E3 2011: STAR TREK Devs Show Action-Packed Early Gameplay


The rebooted Star Trek film franchise beams onto gaming consoles in 2012 with an original adventure that will take place after the events of the ‘first’ film and before the yet to be shot second film. Taking cues from the 2009 hit movie, this Star Trek is heavy on action, and in this case co-op action with each player taking on the role of Captain Kirk or Commander Spock in a cover-based third-person shooter.

Emphasized throughout the pre-alpha demonstration stage was the faithfulness to not only the look but also the spirit of the 2009 film. In addition to the gratuitous lens flair, the design of the Enterprise interiors were taken directly from the film and the exterior model of the ship is the same digital asset created by Industrial Light and Magic for the film. The game’s original story was written by BAFTA award winner Marianne Krawczyk (God of War), and developer Digital Extremes (Bioshock 2, The Darkness II) is in close cooperation with Paramount and film producer Bad Robot.

The demonstration started with Kirk and Spock returning from an away mission to an unresponsive Enterprise, which is trapped in a nebula by beams of energy. The pair determine the only way to return to the ship is via a manual exterior hatch and they launch themselves into space in EVA suits that have only a limited amount fuel. A short, speedy flight sequence ensues as they zoom towards their ship while avoiding debris. The aggressive Kirk barrels into the ship, tumbling on landing, while the more temperate Spock lands gently, insuring a bit of banter between the officers. It was reiterated several times during the demo that this kind of jocular interaction that is a hallmark of the characters will be heavily featured in the final game.

Aboard the derelict Enterprise there are no signs of life, just a few dead red shirts that can be analyzed by either player’s Tricorder. Like in the series and movies, this catch-all gizmo will aid players of the game in learning more about the mission at hand, help solve simple puzzles and manipulate technology including opening doors and overriding the controls of vehicles.

Drawn to the shuttle bay by a distress call, the pair is ambushed by soldiers of an unknown alien race that has poisoned some of the crew. In combat it is revealed that Kirk and Spock will each have their own weapon and skill sets, ones tuned to their character’s personality. The bold Kirk has a custom phaser that not only has stun and kill settings, but successful attacks will open an option to instantly vaporize foes; Kirk can also perform powerful charge and melee attacks. Spock wields a Vulcan pulse rifle that comes with an energy shield; the rifle can be charged with enemy (or with cooperation, friendly) attacks to ready a powerful charged shot. At close range, Spock can perform a neck pinch to subdue foes or a mind meld to confuse them into attacking their allies for a short time after completing a short mini-game successfully. Both players will have a regenerating personal shield and a supply of hyposprays to recover health.

After the fight, in a sequence scripted for the demo, Kirk is infected with the alien poison and must lean on Spock to reach the sickbay. Here the player controlling Spock walks for the pair, while the player controlling Kirk defends them with his free arm, even as the poison clouds his vision. At the missing Doctor McCoy’s sickbay, Spock extracts the poison while a progressively sicker Kirk continues to defend them both while lying on a medical bed.

After being cured, Kirk and Spock continue to battle until taken captive in another scripted sequence and taken to the bridge. Instead of surrendering the ship to the aliens, Kirk remotely pilots the abandoned shuttle into the bridge viewscreen/window, blowing the aliens into space for a finale.

Though Star Trek was developed for co-op play, it will allow for single players with an AI controlled partner that will offer a slightly different experience story wise to compensate for the lack of a second human player. The game is set for a 2012 release on Xbox 360 and PS3, which will also support the PlayStation Move, with a custom phaser accessory announced for the Move controller.

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