Star Trek Online: The Next Next Generation

Is that a Borg thing? Probably. Exciting!

Cryptic must really be feeling the pressure with their upcoming Star Trek MMO – it now has to both live up to the success of JJ Abram’s Pretty People In Space reboot and shrug off the so-so reviews which their last game, Champions Online, is tarred with. Their most recent response, oddly, is to really play up to the Star Trek hardcore…

As the below reveals, it directly follows on from the last Picard’n’chums movie, thus continues the long-standing timeline that the new Star Trek movie effectively calls a halt to. So, olden Trek-types will be glad to hear that STO brings resolution/continuance of the Romulan conflict, the re-outing of the Klingons as this universe’s Third Reich, and lots of very specific stardates. Presumably we’ll find out what happened to Jean Luc et al within the game at some point, too…
So, enthusiastic geekery from Cryptic below, replete with a splodge of pre-beta footage. Good news for the Trek devout, but I won’t be at all surprised if the marketing shifts to bigger, broader action as the release date gets closer.

GOOD WORK, SERIOUS MEN.

Additionally, here’s a new trailer that IGN snaffled, which is a little more like the recent cinematic revamp”

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59 Comments

  1. Larington says:

    Nice to see the Star Trek universe going through some proper political and imperial chaos for once. All too often its too clean cut.

    Still don’t quite see how all this is going to translate into gameplay of course.

  2. Chaz says:

    One of the devs in that video looks a bit like Steve Buscemi.

  3. DK says:

    I really wish they’d just adopt the Starfleet Battles universe. It makes so much more sense when the various races aren’t just cliches – and building a dreadnaught can bankrupt a nation.

  4. FhnuZoag says:

    Man, is everyone fighting the Klingons in this game?

  5. Synneth says:

    I've been kind of 'meh' since this title was announced, and these have done little to inject any enthusiasm. It did, however, make me think of what Star Trek games I actually enjoyed and now I really miss Star Trek: 25th Anniversary. Now _that_ was a Star Trek game.

    ooo, oooo, oo-oo-oo-ooooooooooooooo

    • Axess Denyd says:

      If you like 25th Anniversary, don’t forget Judgement Rites.

      Hmmm, sadly I never finished either of them. Wonder if I can find them.

  6. Frenz0rz says:

    The Gorn Hegemony, eh? Havent heard from them in a while.

  7. phanteh says:

    I’m a big trek fan and I can’t say I’m impressed by what I’ve seen so far, particularly the ship combat. Will have to wait and see of course, but they’ve gotta out-do Elite Force AND the Star Trek Command series (which was blatently the best ship combat game ¬_¬).

  8. Tim says:

    Hey call me weak. Call me soft. But I’d rather explore, solve puzzles and then blow things up – in roughly equal parts. But looks like STO will be blow things up, period.

  9. Mathew Jensterle says:

    They have got a timeline of sorts on their site which brings you up to speed too.

  10. MartinX says:

    Risky.

    I think with any “name” franchise that already exists in other media in the nerdosphere, comics, movies, pen and paper RPG, tv, etc, you have a captive hardcore audience who will try out your game just because it has the name.

    That’s fine, except that the hardcore tends to be a pretty small group, and given the costs of developing a game these days, and the ongoing costs of running an MMO, you really need a mainstream audience.

    Unfortunately the stuff the hardcore wants (demands) tends to veer towards the constrained, esoteric, lore-locked minutiae that will inevitably turn off the mainstream and put a ceiling on your audience.

    If you don’t suck the cock of the hardcore, their cries of damnation will be loud and everywhere, which will contribute to a bad buzz.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    • Wisq says:

      Indeed. Stuck between a hardcore audience that ostensibly wants you to succeed but is more realistically going to stab you in the back at some point, and a mainstream audience that doesn’t care one way or the other.

      Not an enviable position.

    • Dante says:

      The Star Trek hardcore is pretty damn big, mind, might well be enough to recoup costs on it’s own.

  11. abhishek says:

    Too many green lasers in the video.

  12. Dante says:

    This video brings up a slight worry of mine (which I stress at this early juncture is little more than a un ujustified doubt) that Star Trek Online might fall afoul of the Star Trek disease, over nostalgia.

    Anyone under forty who likes Star Trek probably knows what I’m talking about. The fact that, since DS9, the franchise has fallen into the hands of those who grew up with the original series, and they have spent considerable time and effort trying to ‘get back’ to what they loved about it, alienating those who grew up with the later series.

    So we’ve moved from the subtle likenesses of Voyager, to the great clanging obviousness of Enterprise (later series of which have been described as ‘continuity porn’) degrading in quality all the way, leading eventually to a film that, while good in it’s own right, not only went all the way back to the start but effectively erased the later series from existence.

    So yeah, I’m a little worried about seeing that in STO, with it’s apparent need to have the Klingons and the Federation at each other’s throats again (despite the fact that unquestionably the best Klingon episodes come in the ‘uneasy truce’ era of TNG and DS9) and even bringing in the Gorn, (a race that only appears in the original series and possibly Enterprise) as a major player.

    Geek rant over. So er… I hope that doesn’t happen.

  13. Dain says:

    Shame it’s a case of 1 player, 1 ship.

    • Dante says:

      As much as I’d nedgasm over the opportunity to play different officers on one ship, it would almost certainly end up being rubbish gameplay.

    • Serondal says:

      Star Wars Galaxies has crew on the larger ships so that one person can fly and several can man the turrets and repair the ship from inside ect and it works well (I can say this because I’ve played this aspect of the game a great deal with my mates, just look at my X-fire account Serondal you’ll see how much Star Wars Galaxies I’ve played, that’s all post the introduction of space fighting :P)

      I think it could work but ONLY if it were possible to fly the ship without a crew as well and be roughly as effective a ship with a crew.

  14. DMJ says:

    Can Star Trek even work as an MMO? Surely there’s going to be something odd about the captain of one of Starfleet’s newest vessels screaming “OMFG N00B” at you for daring to divert engine power to your shields when everyone knows you should be diverting shield power to weapons.

    • cliffski says:

      No worse than Lord Of Thr Rings online. I don’t recall Gandalf ever saying “afk, pizzas arrived’ in the movies.

    • Serondal says:

      It’s in the deleted scenes, you have to have the ultra Harry Potter cross over additon to see it , only released in New Zealand and 10% of London.

  15. cliffski says:

    Hmm. After I finally got through all the adverts and logos and the allowed me to see 10 seconds of UI-stripped gameplay, my gut feeling is ‘sigh’.
    I’m a huge trekkie so I’ll likely buy it, but am I the only one who was amazed at
    a) The incredibly crap overacting by the klingon voice and
    b) The actually not that impressive visual effects.

    Actual gameplay fun might redeem that, but so far, so meh.

  16. Tei says:

    Is complex.

    Much like abort, a no-born has some rights, a woman has some rights.

    The original Star Trek has some rights, and any new Star Trek has some rights. Who win?
    If a guy take the Star Trek franchise, and want to move it in a different direction, is he allowed, is he right?
    I think is somewhat about sucess,… he is right, he is allowed, If he can move it to a interesting direction. If the direction is not interesting, he sould not be allowed.

    The “I am legend” hollywood version was a crime, because was a mediocre movie, but killed a good story, reverting it to whatever the original history was against. It was a anti-hero book, where the bad guy was the good guy. The story was canivalized for nothing.

    The “I am Robot” hollywood version was not a crime, because …hell…yea… Asimov robot are not killing machines, are mosly like thinkers with a huge problem. Most Asimov books about robots are detective history. The hollywood take on Asimov robots was not a total perversion of Asimovian robots, there was some Asimov on that movie. Rule Zero, and stuff, arguabilly.

    So, a “Star Trek” gamming MMO production sould be allowed to move to a arcade feel? Quest 1 for Klingon: Give me 30 human skins·Humm.?
    Its all about quality, if the MMO is garbage, is a crime to humanity. If the MMO is interesting and add something to the genre, it a good thing. But I don’t see how you can add to the genre AND have “kill 30 humans, and give me his tails” quests.

    Yea, understanding Quality vs Art has this reverse temporal logic thing, and effects and cause order is reverse. Much like Memento.

    So.. is STO good? Thats the question.

  17. Rath says:

    I am absolutely not interested in this game to the point of considering boycott.

    The series of novels (DS9 relaunch, post-Nemesis etc.) that have continued Trek lore already may not be considered official canon, but they have been a hell of a lot more interesting and entertaining than the plot suggested by this game. So much so in fact that about half of STO’s plot is actually a straight lift of some elements of said novels, whereas they’ve just invented other completely different stuff that contradicts that, and I feel it’s a little direspectful to the authors at Pocket Books to blatantly take half of their fantastic stuff and tarr it with a brush of utter dross.

  18. Binni says:

    My sensors are picking up a distinct lack of awe and fun.

    • Howl says:

      I wasn’t expecting much, after Champions Online’s big fail. I think they are very brave showing that ropey space combat. I would have tried to keep a lid on that until… well.. release probably.

  19. Chaz says:

    I’d want a Star Trek MMO to be based around the original series. Sending red shirts to their doom on away missions, green dancing ladies, warming up rocks with your phasers on cold planets, causing god like computers to explode in confusion after explaining to them this thing called “love”. Thats what Star Trek is all about to me. But this all seems a bit too serious and clinical and too focused on combat. I’m not seeing any Tribbles.

    • Dante says:

      Bah, I’ll see your green ladies sir, and raise you bobbly headed Klingons, ending wars with philosophical speeches and using using AI characters to debate the nature of man!

    • Chaz says:

      Ending wars with philosophical speeches, that was Kirk’s raison d’etre.

    • Rath says:

      I can think of at least four separate instances in TOS where Kirk managed to talk an advanced AI to death, either through confusing the living fuck out of it or guilt tripping it into comitting suicide.

  20. kikito says:

    The klingon guy forgot to mention that federation guys only wear pijamas.

  21. Dante says:

    It’s worth mentioning that some interesting stuff has been mentioned in previews, notably storyline style ‘episode’ missions much like those MMOTOR keeps showing off.

    It’s still got a lot of potential I think, the Star Trek license pushes one away from the combat grind MMO model, I just hope it doesn’t dissapoint me like Champions.

    • Synneth says:

      Surely the license would only be pushing away when the plot doesn’t just revolve around making all the factions take part in what seems to be a Star Trek-turned-Battle Royale warfest?

  22. Warth0g says:

    I’ll be really really disappointed if this doesn’t work out – and to be honest I can’t be sure from the videos. I like the look of ship combat, looked pretty good (although too many green lasers..) but the planet exploration looked pretty ropey.

    I’m not a trekkie by any means, but I think it actually suits an MMO better than any other license… I’d really like this game to major on exploration – I want to be amazed and awe-struck when I land on a new planet.. the combat etc should be the glue that binds that together.. they could make that happen if that’s what they wanted to do but somehow, I don’t think it’s going that way… I’m detecting “kill 10 tribbles” quests ahead…

    • DMJ says:

      Surely a “kill tribbles” quest would go something along the lines of:
      “Kill me 1 tribble. No, make that 2 tribbles. Actually, 4 tribbles. That’s 8 tribbles. No, 16 tribbles… 32… 64… 128… HELP!”

  23. bill says:

    @ Alec: when’s the next Risen Report?

  24. Premium User Badge

    Cooper says:

    I’m not sure this is aimed at the ‘hardcore’

    I get the feeling they’re pitching this game at people like me (who I imagine are indicative of most Star Trek semi-fans).I particularly like one series (TNG) thogugh I don’t watch it much now and don’t own DVDs or anything like that. I have interest in and care about the characters and the world, but not enough to care too much about stylistic changes.

    I worry somewhat that, whilst intergalactic war makes a good backdrop for a game, it seems a bit of a cop out.

    What does a space game need?
    Pew Pew.

    Here we have Pew Pew.

    But Star Trek, for me, was never about the Pew Pew.

    Anyone remember the space MMO that never was; SeeD?
    No PvP combat at all. But the beta was full of competition, fighting and all the interesting social stuff that comes with players playing against each other. Just no weapons.

    I was hoping Star Trek might allow for some of that. I want good stories, interesting choices and less focus on combat. Seems like I won;t get it.

    Star Trek was never about comparing Photon Torpedo sizes, I fear that this is what the MMO is descending into.

    • Dante says:

      I’m a DS9 man myself. Now that did have a great big war, but it wasn’t about the space battles, it was about putting the squeaky clean Federation in the midst of a serious conflict and seeing how their principles conflicted.

      Some of the early promises (exploring based gameplay, customisable races) were pure nerd gold, here’s hoping they stick to them.

      Although I suppose I can understand if they choose to put the explosions in the trailers.

    • cliffski says:

      another vote for DS9.
      I wish someone who owned the trek IP would phone me up and discuss doing an official trek version of Gratuitous Space Battles. it would roxxor. Fleets of dominion fighters FTW.

    • ChampionHyena says:

      And again. I wanna fly Defiants and fight the Dominion! I wanna skulk around with Section 31!

    • Dante says:

      Doesn’t every space battle game get modded to include Star Trek/Star Wars ships eventually? Trust in your community Cliffski.

      Hyena, I believe Defiant class ships have been confirmed in STO, I also heard tell once (although sadly can now find no record of it) that DS9 itself would be in game.

      Man it doesn’t take much to get me excited again.

    • FhnuZoag says:

      It seems to me that a DS9 scenario would be much better for STO – players start picking one of the factions, like Federation, Klingon, Dominion, Cardassian, Romulan, then progress up the ranks, eventually joining, if they wish, higher tier organisations like the Obsidian Order or Section 31.

    • Chaz says:

      DS9 the series lost me. One of the main strengths of the Trek series has been that once you know the charaters you can just dip in and out of episodes and not worry if you miss the odd one or two, as each episode was generally its own self contained story. DS9 however, after starting a little bit like that, then decided to run a continuous story. Which left you out of the loop if you missed an episode or two or just dived in part way through a series. Probably the main reason you don’t see as many DS9 episodes repeated on Virgin or Sky, as either TNG or Voyager, is that they don’t lend themselves to non sequential viewing as well.

      However due to all the blam blam, pew pew, in DS9. Its probably the better Star Trek period to base a more action orientated game around. Indeed “DS9: The Fallen” is still probably the best Star Trek game I’ve played. Yep I liked it even better than “Voyager: Elite Force”.

  25. invisiblejesus says:

    After CO, and hearing about Cryptic’s plans to use the same engine for their next few MMOs, I had wondered whether all of those games would have the same cartoony look of CO. Based on this footage, that’s looking like a big affirmative.

  26. Railick says:

    I actually beat 25th Anniversay back in the day, to my own current amazment because I can't beat it now. I'm always amazed at what I could do as a child but can no longer do ( I used to be REALLY good at Romance of the Three Kingoms IV and I never even had a manual and now I can't play it at all)
    I think they would have been better off making the MMO Jumpgate style, having the ships controlled like they are in Starship Commander or Starfleet Academy:Klingon (my favorite star trek game of all time, multiplayer where you had to conquer planets was awesome.)
    Then have the part where you're on the planet either a FPS Game with phasers and adventure quests that are instanced so everyone can enjoy them as part of an away team or have it straight adventure with point and click phaser action when needed alah Startrek 25th and games like that.
    If I have to shoot ANYTHING with a phaser set to kill more than once I'll never play it, to be honest (unless they come up with a good reason , say it's a borg that has become immune to my phaser or something that'd be fine but if it is just some dude with HP and my phaser isn't high enough level I'll be angry , very angry :P A phaser is a phaser, getting hit with a phaser set to kill should turn you to dust regardless)

    Shadowcat “It hammers at my retinas like an evil woodpecker of pure energy”

    • DK says:

      “I think they would have been better off making the MMO Jumpgate style, having the ships controlled like they are in Starship Commander or Starfleet Academy:Klingon (my favorite star trek game of all time, multiplayer where you had to conquer planets was awesome.)”

      From the hands-on previews of the space combat it actually sounds like it plays Stafleet Commandish (although SFC3 sadly) – with individual shield sections, reinforcing, etc.

  27. Matt says:

    …I wouldn’t think that even Klingons are so stupid as to wage a full-scale war IN ADDITION to being in conflict with the Romulans. I guess that’s what happens with faulty leadership!

  28. Cooper says:

    I hated DS9, what I watched of it at least. Having them stuck on a station got boring, and because of that they wrote more (Star trek always did it, but it was very slowly built up and always backgrounded) about the relationships between the crew members.

    It ended up feeling like Dawson’s Creek in space.

  29. Railick says:

    I really liked Star Trek Armada, played a lot of that online :P ( I didn't like the second one as much but it was okay) and Klingon Academy. That Star Trek ground based RTS game they made was HORRIBLE however, one of the worst games I've ever played in my entire life that includes flash games, board games , pen and paper games I made up myself and games my friends say they'd play if someone made them, and games that were cancelled.

  30. Count Valar says:

    Nice video.. I look forward to this.

  31. Railick says:

    Wait, I think I meant Bridge Commander ( the one where you're on the bridge of the ship and have a crew that controls your ship ect) sorry :P I played starfleet command now that I think about it, I did quiet like it as well. Then the game would be a bit more like Eve.

  32. We Fly Spitfires says:

    STO looks pretty sweet although I’m a little concerned about the 1st quarter 2010 release date. I’ll be really surprised if the game is finished, polished and ready to go by then. Plus I can’t say I like it being set 30 years after Nemesis. I wanted to fly about in a space ship with O’Brien!!

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Regarding the release date, Cryptic have the bright idea of making one MMO engine and making their next few games with it, so in theory a lot of the grunt work is already done for them before they even start working on STO. It’s a pretty good idea in theory, the problem is that if Champions Online is any indication it’s just not a very good game engine.

  33. Railick says:

    My favorite was Voyager. I loved the characters, I loved the ship itself and the enemies they had to face. I love the Borg and they had plenty of contact with them : ) I love beautiful women and the ship was full of those. I love crazy aliens and they had tons of those, everything I like in Star Trek that series had. (Even crazy time travel episodes and some "holodeck gone F@#$@# Crazy episodes)

  34. WarSarge says:

    I miss trekmuse. It’ll be better then this. :(

  35. Bronte says:

    I don’t know Alec,

    Is it the pressure to release STO as soon as possible? Or is it because a really cool concept (CO) is beginning to falter just shy of 2 months into the release? I wonder if we will get a similar situation where there will be frequent and game-breaking changes a day INTO launch because the development was rushed. Let’s hope they have learned from their past mistakes.

    That being said, I have a few blog posts up about CO as well. I am providing direct links below and I would love your thoughts on the subject matter.

    POST 1: link to arewenewatthis.wordpress.com

    POST 2: link to arewenewatthis.wordpress.com

    POST 3: link to arewenewatthis.wordpress.com

    POST 4: link to arewenewatthis.wordpress.com

    ——

    Finally, when are we getting The Risen Report # 5?

  36. MultiVaC says:

    My favorite Star Trek is still TNG. But that’s probably because I grew up playing with action figures of Picard, Worf, Geordi, and Data. I loved that show.

    Oh, and +1 for the next Risen Report! I bought the game after the second one, and I’ve almost beaten it. Really glad I bought it, though, great game.

  37. FFN says:

    One of the things that has impressed me most about this game is Cryptic’s attention to detail in telling the backstory leading up to the game. It’s quite impressive how they managed to capture the political intrigue and character nuances that Deep Space Nine, particularly in its later seasons, was known for.

    As for Pocket Books – who CARES? They’re licensed fiction that aren’t canon. The game isn’t canon either, but they can do whatever they like with other licensed fiction, since the authors and publishers (as far as I know) don’t own or have any rights to any of it.