|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Dev: Digital Extremes|
|Pub: NAMCO Bandai|
|Release: Q1 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Wirtanen
Back in April, we were treated to a screening of about ten minutes of fully 3D, asymmetrical co-op gameplay from the upcoming Star Trek game before sitting in on a closed-doors meeting with some of the developers. We wrote up a brief preview back then (and you can read that here), but the team wasn't all that forthcoming with us, holding back a lot of the juicier information and answering far too many of our questions with, "You'll see at E3."
Well, E3 has come and gone, and during the expo we got to see the curtain pulled back a little farther. Here's what we learned.
First of all, our biggest question (one with the answer hiding in an envelope stamped "Top Secret" by the J.J. Abrams Spoiler Police, no doubt) was who exactly we should expect to turn our phasers on in the game. You see, all of the gameplay footage we saw involved generic placeholder enemies rather than the real thing, and the trailer that released that month cleverly avoided showing any enemies at all.
But at E3, that enemy was finally revealed: the Gorn. Yes, the Star Trek game (and presumably next year's film as well) will feature the lizard people of the classic Star Trek episodes from long ago. Of course, with advances in technology come upgraded designs—there's no need for silly rubber costumes here—and the Gorn look far more menacing than you probably remember.
We were also told to expect various types of Gorn. The first one we saw in the demo was slow moving and lumbering, but soon Spock and Kirk were getting flanked by a much more limber variety.
Another tidbit the developers didn't want to talk about much during NAMCO Bandai's Global Gamers Day back in April was the voice actors. Again, the voices we heard in the April gameplay demo were placeholders. We assumed the actors from the J.J. Abrams films would be returning to voice their respective characters, as it would feel weird to see CGI characters modeled after the movie actors talking with other people's voices. However, the people we talked to from both Digital Extremes and Paramount wouldn't commit to a solid verifiable response as to whether or not this was the case. According to the rep who was narrating the demo we saw at E3, though, our initial assumptions were correct: The movie actors will be reprising their roles in this new game.
The final mystery that was cracked during the E3 demo was concerning the game's timeline. We were initially told that the game's story would be set sometime after the 2009 film, but whether that meant it would take place in between the films, during the second film, or after the events of both films was intentionally left unclear. Well, we finally have the answer: The game takes place in between the two films. That means the game's early 2013 launch date should give us enough time to see all the events leading up to the second J.J. Abrams film before it releases that summer.
One really cool feature that we didn't see back in April was that Spock could use his tricorder to scan the enemies and reveal their weak points. One of the Gorn we saw in the E3 demo was weak in his lower torso, and after being scanned that area glowed red on not only the screen of the player who scanned it, but on the other player's screen as well. This is just more evidence that this game was designed from the ground up with co-op in mind rather than shoehorning a second player into what would otherwise be a purely solo experience.
Now, we still haven't actually gotten the thing in our hands yet, but we've seen enough gameplay footage at this point that we're fairly optimistic about it. The combat looks solid, featuring a third-person perspective that shifts to over-the-shoulder for aiming, as well as the type of cover we've come to expect from third-person games. The Gorn are certainly an interesting enemy choice; it's going to be great to see Kirk reigniting his longstanding rivalry with them once again.
Of course, we can't be totally sure until the game is actually in our hands. That's expected to happen in the first quarter of 2013. Stay tuned for our full review then.
Editor / News Director
Date: June 11, 2012