While the new Star Trek game from Digital Reality aims at bringing in new fans, it also aims to please older fans that have been with the franchise for a while. At GDC, executive producer Brian Miller gave us a couple of examples of references older fans might smile at.
There are some references to the 1960s series in Star Trek. Isn’t the plot centered around the episode “Arena” which the Gorn are in?
Brian Miller, executive producer: There are some [references]. We talked about what enemy you want and there is certainly a big list. Frankly, we all smiled a little bit because we knew some of the enemies that would be in some of the other films, particularly the sequel. The Gorn was on the top of everybody’s list.
I think that was a credit to the old show. The fact that it was one episode with William Shatner fight a rubber suited guy. If you go to Yahoo! and look it up it’s listed as the worse fight scene of all time, which i think is wrong—it’s the greatest fight scene of all time.
Our game isn’t just a mirror of the “Arena” episode, but we pulled a lot of that out there. We wanted to be faithful to that. We wanted to give this big broad appeal to Star Trek, but also take care of fans have been with us. When you watch the “Arena” episode there is this outpost that gets attacked by the Gorn and Kirk and Spock and the team rush after the Gorn and sort of shoot them out and they get into an arena. We pick up that storyline, we pick up the arena fight that was in that old episode. We have the Gorn, we get to create a world for that and that allows us to bring us into the canon for the new universe.
Going back to the 1960s series, what other elements or references did you take from that and add into the Star Trek video game?
I will give you one. We have a co-op game and the whole nature of a co-op game is to work together to solve a problem. Well, we all looked at each one day and said wouldn’t it be great if you’re about eight hours in or halfway in and you get into a moment in the game where you don’t want to help your partner. What if you want to get to a point where you want to get into a fight with your partner?
There is an old episode called “Amok Time” where Kirk and Spock had to fight each other. Perfect thing for us to reference in our game. Again, it was how do we work make it work for the game? How do we make the gameplay work? And how do we throw these little bits and pieces that a hardcore Star Trek fan will pick up on and also will not alienate a bigger audience who will say “I didn’t see that episode so this doesn’t work for me.”
We have a lot of those little bits, like hidden Tribbles throughout the game. There are those extra little things you can go around and try to collect to get extra [experience] points because Star Trek is about discovery and exploration. It’s not about shooting a bunch of lizards for 15 hours.
Star Trek The Video Game will be released on April 23.