An in-depth look at Star Trek the Game @ E3 2012
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 6th Jun 2012
The queue for the Star Trek Demo was long and anxious as we arrived for our appointment, and once we were passed through the back door of the theater and shown to our seats, the lights dimmed and we were handed the special glasses that allowed us to make sense of the 3D video being displayed on the two screens, set side-by-side to allow us to see both the perspective of Captain Kirk, and that of First Officer Spock, who according to the briefing have been ordered to investigate the loss of communications with Vulcan II, the new Vulcan Homeworld that replaced the original planet Vulcan which was destroyed in the 2009 Abrams epic Star Trek movie.
A faithfully-rendered Kirk and Spock -- complete with the voices of the original actors who play them in the movie, and who will reprise their roles in the next film due out next year -- beamed down to the surface where they found dead Vulcan bodies and, thanks to Spock's trusty Tricorder, learned that the Vulcan casualties have been infected by some sort of virus that is alien in nature. Of course we did not know from whence that virus came... Yet.
As the dynamic duo made there way inside the building nearby they encountered living casualties driven mad by the infection, who attacked them on sight -- but with phasers set to "Stun" they handily disabled them (or I should say the pair of developers from Digital Extremes who were playing the roles of Spock and Kirk did so), and had the now unconscious casualties beamed aboard the Enterprise and to Sick Bay, where doubtlessly they were receiving the finest medical care Star Fleet could provide.
Meanwhile back on the planet Kirk and Spock are suddenly attacked by a wild-and-dangerous looking lizard-thingy that we instantly recognized as The Gorn -- and the surprise of the demo was sprung on us, with the return of one of the original enemies form the first season of the 60's TV show upon which the movies -- and game -- are based!
The Gorn was the surprise element of the E3 Demo for Star Trek the Game, and that old enemy of the Federation made an impressive showing!
The Gorn of the game are much more threatening and intimidating than those of the TV show, and also a lot stronger and better resistant to phasers as it turns out, and both Kirk and Spock find themselves in a battle that they will likely lose, but when things got really bad they were able to call down a Photon Torpedo strike from the Enterprise that saved the day, buying them enough time to be beamed up and so ended the demo.
Considering the string of less-than-adequate game treatments that the Star Trek IP has been subjected to over the course of the past twenty-odd years, you cannot blame us if we entered the demo space with trepidation -- with Star Trek it is always safer to assume the worse than to expect the best, but this time we were surprised by a game that manages to capture the full-experience that is Captain Kirk and his Vulcan sidekick in a way that is faithful to the spirit of the lore and series canon.
The video game includes voicework by the actors who star in the films -- Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto who starred as Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock in producer and director J.J. Abrams Star Trek (2009) film reboot, with other actors from the 2009 film depicted in the game including actress Zoe Saldana, in the role of Lieutenant Uhura, Simon Pegg as the benevolent Scotty, Karl Urban as the beloved Dr. Bones McCoy, John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Chekov, so right there are some solid roots that will please even the pickiest of Trekkie.
A Buddy Game
Perhaps the most important aspect of the new Star Trek game is not that it is introducing classic enemies drawn from series canon, or that it is playing close to the wind and faithfully portraying the characters and the relationships that we have come to know and to love -- but rather that its premise is the same as that of the original show, which while it has an ensemble cast of really great character actors who were, in their own right, unique personalities that are part of the series history, at its heart this is a buddy-story, told from the perspective of the two buddies who the player portrays, Captain James T. Kirk, and Mister Spock.
As we abandoned the peaceful darkness of the theater and returned to the maelstrom that is E3, we could not help but reflect upon what we had just seen and that we were walking away from a game that we really -- really -- wanted to see more of. That is the mark of a great demo and briefing at E3; show them the good stuff but leave them wanting more -- and they managed to do that very well with Star Trek.
Star Trek is being developed by Ontario-based developer Digital Extremes (Bioshock 2, Unreal Tournament, Dark Sector, The Darkness II) with production being overseen by Brian Miller, Senior Vice President at Paramount Pictures and game producer, which neatly explains how the game -- or at least what we saw of it -- maintained such a tight adherence to the true canon of the series. If what we saw at E3 is any indication, Star Trek the Game will be one of the must-have's when it is released in 2013.