Brian Miller from Paramount Pictures Digital wanted to assure the gathered press at Namco’s Gamer Day 2012 last week that they are taking their time with the upcoming Star Trek game, because they don’t want to rush out a quick movie tie-in title to capitalize on the latest film. But, he seems to have conveniently forgotten the company’s own Star Trek DAC that came out in 2009.
That downloadable title was released only a week after the J.J. Abrams-directed reboot, and featured the Enterprise model from the movie, and was even co-produced by Bad Robot. It wasn’t particularly well received, and apparently they want to erase all memory of it from existence.
That’s why they are putting a lot of work and attention into the Star Trek that will most likely coincide with the 2013 movie. Only this time, Digital Extremes is developing, and Bad Robot will be producing. We saw the game back at E3 last year, and Paramount assures us that there will be several big announcements at this year’s E3 surrounding the game, one of which will involve the voice talent. Since they are already using Chris Pine’s likeness as Kirk, and Zachary Quinto’s as Spock, it’s safe to assume that they will probably be lending their voices to the project as well.
But they were still withholding any key information from the game, including the mysterious enemy you’ll be fighting. We were treated to a slightly extended version of last year’s demonstration that highlighted a few key items (greater Tricorder interactions, upgradeable weapons), and a slideshow of some of the environments from the game. But most of the other details were being kept locked down.
You won’t just be on the gleaming white and glass bridge of the Enterprise as you co-op (with drop-in, drop-out) your way through this game with a buddy, or with an AI Kirk or Spock; you’ll also be visiting some Federation outposts, snowy worlds, alien caverns, and more. One environment even resembles a large zoo or collection room, with several large specimens kept under enormous glass cylinders.
Obviously, both Paramount and Digital Extremes want to dodge the movie/video game adaptation curse that has plagued the video game industry for years. To that end, they’ve hired God of War writer Marianne Krawczyk, who is working closely with the producers at Bad Robot--writer/producers of the new Star Trek films Bob Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof--to ensure authenticity.
Steve Sinclair from Digital Extremes said, “We’re not going to do anything that we feel jeopardizes the franchise.” Which means we probably won’t be seeing Kirk leave the Federation to take up a career in folk music.
Additionally, Scott Chambliss, the production designer from the film and the upcoming sequel, is overseeing and approving all of the elements that they design for the game. Sinclair talked about the day that an encrypted hard drive from Industrial Light & Magic showed up at their office containing the complete layout for the film version of the Enterprise. Hopefully that means we’ll see some areas that haven’t been covered in the film yet.
So what was Digital Extremes talking about at Namco's gamers day? They stressed that the game will not be an open world. It’s a driven narrative that has Spock and Kirk co-opping through the game, while having different experiences as well. Although, they weren’t specific enough to mention if that means they’ll be splitting up from time to time.
There will be new worlds and new races in the game, and you will also encounter new technology that can be weaponized. And while the game is primarily a move and shoot experience, they are hoping to, “Provide interesting things that you would want to do” with the characters.
Sinclair mentioned that some of the prior Trek games, including Star Trek: Elite Force 2 and Star Trek Online, “did some neat things with the Enterprise.” We’ll have to wait until we can play the game to see if any of those influences carry over.
As far as the enemy in the next film goes, and if they have any relation to the mysterious enemies in the game, Miller said, “We’re working to have an enemy that…”, and as he trailed off, Sinclair said, “You can’t talk about that!” At least they didn’t deny (or confirm) that it’ll be Klingons.
Look for more Star Trek news at E3 this year, and we’re still expect this to launch near the movie in Q1 2013.