Perpetual Entertainment to beam up Star Trek MMORPG

San Francisco developer/publisher lands coveted Paramount sci-fi license, $6.5 million in funding on same day.

Although it is less than two years old, Perpetual Entertainment has acquired one of the most coveted sci-fi licenses on the market. The San Francisco-based company announced today that it has secured the license for a massively multiplayer online game based on Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek franchise. Simultaneously, Perpetual announced it had secured $6.5 million in additional financing, no doubt connected to the deal.

Under the agreement, Perpetual Entertainment will develop and publish the Star Trek MMORPG internationally, with a public beta testing tentatively scheduled for 2006 and a launch for early 2007. No platforms were mentioned, nor was a name for the game, which is going by the working title, Star Trek Online.

However, even though the license covers all Star Trek motion pictures and television series, from the original series to the prequel Star Trek: Enterprise, the MMORPG will be set during the 24th-century timeline of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. Perpetual said that other Star Trek universe timelines would be added through expansion packs later on.

As far as Star Trek Online's gameplay is concerned, a lengthy FAQ outlines many details on the game. It will follow a person, not a ship, although Perpetual has not decided whether or not it will be from a third- or first-person perspective. Star Trek Online will let players encounter the Enterprise and meet personalities from the Star Trek series. However, players will create their own characters from several undisclosed races. The FAQ does make mention of "enemies" from the Star Trek series, but it did not say whether or not gamers could play as Federation foes such as the Cardassians, Romulans, or--in some cases--the Klingons.

Players will be able to explore space in "dozens of ship types," and they will be able to duke it out with phasers and photon torpedoes. The game will also allow players to disembark from their starship onto planetary surfaces, with Perpetual promising that "ground combat will be fast paced and unique to the [MMORPG] genre."

GameSpot will have more on Star Trek Online as details on it begin to emerge.

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