Sean Dugan, the Lead Content Designer for Stargate Worlds, penned a new journal that looks at the period in which Stargate Worlds is set. There has been a movie, a couple TV shows and all sorts of debate on how the game would fit into the established canon. In this journal, we find out exactly where the MMO takes off from.
“Whose Stargate Is It?”
Article by Sean Dugan (Lead Content Designer)
When I say “Stargate,” what do you think of?
Probably one of the first images you’ll conjure up is some olive drab military types facing some bad guys who look like they raided the wardrobe department from Ben Hur.
But this military man you’re picturing – does he have more of a Kurt Russell or Richard Dean Anderson look about him? Is he toting around an MP5 or a P90? Is this RDA with a buzz cut or longer hair? How much salt and pepper do you see? Or are you picturing somebody else altogether – maybe Ben Browder?
That’s the thing about Stargate – it’s such a big franchise it literally can’t fit just one galaxy. And with something that big, everyone you ask probably has a different idea about what this “Stargate” thing actually is. Some love the action. Others love the humor. The adventures on alien worlds. The personal dramas. The spaceships, aliens and ray-guns. The current pop culture references.
When you have a mythology that spans a blockbuster movie, two TV series with another on the way and more than a 10 years worth of stories, it’s a moving target to identify what exactly Stargate is.
But it’s a particularly important question when you’re creating a story and content for the Stargate game.
So how do you craft a Stargate Worlds story? First, you ask what elements you need.
Okay, you need the Stargate. But who is going through it? Military types. Check! Bookish academics. Absolutely!
But – who are our heroes fighting?
For the early days of the SG-1 television series, humanity is battling the Goa’uld with their Egyptian imagery. But the show rapidly started evolving – embracing other cultures mythologies such as Chinese, Mesoamerican, Celtic and Indian and the exploration of aliens on a host of different worlds. Topics such as Ascension rise to prominence. Foes and friends such as the Replicators and Asgard emerge and then the Ori and Priors and Pegasus and the Wraith and Asurans.
When we sat down to write our story and plan our content for Stargate Worlds, this was a question on our minds. Do we set it at the end of the movie? The beginning of the TV series? Some time during the run of SG-1? After the discovery of Atlantis and the Pegasus Galaxy? After the departure of RDA? After the end of SG-1? Probably every idea you can imagine – and some you probably can’t – we’ve examined, explored, fought over and wrestled with.
Each choice has its own appeal and limitations. Start early in the series and you are limited by show canon. Create an alternate reality and you undermine the feeling that people are in the ‘real’ Stargate universe.
Eventually, we realized we needed to find a space for players where they could interact with their beloved show characters but not to feel overshadowed by them. Where players can credibly move from planet to planet through the universe without being totally hampered by the awesome might of the enemies they are facing. Where they can access cool off-world high technology without losing the grounding in modern day military science.
Stargate is fundamentally about people – people we can relate to and understand. People who are facing awesome threats and dangers well beyond their understanding. People who fight against overwhelming odds for the right reasons. That was the Stargate we wanted to deliver. To do that, we found a sweet spot in the canon of the series – between seasons 8 and 9 in timeline of SG-1. After the destruction of the Replicators but before the emergence of the Ori threat when Atlantis and the Pegasus galaxy exist but are unavailable.
But this is Stargate with the rich history of an entire universe. While the bulk of our stories occur at a certain point, there are events which happened millions of years ago that have direct relevance to the actions of today. Outside of our main story setting, players will get to experience key events from different points in the Stargate universe from thousands of years in the past up through the early seasons of SG-1. With Stargate, the past, present and future all come together in an action-packed and fun universe that we hope appeals to hardcore and casual fans, as well as people who have never heard the word “Stargate” before.
So after settling the prickly question of how you write a Stargate story, we call tackle a much more pressing inquiry – which Sam Carter hairstyle is best?