In focus: Star Trek: Tactical Assault (Part one)
On the holodeck with Quicksilver's creative director Rantz Hoseley
It's ironic how badly the Star Trek licence has been treated over the years by gamemakers, especially compared to its arch nemesis, Star Wars.
After all, Star Trek was the original big TV success story when it came to intelligent space travel, while Star Wars was a cheap and cheerful upstart B-movie. But often their original roles have been reversed when it's come to interactive games though (although to be fair, Star Wars has hardly got away with just flesh wounds).
Maybe the hint comes with the titles – one contains 'trek' while the other 'wars'. Which is likeliest to prove best as the basis for games?
Putting aside the philosophy, the ongoing bout between the two will be rejoined this Christmas, as each licence spawns a brand new experience for DS and PSP. The Star Wars action is subtitled Lethal Alliance and features third person action, while Trekkies will be engaging the Klingon battle fleet, amongst others, in Tactical Assault.
And the latter's creative director Rantz Hoseley seems mighty pumped to have worked on it.
"These are the characters we grew up on, and that inspired many of us to pursue the careers that we did, so there's an immense sense of personal pressure to 'do right' by Star Trek," Hoseley says. "We felt we had to make sure that if we were going to add another chapter to the mythos of Star Trek, it had to REALLY have value. That it would be another story worth telling and playing, to the Star Trek universe, because otherwise that's betraying your own childhood."
For that reason, before Quicksilver started work on the game there was plenty of discussion of how to handle the storyline and characters.
"As the intention was this could possibly be the beginning of a new game series, we wanted to treat the game as a 'season' of a Trek TV show, with each mission and scenario forming an 'episode' from a plot standpoint," says Hoseley.Aye aye, captain
Since the gameplay is all about ship-to-ship combat, it was decided not to let the gamer play characters such as Captain's Kirk and Picard, as they obviously have much wider roles within the Trek universe.
"At the same time though, we wanted the game to have the elements that were iconic and familiar, and that lead the player to really fell as if they were involved with creating pivotal moments in Trek history," Hoseley explains.
"By the player assuming the role of Captain Reynolds [in the main Federation campaign] within the events of the timeline established from Wrath of Khan up to the sixth Star Trek movie, we manage to deal with those issues."
Also helping Quicksilver to get the right tone early on was original Star Trek series scripter D. C. Fontana and her partner Derek Chester, who wrote the story, script and the branching dialogue choices.
"It's been one of the things that we've gotten the most positive reaction on, and definitely one of the things that we're most proud of in this game," says Hoseley.
Star Trek: Tactical Assault is due to be released for PSP on 1st December and for DS on 22nd December. Catch up with us on the Holodeck again tomorrow as Hoseley reveals more about the game's tactical elements. (Click 'Track It!' for a reminder).