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GDC: Digital Extremes' Star Trek isn't looking too hot

Mar 26 // Abel Girmay
Star Trek: The Game (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)Developer: Digital ExtremesPublisher: Namco Bandai, Paramount StudiosRelease: April 23, 2013 Like Army of Two, 2013's Star Trek is built around co-op play. You can solo it of course, but playing with a human partner is ideal. This comes out in the writing quite a bit, with no shortage of friendly banter between the action-happy, smart-mouthed Kirk and the calm, calculated Spock. Both characters see Chris Pine and Zack Quinto reprise their respective roles, as does the remainder of the USS Enterprise crew. Simon Pegg is Scotty, Zoe Saldana is Uhura, and so on. The remainder of Star Trek's presentation is getting the same TLC, with the films' composer Michael Giacchino returning to lead a 100-piece orchestra for the score, and God of War series writer Marianne Krawczyk penning the script. If one thing is clear, it's that Star Trek is certainly not lacking for production values. More than an extra gun, you and your partner are actually reliant on each other, and in more ways than your help-me-open-this-door segments -- though there are plenty of those too. In a GDC demo, I found myself regularly splitting up from my partner, with the actions happening on one end affecting the other. Playing as Kirk, one of the early platforming segments had me racing to the end in order to disable a trap laser my Spock partner had to dodge. We've seen these sorts of co-op moments before, and at the very least they work just as well here. Not working quite so well are the moment-to-moment shooting and platforming. Don't get me wrong its all functional, just not particularly refined. With the exception of some areas that offer two ways to reach an objective, presumably for convenience as you have to wait for your partner to make it across before you can start, the platforming is completely linear. That on its own is not a bad thing, but it's almost funny when the way forward is highlighted by black-and-yellow caution stripes. With the exception of a few hidden paths, literally every claimable ledge was highlighted by these caution stripes. In this particular demo, which took place on a rapidly decaying space station, it became almost comedic as I would often walk into a room, have the floor explode and upended right in front of me, and see black-and-yellow stripes neatly adorned across the scalable rubble. Immersion breaking aside, there doesn't seem to be a great sense of momentum or weight to the platforming, with jumps that feel like canned animations rather than fluid movements. Shooting feels similarly rudimentary in places with aiming that doesn't feel particularity smooth. That grievance aside, the gunplay features some level of variety with 25 different weapons, each with an alternate fire. And yes, there is a phaser, and you can set it to stun or kill. Weapons are also upgradable with XP, accrued from finding collectibles among other actions, improving damage recharge speed and the like. So while Star Trek takes a lot of cues from the better games in the action-adventure genre, I can't honestly hold out hope that they will meld well for this specific title.
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Beam me up, Sc--actually, no rush
Take a beloved franchise like Star Trek, influences from the heavier hitters in a genre, and you can't go too wrong, right? Well that final verdict of course remains to be seen, but I can't say Digital Extremes' Star Trek makes a good case for itself.

Womulans! photo
Womulans!

Star Trek Online introduces Romulans in its May expansion


A third faction warps in
Mar 21
// Josh Tolentino
Big news for Star Trek fans of the MMO-playing persuasion, as Cryptic have decloaked the next big update to Star Trek Online. Titled "Legacy of Romulus", it's pretty much the largest single expansion since the game went Free...
Star Trek game trailer photo
Star Trek game trailer

See how the new Star Trek game was made


The 'ultimate co-op experience' detailed
Feb 15
// Chris Carter
Yep, that Star Trek game is a thing, and now you can see how the game came to life in this new video. Brian Miller of Paramount Pictures goes over a few principles, like the ideologies behind Kirk and Spock's play-styles, as...
Star Trek movie game photo
Star Trek movie game

The Star Trek film tie-in game is still a thing


Coming in April
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
Yep, that Star Trek game is still happening, and a new trailer has surfaced, showing off some gameplay and in-game visuals. More or less, it's looking like a Mass Effect clone, and since anything substantial hasn't really be...
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Star Trek Online teases stuff for May, probably Romulans


At least there's no suspense
Feb 02
// Josh Tolentino
Star Trek Online may have just barely begun celebrating its third birthday with free spaceships and fan-made trailers, but Cryptic aren't about to stop trying to give people reasons to check out their free-to-play Trek t...
Star Trek Online photo
Star Trek Online

Fan makes third-anniversary trailer for Star Trek Online


Beam me up, Scotty!
Feb 01
// Joshua Derocher
YouTube user StoLilyGarrett is a big fan of Star Trek Online. So much of a fan that he has made his own trailer for each anniversary of the game. He makes these very nice-looking trailers using only in-game footage. Eve...
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Star Trek Online celebrating 3rd birthday with free ship


Starships up the wazoo
Jan 31
// Josh Tolentino
Time really does fly (in space), seeing as Cryptic's Star Trek Online MMO celebrates its third anniversary starting tomorrow, January 31st. As is customary for the genre, they're holding a big ol' party to commemorate t...
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Star Trek The Video Game dated: April 23, 2013


Box art revealed
Dec 20
// Dale North
We finally have a solid date for Star Trek The Video Game: April 23, 2013, coming to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Namco Bandai says that the game will be available for pre-orders at national retailers starting tomorrow. If you're no...
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gamescom: This Star Trek trailer reintroduces the Gorn


Aug 14
// Jordan Devore
While it had been previously announced that the Gorn would be what Spock and Kirk get to shoot at in Digital Extremes' Star Trek, this isn't what I was expecting. Can you blame me? This game, due out early next year, picks u...
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New Star Trek Online update live, brings player starbases


Jul 17
// Josh Tolentino
Remember when Cryptic and Perfect World told you about their upcoming "Season 6" update to Star Trek Online? No? Well, it's up now, they've got a trailer to tell you all about it. In case you can't load it, the update's pret...
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E3: Star Trek hands-off event was NOT like Disney World


Jun 07
// Tony Ponce
It's kind of unfair to compare Star Trek to Star Wars 1313, and I know I'm only furthering the Star Wars vs. Star Trek rivalry, but there's no way I could not think about my hands-off LucasArts session. Whereas the Star Wars ...
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The Greatest Chest Bump of all time


Jun 07
// Jonathan Holmes
I love your smile.
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E3: Tag team Gorn in Star Trek


Jun 05
// Fraser Brown
There are a lot of good antagonists in the Star Trek universe, most notably the Klingon Empire and the Borg Collective. But ever since William Shatner dodged polystyrene rocks being thrown by a man in a lizard suit, people ha...
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Making a new home in Star Trek Online


May 23
// Fraser Brown
Star Trek Online's episodic additions are one aspect of the game that's generally been done right, especially thanks to player feedback. The latest series, Season Six: Under Siege, is bringing a new story, new equipment and m...
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Cryptic discovers a security breach over a year old


Apr 26
// Fraser Brown
Cryptic Studios informed Champions Online and Star Trek Online customers of a security breach today. Although Cryptic only just became aware of the breach, it actually happened in December 2010. Usernames, handles and encrypt...

Preview: Star Trek is shaping up to be something special

Apr 17 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Star Trek (PC [Demoed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Digital ExtremesPublisher: Namco Bandai Games Paramount Digital EntertainmentRelease: Q1 2013 Digital Extremes started work on Star Trek over two years ago with the goal of making a great triple A rated game. The studio has been working hand-in-hand with Paramount Studios whom have literally opened up the Star Trek vaults to them, granting access to every department that worked on the movie to create an authentic Star Trek feel. JJ Abram's Bad Robot has been close to the development process as well, crafting a unique and original storyline. Last, but certainly not least, Marianne Krawczyk, one of the main writers of the God of War series, rounds out the team behind the project. Namco began the live gameplay presentation by displaying the asymmetrical co-op experience with two giant projector screen, one displaying Captain Kirk's perspective and the other Spock's. A cool thing to note here first was that both screens were displayed in 3D through NVIDIA's NVision technology simultaneously. We were getting two different perspectives from the campaign in 3D at the same time, and it was looking pretty damn good. The demo begins with Kirk and Spock returning from an away mission to see the Enterprise ensnared by weird energy tendrils. No one is responding to hails, so the duo dive out of their away ship and hurdle towards the Enterprise in space. This section reminded me a lot of Dead Space 2's zero-g areas as the pair had to avoid space debris until they made it into the ship.  Once in, the duo discovers strange alien devices attached all around the ship and a deadly toxin that has killed all that it's infected. Here, Digital Extremes showed off the Tricorder and how it's been expanded for game as it will convey gameplay objectives and be used as a game mechanic. In this case, Spock used the Tricorder to scan the corpse of a red shirt to discover the toxin. While this is a co-op experience, Steve Sinclair, Creative Director at Digital Extremes, stressed each character offers a different, yet complementary perspective. Later on, Digital Extremes' Sheldon Carter compared the exploration as "akin to Metroid Prime" in the ways you can go about the environment with each character. Next we got to see the difference between Kirk and Spock's weaponry. The weapons extend beyond just a phaser, and are designed to fit the personality of each character. Kirk's phaser, for instance, evokes the feeling of a revolver as you switch between kill and stun modes. Spock was utilizing a Vulcan Repeating Cannon, and it's alternative fire can put enemies in a stasis causing the victim to be clueless as to what just happened to them. Weapons also have co-op features associated to them. Later we see Kirk holding onto a deflector shield that can be used to attack enemies once Spock fires on the shield to charge it up. Weapons gain experience points as well, so the more you use them the more upgrades are unlocked. It's definitely interesting how the developers are taking on the co-op experience here. You can of course play the game by yourself, but that means the AI will be in control of the other character. Digital Extremes told us they're putting in a lot of effort into the AI, but we'll see how that turns out in the final product. I hate AI controlled co-op allies, so it's good to know there will be seamless drop in/drop out co-op, and a splitscreen option as well. Further into the demo, the pair make their way into the shuttle bay where a cutscene kicks in. The duo are trying to listen to a distress signal, but are cut off when the unknown enemy forces drop in for a surprise attack. The cutscenes were said to be interactive and the player can fire upon the enemy during this scene. Note that the enemies on display here were just placeholders and the big reveal is being saved for E3. As Kirk takes cover behind some boxes, Spock manages to grab onto an enemy and use his special Mindmeld attack, thus causing the enemy to fight on the their side. It's at this point that Kirk's leg gets hit with that toxin, preventing him from walking. Spock now has to carry Kirk to the Medbay, so while Spock is moving it's up to Kirk to shoot at the enemies along the way. Once in the Medbay, Kirk is laid out on a table where he has to continue firing at the intruders and the Spock player must use a laser device to exterminate the viruses in Kirk's leg in a little mini-game of sorts. The heroes then fight a little bit longer before getting captured and taken to the bridge where the enemy forces demand Kirk hand over control of the Enterprise. Kirk starts messing with the control panel, but unbeknownst to the enemy, Kirk actually summons the away ship from the beginning of demo to crash right into the bridge. The impact causes the bridge to break apart, sucking out the bad guys, and potentially our heroes, as the screen fades to black. We got only a small taste of just how Star Trek is shaping out. During a Q&A segment, questions such as music, controlling the Enterprise ship itself, whether the actors from the film would voice the characters and even if the game would be appearing on the Wii U were asked. Nothing was confirmed nor denied, with Paramount and Digital Extremes stating that there will be some big reveals at E3 later this year. Marianne Krawczyk
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The stigma of bad videogame tie-ins with movie franchises is very hard to overcome. Often rushed to coincide with the corresponding film's release, movie based games almost always suck. So you'll have to forgive me for initi...

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Captain's Log: Tribbles drank all of my Earl Grey


Mar 13
// Fraser Brown
Despite its rough development, back in the beginning of 2010 I really did have high hopes for Star Trek Online. Lots of customization, being able to fight the Borg, playing a Klingon, I was giddy with anticipation. Then it la...
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Namco Bandai to co-publish Digital Extremes' Star Trek


Feb 10
// Jordan Devore
Hot off The Darkness II, it's been announced that Namco Bandai has signed with Paramount Pictures to co-publish and distribute the upcoming Star Trek in development at Digital Extremes for Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3. Thi...
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Star Trek Online turns 2, offers you the next Enterprise


Feb 02
// Josh Tolentino
Yeah, you read that right, nerds: The next starship Enterprise (registry code NCC-1701-F). Well, not the Enterprise itself, but an Odyssey-class Federation cruiser, the same model as the Enterprise-F. Players who sh...
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Star Trek Online is now free and the Ferengi are dismayed


Jan 17
// Fraser Brown
As of today, trekking through the stars has become considerably cheaper, it's free actually. Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online has officially shifted to a free-to-play model. You can download it now from Steam or STO's websi...
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Star Trek Online free-to-play early access underway


Jan 09
// Patrick Hancock
Surprising approximately no one, Star Trek Online announced last year that it was making the jump to free-to-play. Players with a current or past subscription have had access to the new model since January 5th, while everyone...
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Star Trek Online going free-to-play January 17th, 2012


Nov 11
// Brett Zeidler
As reported a couple months ago Star Trek Online is still on track to becoming free-to-play. It's set to make the jump January 17th, 2012. It'll soon be joining the ranks among DC Universe Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Su...

Star Trek: Infinite Space is boldly going there

Sep 21 // John Speerbrecker
Star Trek: Infinite Space (PC)Developer: Keen GamesPublisher: GameforgeReleased: 2011Price: Free Hearing about a free-to-play Star Trek game might just catch some of you off guard. We also know that Star Trek fans also can be some of the most hardcore fans in the world. That being said, those expectations are high and we always need a good Star Trek title. This is set up in the timeline of the Deep Space Nine world, where your job is to defend the Alpha Quadrant against all of the unknown denizens that tend to live in the universe. The story is written by Lee Sheldon who has written a few of the Next Generation episodes; Michael and Denise Okuda (authors of The Star Trek Encyclopedia) also contributed to the detail of the game's story arc. In terms of graphics, this game is incorporating a full 3D graphics engine called the Unity engine in the browser. You can see the detail in everything that you encounter in space from the architecture of the Ferengi hub to the nebula that you might have to mine ore out of.  There are two factions to choose from: Federation and Klingon. When choosing which one, even though you might think that one is a good guy and one is not, do not be confused. This game is meant to be played the way you want to. If you want to pretend like you are a drunken Captain Kirk and have not a care for anyone else just to get your job done, you can do that. The option to actually be a kindhearted Klingon is also available should you choose to play that way. Main story missions will take you through the campaign so that you can really immerse yourself in the surroundings of the world of Deep Space Nine. These missions are unique to each faction and can have multiple outcomes. Battleground scenarios are there for you to try out different roles in groups or to fine tune your play-style. You could keep trying different tactics to defeat that annoying Borg cube that has been giving you problems. Exploration missions, which are a crucial part of the Star Trek world, are also there for you to finally get out and see what lies beyond the frontier. The Central Hub in this game will be your launching point for you to meet up with friends and for you to build a party that will be able to go out and rule the galaxy. In the hub, you can show off your illustrious gear that you paid cash for or you can just go emote crazy and keep tapping your communicator to see who gets the most annoyed first. Yes, there is also and emote for you to "engage" as well.  Since you are the captain of the ship, you also have to successfully manage your crew. You will have to work with your Science officer, Security officer, Medical team, and your engineer. As you play this game, you will utilize them to successfully manage your missions and they'll help you succeed. As you level up, you can use some of your skill points to help build your crew to make challenges with them easier to win. Infinite Space plays like a top-down action game. You have your skill bar at the bottom of the screen so your photon torpedoes are at the ready. From the overhead perspective, you'll control your ship and easily navigate it through levels. It works very similar to an RTS style of control for your ship where you can either drag it with a mouse, point and click, or use the WASD keys. For this game still being in development, the visuals are shaping up to be great.  In this demo, a Intrepid Class ship was used to complete the mission. As for the HUD, they really nailed it with the interface of how it would look if we were actually using a control panel. We took the starship around an asteroid field and into enemy territory, where we were promptly ambushed. After spamming photon torpedoes and phasers, we managed to get out safely and continue on to our destination. In combat, the key is to weaken enemy shields; sending a disruptor their way to slow them down will be a great help while you take the time to flank them, for instance. Morality also plays a key role in this game where you will be faced with decisions that can influence your future. In one example, you are given a choice to blow up a ship with your away team on it or wait for them to try to capture the rogue who might escape without your interference.  Star Trek: Infinite Space also promises over 180 hours of playtime. They really want to give players the tools to play how they want. So if you want to gang up on that pesky Borg Cube with three Defiant class ships, go right ahead. There will be twelve ships for each side of the game, but within that, there will be many variations of the ships to work with. With this title stepping into the free-to-play realm, it is surprising to see all the work that they put into the detail of the game and the detail of the universe to get it just right for fans. Infinite Space will be out later this third quarter and it looks like it just might be the chance for us to boldly go there...for free.
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Let's face it, Star Trek games have been a challenge for most developers. With many titles in the past that have tried endlessly to capture the universe in a way that can please the fans of the series, the team at K...

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Here's what you'll get when Star Trek Online goes free


Sep 09
// Josh Tolentino
As you may have heard, The phaser-firing, starship-riding MMO Star Trek Online will be going free-to-play sometime this year, as did its Cryptic-developed cousin Champions Online. Of course, players both potent...
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The Final Frontier: Star Trek Online going Free-to-Play


Sep 02
// Josh Tolentino
Space: The Final Frontier. The voyages of the MMORPG Star Trek Online are about to head into some new space, as the game is set to board the Free-to-Play starship "by the end of 2011", said the Chief Financial Officer at Perf...
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Be Jean-Luc Picard in Yoostar 2


Jul 18
// Victoria Medina
A new Star Trek DLC pack was recently released for Yoostar 2, a game that puts players into the roles of actors from their favorite shows and movies. This new pack, on sale for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, contains fi...
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Interview: Star Trek will be one to watch


Jun 17
// Jordan Devore
Digital Extremes' Star Trek takes place between the excellent 2009 film and the upcoming sequel. And, it sounds like it could be amazing. At least, Hollie sure was ecstatic when talking about the game in this interview and a...
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E3: The Force is strong with this Star Trek trailer


Jun 08
// Maurice Tan
This trailer is pretty good. Spocktacular, even. But it's also a trailer for a game tie-in for the Star Trek reboot movies. And the last time we saw a big-budget licensed title like this, it was Ubisoft's Avatar game. D...
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Perfect World buys Star Trek Online maker Cryptic Studios


May 31
// Conrad Zimmerman
Chinese MMO publisher Perfect World has made an agreement to purchase Cryptic Studios, makers of Star Trek Online, from Atari. The sale, which is currently pending some closing conditions, is reported to have been made for 35...
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A cooperative Star Trek adventure -- where players take on the roles of Kirk and Spock -- will make its debut at E3 next week. The title's scheduled for a summer 2012 retail release for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. In dev...


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