Beam Me Up, Scotty

Beam Me Up, Scotty
Elite Force: The Essence of Trek

Russ Pitts | 1 Sep 2009 12:03
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The "right direction" for Raven involved taking the new (at the time) incarnation of the Trek franchise, Star Trek Voyager, and putting the player in the uniform of a member of Voyager's "Hazard Team," Ensign Munro, whose job it is to leave the ship wearing a "red shirt" on all of those "away missions" where things typically go horribly awry, often ending in phaser fire, confusion and death. The player's job: Keep the red shirt alive.


"In the context of the game you needed enemies to fight," says Pelletier. So Raven created the "Stasis Aliens," giving the player the opportunity to not only fight against a new alien race, but to actually discover them as well. "The first contacts that Kirk or Picard would make were always great moments, and we wanted the player to experience that."

"We knew we couldn't just do an old-school shooter," says Gummelt. "We knew there needed to be much more in the way of scripting, dialogue and NPC interaction than we had ever done before in a game. Luckily, Half-Life had just come out and shown the way in terms of depth in that area and its success, I feel, gave us the model and the license to really push that as far as we did."

Pushing, according to Pelletier, meant making it possible for the player to communicate with the other characters: "Instead of the player being the lone gunman out on missions, we created a whole team of characters to interact with during the missions. They all had their own personalities which created some fun dynamics for the player to experience and interact with.

"It was important to me that each member of the Hazard Team had distinct personalities," says Gummelt, "and filled a role both on the team functionally and in the story as representing a philosophy or personality that would interact in an interesting way, letting the player be the 'Kirk' - the one that listened to everyone else's opinions and then acted."

"We wanted to jam so many different ideas together," says Dorscheid. "We wanted to be faithful to each character and give each one a prominent role - Captain Janeway, Tuvok, Seven of Nine, the Doctor. We also wanted to get as many of the adversaries into the story line as possible - Klingons, Romulans, the Borg - plus add a few of our own, like the Stasis creatures."

In addition to the usual problems facing creators of a licensed game (remaining truthful to the canon and premise, creating a compelling experience based in a rigid world, etc.) Raven, with Elite Force, was working with a relatively new iteration of the existing franchise, one with which audiences were far less familiar.

"Voyager and its universe aren't as widely known as Next Generation or the Classic series," says Pelletier. "I felt we needed to ... reach a broad spectrum of Star Trek fans. Klingons were not a part of the Voyager show, yet they are such a staple of Star Trek aliens. We found a way to put Klingons in the Voyager Universe. We also found a way to put a Classic series Star Trek ship in the game. It was so important to give the player all the bits of Star Trek they know and love all wrapped up in one game.

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