- Star Trek Online
title = Star Trek Online
publisher = TBA
engine = Cryptic Engine [http://www.startrekonline.com/about_star_trek_online]
version = Unknown
released = Fall 2009 cite journal
title = Game Informer
volume = 62
date = October 2008
platforms = PC
"Star Trek Online" (abbreviated "ST:O") is the working title of an MMORPG set in the "
Star Trek" science fictionuniverse and being developed by Cryptic Studios. Aside from the title's appeal to the many worldwide fans of the "Star Trek" franchise, the game is already widely known for the travails of its previous developer, Perpetual Entertainment.
Cryptic Studios development process
January 15, 2008, Warcry Network reported that Perpetual Entertainment, the previous developer, had ceased work on the title. The license and other assets were transferred to another San Francisco Bay Areadevelopment studio. [cite web
title= P2 Out As Star Trek Online Developer
January 18, all "ST:O" developers were laid off by P2 Entertainment. [http://www.startrek-online.net/messageboard/showthread.php?t=12229 startrek-online.net forum] Dead link|date=March 2008]
The new developer was unnamed at first, but several clues pointed toward Cryptic, original developers of the
superheroMMORPG " City of Heroes". This was confirmed officially on July 28, 2008, as a countdown timer on Cryptic's web site reached zero and the new official site was launched. [http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=19588 Cryptic Studios Confirmed For Star Trek Online] , Gamasutra news, July 28, 2008. ] With official forums available on the web site, Cryptic's community relations for the game are already positioned ahead of where Perpetual was when development was halted. A letter was sent out from Jack Emmert, the game's online producer, detailing some aspects of Cryptic's approach. [ [http://www.warcry.com/news/view/85288-Star-Trek-Online-Producer-Letter producer's letter] , accessed 7/29/08. ]
Conference in Las Vegas
On August 10th, 2008, a conference was held in the Hilton hotel in Las Vegas. Along with Leonard Nimoy, and the leader of Cryptic studios revealed the first gameplay trailer, featuring various Federation and
Klingonstarships in combat with each other and Borg vessels, as well as footage of a Klingon squad boarding a Federation ship's bridge. [ [http://www.startrekonline.com/videos Gameplay trailer] . ] The release date was not publicly revealed except that it would be less than three years.
Cryptic has announced that they will release a Windows version of "ST:O", and possibly a version for either the Xbox 360 and/or PlayStation 3, as a "console release" is hinted at in the FAQs on StarTrekOnline.com. During the August 10 Las Vegas conference, Cryptic announced that there would be neither
Linuxnor Mac versions for the original launch, though they did not rule out the possibility of later releases. [ [http://forums.startrekonline.com/showthread.php?p=105367 Forum thread detailing the Las Vegas conference] , accessed 8/10/08. ]
Gameplay and dynamics
According to the official web site http://www.startrekonline.com/about_star_trek_online] , each player can be captain of his or her own ship, with explicit mention of a "Federation Captain" and a "Klingon Warrior" as possibilities. It also stated that players will be able to beam down onto the surfaces of different planets "for face-to-face confrontations." Exploration of the inside of starships is also implied.
The first announcement of the game structure took place at a media event in Las Vegas in August 2008. it was announced that players could play as a Starfleet or Klingon officer, or can create entirely new races. Adventures will be possible in space, on planets, or aboard ships. [ [http://www.miamiherald.com/business/technology/story/637948.html New Enterprise: Online ‘Trek’] , by DERRIK J. LANG, Associated Press via Miami Herald, Sunday, August 10, 2008. ] [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20080811/tc_nf/61268 Newsfactor article] Barry Levine, newsfactor.com, Mon Aug 11, via yahoo news. ] [ [http://www.connpost.com/ci_10143151?source=rss Online 'Star Trek' game coming soon] , by DERRIK J. LANG, Conn Post, Aug. 8, 2008. ] [ [http://pc.ign.com/articles/897/897788p1.html Star Trek Online Unveiled:First gameplay trailer released] , by Charles Onyett, ign.com, August 10, 2008. ] Every player will be captain of their own individual ship. [http://www.startrekonline.com/faq Star Trek Online official FAQ] , at game website. ]
According to an interview by
Gamespotwith Cryptic Studios' executive producer Craig Zinkievich, there will be references to several famous storylines, ships and characters from various Star Trek shows. Players will be able to explore uncharted star systems, and may find content which opens up new resources and technologies. Players may find races with various special abilities who can be recruited to the players' crew. [http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/startrekonline/news.html?page=1&sid=6195709 Interview with Craig Zinkievich, Cryptic Studios' executive producer] , By Staff, GameSpot, Posted Aug 10, 2008 2:00 pm PT. (Star Trek Online Q&A - Overview, New Developer, Early DetailsWe sit down with developer Cryptic Studios to discuss this upcoming massively multiplayer online game based on the classic sci-fi universe.) ]
The game will feature two very different combat systems. Away-team missions will feature fast paced "run and gun" combat. Space combat will stress the long-term tactical aspect of combat between capital ships, in concert with the Star Trek storyline, and will entail positioning, shifting power from weapons to shields, and finding various weaknesses.
There may be a Galactic Economy, which would be based on trade, and might fluctuate like a stock market. It will be possible for players to pool resources to form fleets or guilds. Fleets will be able to build space stations, mining platforms, satellites, shipyards and more. Quests will be issued from Central Command, and players can join together on the ground. Gameplay will be fully co-operative, and dynamic events will be one part of the game. A "system of infinite exploration" will enable players to find and explore random, uncharted planets. [http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=211149 Star Trek Online out within three years] by Rob Purchese, erogamer.net, Aug. 11, 2008. ]
There will be variety of ship classes which can be used by all players. Playable ship classes will not be restricted based on a player's specialty. [http://www.warcry.com/news/view/86330-Star-Trek-Online-Ask-Cryptic Star Trek Online: Ask Cryptic] , posted by Suzie Ford, cryptic.com, Sept. 17, 2008. ]
Previous development version
Until January 2008,
Perpetual Entertainmentwas the developer for Star Trek Online.
Perpetual Entertainment development process
September 7, 2004, Perpetual Entertainmentand Viacomissued a press release announcing the grant of the coveted "Star Trek" MMORPG license to Perpetual, a brand new development firm.http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/gaming/online/article/6630.html] It soon came to light that Perpetual was still in the very earliest stages of pre-production on the title, and many observers noted that the press release was issued prematurely, building unsustainable hype for a product that was still years away from beta testing.Fact|date=July 2008 Indeed, information from Perpetual was scant, although a few in-engine screenshots were released and Perpetual interacted with potential customers via fan-created message boards.
Several veteran production staff were known to have been involved in "ST:O", including
Mike Okuda, Andrew Probert[ [http://www.perpetual.com/news/addition_of_visionary_star_trek_artist_andrew_probert perpetual.com] ] and John Eaves, [ [http://www.stocast.net stocast.net] ] all of whom contributed primarily in the art departments relating to their specific expertise in the franchise. In particular, Okuda worked on concepts for a new LCARSinterface to match the advanced timeline, and Probert produced detailed interior views of the iconic Galaxy class starship, including areas never seen on-screen.
In late 2007, just as Perpetual was gearing up to start production and begin publicizing the game in earnest, several rounds of negative news hit in quick succession. In October, Perpetual placed development of its other MMORPG, "
Gods and Heroes", on hold, despite already being in beta test, to focus resources on "Star Trek Online", which was believed to have more revenue potential. Soon after, it was announced that Perpetual Entertainment was under new management: a non-gaming company seeking to enter gaming. It was announced that Star Trek Online would have a more "casual" approach, and was considering alternative payment strategies, such as allowing players to spend money on in-game items, instead of paying subscription fees. According to an anonymous source, "a number" of employees may have left due to dissatisfaction over the game's new direction. [ [http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/50065 Star Trek Online to Become "More Casual," Developer Perpetual Acquired by New Ownership] , by Chris Remo, shacknews.com, 11/26/07. ]
An exclusive sneak preview of Perpetual Entertainment's "Star Trek Online" was included on the "" HD DVD released on
November 20, 2007. The DVD set included "Star Trek Online" developer interviews, comments from the art team, brand new star ship designs and other info. [ [http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/store/news/article/2303263.html?page=1 Press Release: "Star Trek" Remastered on HD DVD] ]
In December, Perpetual released Star Trek Online's first two in-game screenshots, one of the space/shipboard environment and one of a planetary combat encounter. In an interview with
WarCry Networkreleased with the second screenshot, executive producer Daron Stinnettsaid that Perpetual had decided to "keep the stylized avatars in a stylized world." Their aim was to "take the look of Star Trek in a new direction whilst staying true to its core values." Stinnett, responding to previous allegations about the team and project shakeup, confirmed that while they were indeed exploring alternate payment methods, no decision had been made in that regard, and nobody had left the team as had been reported. [ [http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/interviews/2717-Star-Trek-Online-Exclusive-Interview-and-First-Avatar-Screenshot WarCry - Interview with Daron Stinnett] ]
December 12, 2007, Perpetual's former public relations firm Kohnke Communications launched a lawsuit against the company, including allegations of fraud. Allegedly, "Perpetual canceled "Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising" mostly because of over $280,000 in incentives that would be owed to Kohnke upon the launch of the game and the subsequent financial impact on the development of "Star Trek Online". [ [http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/15616 TenTonHammer - Kohnke v. Perpetual] ]
Despite the lawsuit, the other developments were encouraging to fans, although the postponement of "Gods and Heroes" so late in development was a cause for concern. On
January 14, 2008, though, Perpetual announced that it was no longer developing "Star Trek Online". The license for the game and all of its assets except for the code were transferred to another, unnamed, developer (now known to be Cryptic Studios). [ [http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/breakingnews/2802-Breaking-News-P2-Out-As-Star-Trek-Online-Developer WarCry: P2 Out As Star Trek Online Developer] ] [ [http://blog.wired.com/games/2008/01/star-trek-onlin.html Star Trek Online Developers Dropped] ]
The long-running fan based forum StarTrek-Online.net, an independent site formerly in close contact with Perpetual and dedicated to monitoring the development of the game, closed its forum doors on
February 29, 2008, citing lack of continued interest on the part of the staff. [ [http://www.startrek-online.net StarTrek-Online.net ] ]
When Perpetual Entertainment folded in early 2008, three and a half years after the initial press release, the exact form that Perpetual's version of the game would have taken remained largely a mystery. What was known of the game is presented below. At this time, it is still unclear how much of this will survive under Cryptic Studios' development.
Players' characters were to begin as Starfleet cadets and have the opportunity to advance in rank up to Captain and even Admiral. The game would have mainly been played from a 3rd person perspective, though there were hints that it might have been possible to zoom into a first person view under certain circumstances. Players would have been able to travel, explore space and the surface of planets, and engage in
Player versus player(PvP) combat and Player versus environment(PvE) combat.
After a player had chosen a career, the selection would have become permanent for the character's entire existence. Characters would have physically aged as they progressed through the game and gain more experience, thus the experience of higher-ranking officers would have been accurately portrayed in game. The final list of playable races had not yet been announced by the time the game was effectively cancelled; candidates included Human, Vulcan,
Klingon, Bajoran, Bolian, Cardassian, Ferengi, Gorn, Tellariteand Andorian.cite web
title= Star Trek Online Official FAQ
The game was to be set in the early years of the 25th Centurycite web
title= Star Trek Online Official Devblog 'A holiday story'
year=2004-12-023] (just beyond the eras of ', ', and ""), approximately twenty years after "
Star Trek Nemesis" (the latest movie); the developers were using this interregnum to allow for some evolution in the Star Trek universe for the sake of better playability. Missions would have included storylines that involve established characters from the Star Trek franchise. Players would have begun at Starfleet Academy, where they would have learned basic game skills, before progressing to Starship assignments. Players would then have been able to participate in activities on ships, on planets, or on stations and starbases.
The game would have begun during a time of relative peace for the Federation, a time known as the "En'ock tu Ch'enock," which roughly translates to "The Calm before the Inferno", approximately twenty years after the Dominion War. All of the Federation's traditional enemies (such as the Borg, the
Romulans, the Cardassiansand the KlingonEmpire) have either tentatively made peace or ceased to be a threat. The developers had stated that a new enemy from deep within the Beta quadrantwould have been the main antagonists.cite web
publisher=Star Trek Online .Net
title=Re: Official F.A.Q. Updated
Players would have travelled through the gameworld by foot, by transporter beam, at impulse power, at warp, and transwarp conduits constructed by the Federation in the twenty years since "Star Trek Nemesis".Fact|date=March 2007
Starship assignments and missions would have been one of the key components of this game. Players would have congregated and socialized aboard large starship "hubs" such as the Galaxy-class, and use them as jumping-off points to go on missions aboard their smaller personal starships, which would have been operated as advanced mounts from a 3rd person perspective, where each player would have had different controls relating to ship functions relevant to their department. [ [http://sto.gamona.de/board/showpost.php?p=27966&postcount=2 Posting re game features,] sto gamona site]
There would have been over a hundred ships recreated in the game, at least 50 of these would have been obtainable by players. [ [http://sto.gamona.de/board/showpost.php?p=27966&postcount=2 Posting re game features,] sto gamona site] ] It had been indicated that player ship interiors would not have been available at the initial release, with ship systems being controlled from an exterior view during combat, though interior gameplay was an important aspect of "ST:O" and would have been represented in a number of ways. [ [http://www.startrek-online.net/messageboard/showthread.php?t=9307 startrek-online.net/] ] [http://www.startrek-online.net/messageboard/showthread.php?p=123583#post123583 startrek-online.net] ]
Most missions would not have been "instanced," according to statements by "Star Trek Online" executive producer Daron Stinnett. [ [http://www.startrek-online.net/messageboard/showthread.php?p=130391#post130391 Question answered by Daron Stinnett, August 15th, 2007] . StarTrek-Online.net.]
"Star Trek Online" would have include both personal and ship-to-ship combat. However, the developers had released very little information as to how combat will work.
It was believed that the game will operate using both first-person and third-person cameras; personal combat was expected to be primarily third-person, with the use of first-person views from time to time. It would have take place on the ground and aboard ships.
Perpetual Entertainment had stated that they wanted every player to be able to command their own ship, even if only a runabout. Large-scale ship-to-ship combat, however, would have required teamwork. Full-size starships would have required a bridge crew to operate and probably at least one person in Engineering.
Space combat in "Star Trek Online" would have been three-dimensional and not based on a 2D plane as previously supposed. Player-Controlled starships would have been piloted by their captains via a system of coordinated instructions and not by a player in a separate flight control position, though an NPC pilot would have been present at the helm.
As in "Star Trek", money would not have been emphasized, but it would have been present in the form of Federation Credits. All of the player's basic needs (i.e. "food, lodging, uniforms, simple entertainment, and standard equipment")cite web
title=Development Logs: Space Combat
year=2005-11-18] would have been provided for free, but players could have chosen to spend credits on things the Federation does not normally provide—for instance, special items of value, special entertainment, or special treatment. Players would also have amassed "prestige", an intangible currency that reflects their favor with Starfleet. Obtaining command of a
starshipwould not have cost any credits but would have required a great deal of prestige, with different ships costing different amounts. Prestige would have been earned by impressing Starfleet and making special achievements.
* [http://www.hailingfrequency.co.uk/boards/index.php?topic=145.0 Podcast/Audio Interview with Ryan Denning , Lead Concept Artist for STO on April 1st 2007] at [http://www.hailingfrequency.co.uk Hailing Frequency 'The Internets First Podcast Dedicated to Star Trek Gaming']
* [http://www.hailingfrequency.co.uk/boards/index.php?topic=5.0 Podcast/Audio Interview with Daron Stinnett, Executive Producer for STO on September 17th 2006] at [http://www.hailingfrequency.co.uk Hailing Frequency 'The Internets First Podcast Dedicated to Star Trek Gaming']
* [http://www.hailingfrequency.co.uk/boards/index.php?topic=140.0 Podcast/Audio Interview with Daron Stinnett, Executive Producer for STO on March 12th 2006] at [http://www.hailingfrequency.co.uk Hailing Frequency 'The Internets First Podcast Dedicated to Star Trek Gaming']
Star Trek games
* [http://www.startrekonline.com/ StarTrekOnline.com] The official Star Trek Online MMORPG site by its developers at Cryptic Studios.
* [http://www.gamepro.com/video/player.cfm?vid=132020 Star Trek Online Trailer]
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