Stargate Worlds Q&A - First Look Behind the Stargate

Cheyenne Mountain's Rod Nakamoto gives us some of the first glimpses at this upcoming MMORPG based on the popular Stargate franchise.

by

There are few science-fiction properties as successful as Stargate, which has spawned a movie along with two television series and even an animated series. Last year, Arizona-based developer Cheyenne Mountain announced that it was working on a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on MGM's hit property. However, given that the game was early in development, Cheyenne Mountain didn't release many details. Cheyenne and MGM Interactive are now taking off the wraps on their project, and we've got the latest screens, a look at the exclusive trailer, and an interview with Rod Nakamoto, studio head of Cheyenne Mountain.

GameSpot: Stargate Worlds was announced in early 2006, and we got a quick update at GDC last year, but we haven't heard anything of it since. So, first question: Where's the game currently at in development? We understand it's been in full production for quite some time now.

Stargate Worlds will feature worlds such as Agnos.

Rod Nakamoto: We entered full production early this year. In that time, we've done all of the behind-the-scenes work that makes building a game of this size possible, and built out playable versions of about five worlds. The business decisions that we made early on--licensing the BigWorld back end and Unreal Engine 3--are really starting to pay dividends for us. By using proven technology, we were able to jump straight into the meat of game design rather than spend all of our time on engine building and server development.

We're getting close to the point where we have a slice of an actual, fun game, and I think that's the real key to our effort here. We started building the fun into Stargate Worlds on day one.

GS: Give us an update on how the game will play out. What sorts of characters and character classes will you be able to play? Will you only be able to play as members of the Stargate team, or can you play as members of other factions? How have things changed, if at all, from the original vision?

RN: Our vision of Stargate Worlds is simple. We want the players to be the stars of their own show. This means we can't keep retelling the story of SG-1. We're going to let players choose from seven archetypes--Jaffa, Goa'uld, Asgard, and human soldier, scientist, archeologist, and commando--when they create a character. Players will be able to specialize their characters using a skill tree, allowing them to further refine their role.

There will be two factions in the game at launch. One side will feature the Asgard, Free Jaffa, and humans; the other side has the Goa'uld, Loyal Jaffa, and humans. This matches up very well with our original vision, which was to bring the Stargate universe to life in a way that just can't be done with the budgets and locations of a television series.

GS: We understand that exploration will play a key role in the game. Will this mainly be done on foot? Will there be any vehicle or starship travel, or vehicular combat?

RN: At launch, Stargate Worlds will focus on the original Stargate experience. It's not a game of vehicle combat, and there won't be player-controlled starships. Players will be able to use starships for transport, but the primary method for getting around the galaxy is the Stargate.

Instant action is right on the other side of every Stargate. Travel is a challenge in MMOs, but the Stargate is the perfect tool for getting characters immediately into hot spots.

This is Anima Vitrus. Check out the megaflora.

GS: We learned at GDC that the game will be set during seasons three, four, five, six, seven, and eight of the TV show's run. Why the latter years and not the early ones, and what kind of story possibilities emerge due to this decision?

RN: The most important thing to remember about the timeline is that we're not retelling the story of Stargate SG-1. Our story will be happening roughly concurrently with the events you saw during those seasons, like the Replicator War, the Apophis War, the Tok'ra war with the Goa'uld, and the Jaffa Civil War. These events form a dramatic backdrop for our story to play out against.

GS: We understand that the game was intended to draw upon content from both Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis. Will it draw upon both series evenly, or will it favor one universe or time frame over another?

RN: The action in Stargate Worlds at launch takes place in our galaxy, so you can say that it draws more from SG-1 than Atlantis, although you can see from some of our screenshots that an Atlantis-like city is one of the sites characters will visit.

Atlantis is a good candidate for our first expansion pack, and we're looking at a variety of options.

GS: We understand that the developers have had access to much of the Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis television productions. Are you recreating the sets in large detail? How many of the cast members will reprise their roles?

RN: MGM have been great partners for us, and they've given us a great deal of access to their assets and resources. The sets are an important part of the Stargate setting, and we're trying to re-create the points of interest, like the gate room, as accurately as we can, with allowances for gameplay.

We're currently in talks with cast members for voice-over work and we want to get as many as we can to take part.

GS: Tell us about your plans for beta testing.

RN: We will run a pretty standard beta program probably beginning in the spring of 2008. I expect the closed beta will be a small program limited mostly to experienced testers who can break whatever we throw at them. Once things get stable, we'll put a few more people in and try again. That's a process we'll repeat over the course of the closed beta until we're satisfied. We'll shut the closed beta down and take the time to finish the necessary fixes before we throw open the doors for open beta. Our open beta testing will be significantly larger as we look at issues with server loads.

One thing we're doing is interacting with our community to develop some tools for bug reporting that will make our lives and theirs easier.

GS: Can you give us an approximate idea for when the game is planned to launch? How will updates be handled after launch?

RN: We're expecting to launch in the fall of 2008. As you know, launch dates in this industry are a moving target, but that's our best guess right now. We're committed to releasing a polished, fun game, and it looks like late 2008 is when we will hit that goal.

Agnos again. We should expect to see more worlds as the year progresses.

When it comes to postlaunch updates, we've got ambitious plans. I think the best metaphor for our plans is the television-series model. Stargate SG-1 lasted 10 seasons. Each season is a self-contained story arc with new content added on an episodic basis. Over the course of a season, the characters encounter new worlds, technologies, and cultures that fit into the overall story. Those encounters form the basis of our regular updates. Once the season is over and many of its stories have been wrapped up, it's time to take the series to the next level with the debut of the next season. That's the model for our expansion packs.

To be clear, we believe that most other industry "expansion packs" include updates that gamers should be getting for paying their $15-a-month subscription fees. To back that up, we plan on giving gamers significant game updates for free on a regular basis, beginning shortly after launch.

GS: Finally, is there anything that you'd like to add about Stargate Worlds?

RN: There are a few things we're really proud of already, especially our combat system. We're taking MMORPG combat in an evolutionary direction, meaning that the RPG aspects are all here, but there are significant enhancements to the system that make it work with the tactical modern combat and science-fiction weapons that are so integral to the Stargate IP.

The enemy artificial intelligence we're developing is proving to be really smart, and that's going to be an exciting challenge for gamers. We're also implementing a cover system that is far beyond anything that's been seen in this genre. But we're not just focusing on combat. Our storytelling and noncombat advancement systems will open up Stargate Worlds to gamers and nongamers who would never otherwise give a second thought to an MMORPG.

Things are moving very quickly in development, and we've got a lot more to share in the coming months.

GS: Thank you.

Discussion

229 comments
RLJSlick
RLJSlick

Everyone need to make a MMO, isn't it enough that you charge $60 for a game? Now you want money monthly! PASS.

leonvw
leonvw

Oh, please DO make character customisation a little more than switching heads and choosing between 3 hair colours and 5 hairstyles. Players want to feel unique!

buckizard
buckizard

Game is looking very promising and we desperately need a good sci-fi mmo. Very much looking forward to trying it! As for paying monthly?!! Retarded excuses, come on! You pay more than these monthly fees in going to the moves ONCE. Its pretty trivial and necessary to keep a great game going with new and improved stuff for the player. An MMO isn't a game where you play through missions or levels and then game over.

petrino
petrino

pay to play-games...nuh uh...hate hate hate and despise...get a life...thats worth the money...

BikerPunk
BikerPunk

as much as i love Stargate....this reeks of Epic Failure. hopefully its not another Tabula Rasa. So much potential overflowing with FAIL. if god loves us, this game will live up to expectations, but i am doubting it greatly, which saddens me, cause i LOVE Stargate.....

viiin2
viiin2

I saw a preview on g4 about this game and what a joke it lagged the graphics look like a game that came out 10 years ago the animation is terrible the world looks bland what a piece of garbage this game is I cant believe they actually got a publisher to allow them to make this crap.

Oozaru_Kakkarot
Oozaru_Kakkarot

Very very bad feeling that its gunna really suck!...I better cross my fingers!!!

andykane
andykane

i stay away from pay monthly games, but if this game is as good as it looks 2qwid a week ent nuffing, i spend more then that on king size rizlers

gciochina
gciochina

Maaan can't wait for this one! I'm drooling already! This is the only MMORPG that i would pay for. TO THE PRODUCTION TEAM: you better make it rock guys , or else

WitteKraai
WitteKraai

In the UK, everything is twice as expensive because you make twice as much, even after the exchange rate. So yes, we live in a comparative ghetto.

Patient32
Patient32

15dollars a month that is almost 4dollars a week - what is wrong with you people - are you living in the ghetto raiding the garbage so you can eat that you can't afford 4dollars a week. Here in the uk that's 2quid a week. You people are saying 2quid a week is too much to pay for regular maintainance on the servers and dedicated bug fixers and regular updates? I spend 2quid on a bus journey to town FFS!

Mrglorp
Mrglorp

Why is everyone freaking out about paying to play an mmorpg, you pay for x-box live, I hear nothing about that. (strange logic I know)

Un4givingAsault
Un4givingAsault

F paying for months they should just offer year memberships

KelpsterD
KelpsterD

Im sick of listening to these f***ing retards complaining about fees. You pay 15 bucks a month for World of Warcraft and its the best selling game to date. If you're going to B*** about the price don't bother to leave a F***ing comment because we dont give a S*** Oh. im an uber fan of Stargate.

Adasen
Adasen

People don't seem to understand that MMORPG's after launch still cost the Devs money to run. Moaning about paying 7 quid or 15 dollers a month is just daft. Even the great NCSoft who run Guild wars at no monthly cost still have to make money to cover costs and thats why although it's free to play we've already seen 3 expansion packs in under 3 years.

EvoDanny
EvoDanny

They only make you pay to play so they can maintain the game and help keep it lag free. if 15$ is too much for you then stop complaining and dont buy it.

GibsonJ45Deluxe
GibsonJ45Deluxe

These game creators already make enough profit from initial game sales; there's no way I'm going to buy a game and then have to pay a monthly fee to be able to play the game I've already purchased. Too bad, looks like it would have been entertaining otherwise.

greater_bird
greater_bird

I like that they're taking the whole beta testing process seriously, and plan to leave time to fix the issues raised during it (not just the usual 'shove it out the door' policy). Regular 'free' updates are also a nice addition. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating - I'll wait to see if they actually stick to their ideals. MMO games are a hard sell for me, because I hate the subscription fee model, but I'm a big fan of Stargate SG-1, and I like the sound of how they're setting up the factions, so I may give this a try if it sounds good in review.

andalore
andalore

I Hope This Game Rocks, I Liked The TV show better in the earlier seasons, I hope the game captures the greatness of that

Evil_Chris
Evil_Chris

$15 a month! riduclas, i was really looking forward to stargateworlds until i read that.

charlesthomas
charlesthomas

Hope the game will be as good as the television series.

drjt
drjt

Oh and to the guy a ways dow Anderson (O'neil) didn't really leave the show he's producing

drjt
drjt

I wonder two things, first is any one of the last couple about this game and two do they realize that games played on the internet like MMO's need to be maintained and that you are playing on a server at there location? Not saying that you have to play and like it but there is a purpose for the monthly fee thought that can get high 15 is a good one.

evilzin
evilzin

they could make a great game out of this but the monthly fee is a pain in the but i mean come on i am already paying outragus prices for games as it is now days and then they expect me to pay monthly fees on top of that i mean what are they the goverment or something alwasy trying to steal whatever money they can. but what i think could make this game cool other then being free would be haveing the whole planit open for exploration and not just the gate area. the one thing i like is u can be a evil bastered in this game and get away with it i am so going evil if i get it because being evil is just so much fun

dollomite704
dollomite704

I made the mistake of buying Tabula Rasa to only find the fine print of pay $15 a month to play plus the $50 to purchase...never again - what happened to the old RPG's tht were so good and immersive and did not require a fee? I do not want to hear your technological BS about upkeep and add-ons...I will never buy this game or any game that pays-to-play no matter how good it looks.

nyte_byte
nyte_byte

Looks interesting, but I don't like the pay-to-play model and would never buy a game that requires it. Oh well.

elwapo2004
elwapo2004

This makes me wish someone was working on a Battlestar Galactica MMO with full starship combat.

pantweasel
pantweasel

This might actually be one of the only MMOs I will be willing to pay a monthly fee for...but we will see.

phroze_levi
phroze_levi

@ thegasman Jack O'neil's character on the show is now working in Washington, D.C. (If you already knew that, then my bad). As for whether or not he willingly left or got canned from the show, I don't know.

Oldwolf62
Oldwolf62

mmm I have watched SG since the very first Movie... love it I wouldn't mind getting on the open beta testing - mainly cause I cant wait to try it ;)

iljandir
iljandir

I think i'm gonna check this out. I am watching the SG-1 series now and i like it. I hope the game will be as good.

thegasman
thegasman

man i cant wait ive been there since the movie. the only prob i have is if i buy the game why do i have to pay to play . i think that will drag .the game down . and oh yes O'Neil does rule darklight134. i wish he never left the show . or did he get canned .

blowtrees
blowtrees

Most games based upon large franchise (especially Sc-fi) are always brimming with potential. The vast majority blow chunks too. Now think of all the 2nd rate MMO's out there.... Good luck, but don't hold your breath.

Hadd3
Hadd3

Cant freaking wait 'til this comes out!!

ninjarocklee
ninjarocklee

Trailers don't define a game, Gameplay defines the game *hence *Gameplay* in the game. :)

AMVanquish5
AMVanquish5

ahh, cheesy goodness it makes me want to bust my pants ;D

Xeuton_Mojukai
Xeuton_Mojukai

Trailer was completely underwhelming, and if that's what we can expect, that I sense a dud coming on. ~ XM

TheRealHigg
TheRealHigg

Oh snap. I'm in, if the Lord isn't back first!

denolitions
denolitions

finally someone is makin a stargate game that wont be cancelled!!! dis is gonna be awesome with a capital AWESOME!!!!!

steelhead2264
steelhead2264

Same here I haven't played a lot of MMORPG games dont want to play Warcraft because that game sucks your soul away. But I am also a HUGE fan of stargate and its about time that someone made a game for this!!! The freaking show been on for 10 seasons this has a lot of potential of revenue here!!!!! BUT man I cant wait till this game comes out!!!!!

RockMax
RockMax

I'm not an MMORPG player, I tried Final Fantasy XI for about 2 months and gave up on it. I never had a desire to play Warcraft for some unknown reason to myself. So this will be an entirely new experience for me. I am however a HUGE fan of Stargate be it the movies, or tv shows. And this game has some amazing potential, I will definitely keep my eyes on it and see where I am come fall 2008.

Philosoph
Philosoph

can't wait for this game, it has SOOO much potential, hopefully they take full advantage of this opportunity, without taking advantage of the fans and gamers. the nox reappeared in the episode that saw the demise of the kerins, the dudes that walk through walls, do we ever meet the furlings? the only reason i know this is because i'm on year end break and have nothing to do other than watch seasons 3-8 of stargate SG1, can someone tell me. WHY DOES TEAL'C HAVE HAIR? ;)

Overseer76
Overseer76

Huh. Seasons 3 through 8. I remember a couple of places and peoples that had some real potential, for instance that advanced human culture that promised they'd get back in touch when Earthlings made something of themselves. I kept waiting for them to show up. And the Nox. Did they ever reappear on the show? (I missed a few... seasons.)

Overseer76
Overseer76

Huh. Seasons 3 through 8. I remember a couple of places and peoples that had some real potential, for instance that advanced human culture that promised they'd get back in touch when Earthlings made something of themselves. I kept waiting for them to show up. And the Nox. Did they ever reappear on the show? (I missed a few... seasons.)

Overseer76
Overseer76

Huh. Seasons 3 through 8. I remember a couple of places and peoples that had some real potential, for instance that advanced human culture that promised they'd get back in touch when Earthlings made something of themselves. I kept waiting for them to show up. And the Nox. Did they ever reappear on the show? (I missed a few... seasons.)

darklight134
darklight134

I cant wait!!! I love stargate sg1 it rules!!! this game could disappoint me for i expect alot since its stargate!!! O'Neil rules

reavus123
reavus123

I'm excited mostly about the RP aspect of the SG universe. I'm a big fan of the series and am currently watching the series through from the beginning. I hope that it doesn't dishonor the series. That's the problem with games that pull from TV. Either way, I'm excited and I will try to get into the beta's :)

HighlandKnight
HighlandKnight

Let's hope they get it right! StarGate has SO much potential for gaming, but I just think about how bad most (all?) Star Trek universe games were, and I worry. It would be cool to play as a Jaffa.... "I die free!"