by Chris Davis
previewed on X360
Once Again Unto The Final Frontier
Three years ago the rising director J. J. Abrams was approached by Paramount to do what many people had believed impossible: reinvent Star Trek, one of the most beloved science fiction franchises of all time, and make it relevant to today’s audience. This task seemed insurmountable for most directors and producers, but Abrams, riding strong on his successes on television and films, certainly delivered with one of the most entertaining films of 2009. Bringing back classic characters while both making it easier to understand for non-fans and not ticking-off Trekkies around the world, Star Trek made the old new again.
While Abrams works on a sequel set to release next year, Paramount had their Digital Entertainment team approach Digital Extremes with a task just as monumental: creating a Star Trek game that everyone can get behind. Creators of Dark Sector and The Darkness II, Digital Extremes has a tough task ahead of them but judging on what I saw while at E3 I’m certain they are the right team for the job.
Beam Me Up for Adventure
Stepping into Paramount Digital’s small meeting room on Wednesday afternoon I was sat down with a few other writers in front of a television and two members of the development team. All around me we saw concept art from the game which really seemed to capture the authenticity of the Star Trek universe. Awe-inspiring vistas and beautiful starscapes gave ideas as to the sense of scale that has always been at the forefront of every Star Trek property and, as the demo began, it was mentioned that the concept art was just a hint of what is to come in the final game.
Most Star Trek titles over the years have been mostly the same: built around the concept of a space-flight simulation with small strategic aspects built in. This is all well and good as everyone wants to be able to pilot the Enterprise into combat against Klingons, Borg or whatever, but in the end the experience has never been anything more than a decent experience. Star Trek Online took steps to address this when it was released early last year with gameplay that may be perfect for the franchise. However, in the end its gameplay didn’t seem to match up to what people really wanted despite plenty of bells and whistles. Digital Extremes, however, is taking an entirely different approach with their title: a cooperative third-person shooter.
Taking place an undisclosed amount of time after the 2009 film, Star Trek, much like many licensed film properties, is set between the previous film and the next one. Similar to film tie-in titles like Tron: Evolution, Star Trek will be canon to the new vision of the series. Players take on the roles of the two most famous characters of the franchise: Kirk and Spock, at a point in which their friendship is growing but they still retain differing opinions and styles.