Over the past decade, it has been hard being a Star Trek fan. First, there was Voyager, and then we had Star Trek: Nemesis, which rather unceremoniously ended the Next Generation film run, and after that there was Enterprise (don’t even get me started!). All three failed the fifty-year franchise in more than one way, but mainly by ruthlessly butchering the spirit of what made Star Trek so beloved across the world. And then there was the reboot. The 2010 reboot simply called, Star Trek, which changed the timeline and recast the original crew.
For myself, I personally enjoyed the reboot, which reignited the film franchise and quickly became the most successful entry in the series' history. Regardless, purists will always steadfastly maintain that the reboot shouldn’t be counted as part of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future. However, this article is not about that particular argument - instead it simply asks: will we fans ever have a good Star Trek game?
Summer 2013 will see the second Star Trek reboot hit theaters, Into Darkness. Last week, the first trailer was released, and it got me thinking back on all the horrible Trek games we’ve had. Yes, there have been a couple of decent ones, namely (in my opinion) the Star Fleet Command series, but other games such as Star Trek: Online were huge disappointments. At this year’s E3 2012, fans were treated to a new trailer for the next game that thankfully won’t be a film-adaptation, but instead an original story set between Star Trek 11 and 12.
The most noticeable change from the first game footage is the quality of this new title. The graphics are crisp, while the environments have a great sense of scale. The presentation at the very least is faithful to the source material while adding to the overall new design of J. J Abrams' (director of the new films) re-imagined Star Trek universe.
Players will take control of both Kirk and Spock in an action orientated third person perspective. While the game can be played in single player, there is also a co-op option that allows the two American icons to battle alien-hordes as a team. Both characters will have their own special skills to bring to the table: Kirk can call in for orbital bombardment from the Enterprise, while Spock can use his Vulcan mental abilities to his advantage. The tricorder is also supposed to play an important part to the game’s design, allowing players to solve puzzles while providing access to tons of Trek lore.
The story takes place after the events of Star Trek 11. The surviving Vulcans have founded a new planet as they hope to rebuild their fractured civilization. After a scientific experiment goes horribly wrong the inhabitants of New Vulcan draw the attention of the malevolent Gorn.
Developer Digital Extremes used actual blueprints from the film to ensure that their rendition is faithful to the movie counterpart. The standalone story, I have to say, is one aspect that I like the most about this game. Most movie tie-ins are hamstrung by development cycles that have to match a particular film’s release, and as such these movies to game adaptations normally suck. Digital Extremes' freedom to tell a new story between both films should help expand the new Star Trek storyline without the developer’s hands being tied behind their backs.
If there are any issues that are off-putting, one might be that Star Trek seems to be borrowing heavily from popular third person duck-and-cover games like Mass Effect and Gears of War. Nevertheless, I hope 2013’s Star Trek is the start of something new – or at the very least an improvement over previous Star Trek games.
Meanwhile, check the trailer out below and stay tuned to LAG as we bring you updates and information on the title as we receive it.