my biggest odd gripe with the original, I had the darndest time distinguishing walls from hallways, so I can only hope this is more clear in the sequel.