The Darkness II developer, Digital Extremes, are developing a new Star Trek game in collaboration with Paramount Digital Entertainment. The game, which takes place after the 2009 movie, is being written by God of War writer, Marianne Krawczyk, and will be co-published by Namco Bandai. It was present at their recent Gamer Day event in Las Vegas, where we had a chance to watch a demo of it being played.
The co-op demo for Star Trek was played by two staff members. It began with Kirk and Spock returning from an away mission to find the Enterprise caught up in energy tendrils and not responding to hails. The two disembarked from the shuttle and dove onto an open bay on the Enterprise, with Spock landing gracefully and Kirk crash-landing. This brief portion was designed to show how different play will be for both characters. While this was a co-op demo, in single player, Kirk and Spock will each go about missions differently.
Kirk and Spock weren’t able to find any life signs upon landing, and a nearby red-shirted crew member suggested the worst. Upon scanning the redshirt with the series’ famous tricorder device, it revealed that he’d been done in by some sort an infection. In Star Trek, you can use the tricorder to analyze and record information like the Scan Visor from Metroid Prime, and doing this will have various helpful effects such as giving you access to alien technology for your weapons, for instance. In this particular mission, scanning redshirts, the developers said, would prove helpful later on.
Kirk and Spock were then able to hear from Uhura, who was still alive and in the shuttle bay. Some unknown enemy had invaded the ship and the two would have to make it through to rescue the survivors. This was proving difficult, as enemies were lurking everywhere, and would need to be taken out.
Kirk and Spock both play differently during combat as well. Kirk is flashy. His weapons do more damage, his melee attacks are brawny, and a good tactic is to set a phaser to stun and follow up with a melee kill. Weapon upgrades make Kirk’s weapons stronger and flashier. Meanwhile, Spock is described as a “Space Ninja”. His weapons become more accurate as they level up and he’s sneakier. For instance, after a Stasis melee attack enemies wake up not knowing what happened to them.
Cutscenes in Star Trek are interactive. Soon enough, Kirk and Spock found themselves surrounded by enemies and you can move and shoot enemies while cutscenes play out. The player controlling Spock demonstrated this by pre-emptively attacking one of the enemies. Meanwhile, Kirk overloaded part of the ship to damage enemies around a control panel. Unfortunately, he was soon overpowered and poisoned by one of them, at which point Spock had to rescue him. The player controlling him used a Mind Meld technique to have an enemy fight for Spock while he reached Kirk, grabbing him.
This part of the demo gave a glimpse of what is being called “asymmetrical co-op”. Spock—with Kirk in tow—was the one moving and had to get Kirk to the Medbay to save his life. Meanwhile, the player controlling Kirk had to shoot enemies while they made their retreat. For co-op, if you don’t have a friend you can play with, you’ll be assisted by an AI partner. You can play Star Trek either in single player or online co-op mode, and friends can drop in and out of your game.
Once Kirk and Spock got to the Medbay, the redshirt information recorded with the tricorder came into play. Because the people controlling the demo scanned enough downed allies, it was easier for Spock to play a mini-game that eliminated toxic parasites from Kirk, and prevented him from ending up like their late crew members. Meanwhile, the player controlling Kirk continued to hold off enemy forces as Spock did his thing.
Eventually, the enemy aliens overwhelmed both of them, and the two woke up surrounded. The aliens wanted control of the ship. Spock told Kirk not to do it, but Kirk responded that if they wanted a ship, they’d get one. Kirk then sent the shuttle Spock and he flew in on into the Enterprise as the demo ended.
During a Q&A session after the demo, Brian Miller, Paramount Pictures’ Senior Vice President and Star Trek Producer, and Steve Sinclair, Creative Director from Digital Extremes, said that the developers are going to great lengths to make the game feel authentic. For instance, actors from the movie are being scanned into the game and character animations are based on body language from 2009 movie. However, when we asked if actors from the recent Star Trek would provide voices for their characters, we were told that we’d have to wait until a later date to find out.