After a hiatus of several years, Star Trek gaming returns later this year with Star Trek: Legacy, a starship combat game that bridges across all five Star Trek television series. In fact, publisher Bethesda Softworks recently announced that Legacy will feature the voices of all five Star Trek captains, with William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Scott Bakula reprising their famous roles. Your role in the game is to command Federation starships in action. You may start with a single ship, but eventually you'll be able to lead a squadron of starships, with the ability to take direct control of any vessel. Multiplayer will let you play as other factions, namely the Klingons, Romulans, and the Borg. For the newest details, we turned to lead designer Ian Currie of developer Mad Doc Software.
GameSpot: We know that the game is no longer tied to The Next Generation episode "Contagion" (the episode in which the Enterprise is infected with an alien computer virus). So how will Legacy unite all the eras of Star Trek? Will we follow the adventures of a single starship, sort of like how the television series follows the different starships in different eras?
Ian Currie: You start with one ship, the NX-01, with Captain Archer at the helm. From there you build up your fleet and at various points the timeline advances forward. When you cross over from the Enterprise era to The Original Series era, your main ship will change, and Kirk will be at the helm. A similar thing happens when the timeline changes from The Original Series to The Next Generation. However, beyond the main ship, it's up to you to determine what fleet changes will occur and when.
GS: It was announced that famed Trek writer D.C. Fontana wrote Legacy's story. What was the collaboration process like with her? Was she involved with developing the story early on?
IC: It was a huge thrill for us to have her associated with the project. She came on board fairly early, when the story was still in its infancy. Given her knowledge of all things Trek, I'm sure it won't come as any surprise that she had a great deal of influence over the story direction. It was an iterative process, as the story and gameplay have to blend together in such a way that the strengths of each are retained. This can sometimes be challenging, as not every story element fits into a game, and we didn't want to incorporate cool gameplay mechanics if it didn't fit into the storyline. In the end we got just the right mix.
GS: We understand that the Klingons, Borg, and Romulans will be in the game? Will any of the minor races make an appearance, like the Ferengi? Also, could you tell us about the new alien race that's being created specifically for the game?
IC: Yes, the Klingons, Borg, and Romulans all make it into the game. Unfortunately, I can't same the same for the Ferengi and any new alien race you might have heard about.
GS: How many different starships will there be for each faction? Are there full-on fleets for the major races? For instance, will there be Klingon and Romulan counterparts to all the key Federation starships?
IC: There are more Federation ships, but that's mostly because in the single-player campaign you play the Federation. We wanted to include as many Federation ships as we could for this reason, but we still have plenty for the other races--just about 20 for each.
Starship SkirmishGS: The demo shown at E3 featured a re-creation of the classic battle between the Enterprise and Reliant in Star Trek II. Was that made just for the show, or will the game feature stand-alone battles that re-create famous Trek moments?
IC: The Wrath of Khan battle was a special demo created just for E3. However, there might be some surprises along those lines after the game launches.
GS: There hasn't been much discussion of the skirmish mode in Legacy yet. Will skirmish be available in single-player and multiplayer? Can you set up any kind of battle between ships from differing eras? How large can the fleet engagements get?
IC: Skirmish is one of my favorite features in the game. It's essentially multiplayer with bots, but the combat is intense and you can mix it up with different settings. The settings for multiplayer and skirmish is one of the things that will really add a lot of depth and replay value to the game: You can set things such as era (Archer, Kirk, Picard, and the like), race, artificial intelligence, fleet size, command points (a way of balancing competitive fleets), and, of course, a lot of the settings you'd see in any multiplayer game, like respawns, timer, number of teams, and so on. There are truly a great number of possibilities, such that you can try a different configuration every time you play.
GS: Walk us through a typical campaign mission. Do you simply warp into the battle space and fight until one side is destroyed, or will missions be deeper than that? Will you have multiple objectives, or will you watch as the mission unfolds over a series of stages?
IC: All missions are set up with in-game cinematics, and at least one objective falls out of that. Sometimes you can have multiple objectives from the get-go; other times events will transpire during the mission that change your objectives or add new ones as Starfleet reacts to the situation. There are also secondary (optional) objectives in certain missions.
GS: How's the save system going to work? If you fail in battle will you have to start over, or will you be able to save at any time? Or is there going to be some kind of checkpoint system?
IC: We don't have an automatic checkpoint system, but we do allow saving at any time, so players have a lot of control over mission progression.
GS: Are there any major differences between the Xbox 360 and the PC versions of the game, aside from the control schemes? Are they pretty much identical? And will you tailor the versions for their respective platforms? For instance, will there be any PC- or Xbox 360-specific features?
IC: There is little difference between the two versions of the game. From the get-go, we've been developing with both platforms in mind, so the game provides a very similar experience regardless of what you're sitting in front of when you're playing.
GS: Finally, the 40th anniversary of the franchise is coming up soon. Where is the game in development? Will Legacy make it in time for Star Trek's birthday?
IC: Currently, Legacy is entering the final stages of development. We're spending a lot of time bug fixing, polishing, and weeding out all the awful placeholder voiceover that we forced team members to record.
GS: Thank you.