E3 2012: STAR TREK Game Offers Two Unique Experiences


A double screened theater was necessary to show off the newest version of the most welcome surprise of last year's E3: the third person co-op shooter Star Trek. The fact that it was also in 3D was just icing. This latest build was reportedly closer to the final edition of the game, due out early next year for the major consoles and kicked off with a Chris Pine voiced Kirk dragging a wary Zachary Quinto Spock down to the colony world of New Vulcan to investigate a disturbance first handily. At the Transporter Room, Scotty (Simon Pegg) turns over Kirk's new custom modded phaser, which in appearance during action seems to allow him to fire faster via a rotating chamber/barrel, not too unlike a classic revolver.

Once on the planet, the new homeworld for the displaced Vulcans, and after a bit of banter and some co-op puzzle solving involving pressing switches, they are set upon by a pair of crazed locals. Not wanting to harm some of the few remaining members of the race, Kirk keeps them pinned with his phaser set to stun while Spock uses cover to flank and deliver a Neck Pinch (compete with that classic contextual musical stab). Spock then Mind Melds with the afflicted Vulcan and we can see from his perspective only the flashes of memory that lead up to the current crisis from the victim’s point of view.


Through that analysis and the appearance of a giant lizard man, its revealed that the Gorn are responsible for the attack. Kirk and Spock fight a large member of the species, a battle that is aided by Spock's ability to scan a foe and highlight a weak point for Kirk to shoot. Not out of danger yet, the pair is beset by a series of Gorn dropships carrying lesser, but gun toting, foes. In combat either Kirk or Spock can come to the aid of each other when they are knocked down or grappled, and in context sensitive locations, work together to quickly down foes. Even when split up temporally Kirk and Spock overcome a dozen Gorn before agreeing that escape would be the best option. Not able to clear the interference that Scotty is reporting without engaging a hoard of Gorn at close range, Kirk ends the demonstration in spectacular fashion by calling down a barrage of Photon Torpedoes from the Enterprise using a laser guidance device.

Once outside the demo theater, Newsarama had the chance to corner Brian Miller, a Senior Vice President with Paramount Pictures and a Producer on the Star Trek game and ask him a few questions for gamer, the Trekkie, and those who are both.

Newsarama: Why should gamers who are not Trek fans play this game?

Brian Miller: That’s a question we grappled with a couple of years ago when the first film came out, when we rebooted the franchise: How do we make Star Trek accessible to everyone? So meeting with our friends at Bad Robot, meeting with us here at Paramount, our number one goal was "how do we make a great game?”  The fact that it was Star Trek was secondary, but it was also icing on the cake, but that’s what we’ve been pushing for from the very beginning. We didn’t want to make a traditional movie license game, we didn’t want to hit the pitfalls all of those seem to fall into, if we were going to do a game, we were going to do it right. So we’ve been really cautious over the last couple years trying to get it to a place where that was.  What that means is: ’how do we make a great co-op game?’ ’how do we use Kirk and Spock?’ ’how do we tell a great narrative?’ and ’how do we get a great developer to bring it to life?’ Hopefully we’ve got that. 


Why did you take the chance by creating a different gameplay experience for each of the players? Did you feel that it was worth the risk of throwing the game off structurally?

Miller: When we starting talking about making a game, our discussions ultimately boiled down to: ’what is Star Trek about?’  Star Trek really is, a huge part of it is, Kirk and Spock. They really are two sides of the same sort of personality, one is a kind of brawler/cowboy and one is the more logical guy. When you look at it from that perspective of the decision we made, it was really a no-brainer, we had to make a co-op game. So you just keep extrapolating on that ‘how does the gameplay change if you are Kirk?’ ‘what would he want to do?’ He’d want to go in guns blazing, were Spock would try to argue with him a bit and want to take a more logical/tactical approach. From there the whole playbook opens up and every decision we make for the game is hinged on those.

Nrama: Using that strategy, how did you find the balance to keep one player’s experience from being more active than the other?

Miller: [Developer] Digital Extremes is doing such a good job with the gameplay. If you looked at Spock and think he’s just staid and logical, you have to remember that his a half-Vulcan, which means he’s faster and stronger and do more stuff that Kirk can’t. In the demo you can see Spock makes a crazy jump onto a ship that Kirk struggles to make. On the other hand, what can we give to Kirk will keep you from just picking Spock just because he’s faster and stronger, Kirk’s [unrevealed] attributes come into play as well.

Nrama: Just revealed was the news that the Gorn will be the primary antagonists in the game. What went into the process of ‘rebooting’ the man in the rubber lizard suit from the original series? 


We had to look back, we have a huge amount of material to go through, and we talked about the villain and people have been bugging us for the last two years of development: ‘who’s the villain?’ ‘who’s the villain?’ ‘who’s the villain?’ so we were really excited to announce that it was the Gorn.  For us that allows us to have the greatest canvas we can, the original version was just one creature, one guy in a suit who was never brought back to the series. We get the luxury of being able to create an entire race and [different] species of Gorn, why they do things and an entire history to them. It’s really exciting from a story telling and gameplay perspective.

Nrama: What can you tell us about the connection between this game and the events of the next movie?

Miller: We are telling a complete and unique stand-alone story [in the game]. We want this game to exist in the universe of Trek but be independent from the last movie and the next movie that we are doing, so we’ve been working with our writers and our filmmakers, [writer] Bob Orci has come on as a consultant to make sure everything is legitimate. Marianna Krawczyk from the God of War series has come on to help pen the script and there will be little hints and Easter Eggs that will tie everything together but we are creating a very unique and independent narrative here.

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