At midnight this morning, Cryptic Studios finally unveiled that their next project was going to be the resurrected Star Trek Online MMORPG. If you’ve been paying attention at all to the buzz in the last few months this news really did not come as much of a shock, but it was really nice to see it finally made official and see some actual renderings from the game. The forums there are already buzzing with activity, and despite the fact that the game is not even in Alpha yet there are already folks on their forums recruiting for alliances.
I, for one, am even more excited about the fact that Cryptic is going to be at Gen Con in a few weeks. Champions? Yeah, yeah. That’s nice. Show me more about Star Trek Online, please!
One of the things I noted with interest is that the STO site states you’ll be the captain of either a Federation or Klingon ship. While I personally would have liked to seen the choices a bit more varied, I can understand that in order to get the game out in a reasonable time frame they are limiting the initial choices that players can make. They are also leaving plenty of room for expansions or new “seasons” in which they could expand your choices, which is fine with me. The question that arises, though, is whether or not it will be a Federation vs. Klingon arrangement or if the two sides are working together.
If you take a close look at one of the background images, the answer is pretty clear. One of them clearly shows a Klingon captain on a Bird of prey commanding a crew that includes several different races in Federation uniforms. The question is – How does this fit into Star Trek canon?
For one, the precedent has already been set. In the Next Generation season two episode “A Matter of Honor” Commander Riker takes part in an “officer exchange program” to serve as First Officer abord the IKS Pagh. I suspect that Cryptic is going to expand upon that program and move it forward to a post-Deep Space 9 setting (mainly due to the fact that there is also a Cardassian serving on the bridge in the background image I’m referring to). I think this is truly the best route to go. While it would be cool to play during some of the major events that we’ve seen take place in the series and movies, it would be difficult for them to create new stories during those times. Setting it after everything we’ve seen so far gives them an incredible wealth of background to work with and doesn’t prevent them from shaking things up in an entirely new direction. This is especially true when you consider the fact that the movies are moving into prequel territory with the next installment in the franchise set during Kirk and Spock’s early days at Starfleet Academy.
Something else notable about that “you will be the captain” announcement is that everyone is going to have their own ship. While I suppose this makes sense, I hope that they manage to work some kind of cooperative starship operation into the game (and, more importantly, that not everyone gets to run around in a Galaxy class starship).
In any case, I’m pretty jazzed about the prospects of this game. Time will tell, of course.