Star Trek: Legacy Interview

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posted 2/24/2006 by The GN Staff
other articles by The GN Staff

When Enterprise went off the air last year it left a huge hole in the sci-fi universe.  For the first time since the late Eighties there were no Star Trek shows or movies on the horizon.  All of that changed a few weeks ago when Bethesda Software announced that they were working on two new Star Trek games. We were able to score an interview with the creative director of Star Trek: Legacy, the strategy game that is slated to be released on the Xbox 360 and the PC later this year.

GamingNexus: Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project?  How long have you been in the industry and how did you get into gaming in the first place?

Greetings.  Ian Davis here, a.k.a.,“The Mad Doctor,” Creative Director on Star Trek®: Legacy at Mad Doc® Software. I’ve been working with the Project Director, Producer, and our entire team of talented game developers overseeing everything from the vision of the game, to core design, and gameplay.  I’ve loved and played games all my life, and at some point I decided, “Hey, I should get paid for this!”  Got my Ph.D. in AI and then went straight into the game industry.  I’ve been making games professionally for 11 years now and this is my third Star Trek title!,


GamingNexus: Were you a big fan of the series before you started working on the game?  With the Star Trek franchise in stasis (no current television or movies planned), do you feel any additional pressure to deliver the game? Do you think there is any additional scrutiny from outside the gaming press?

Ian Davis: Huge fan of the series, always have been, always will be.  Anytime you make a game, there’s intense pressure to deliver, intense scrutiny.  It’s the nature of the beast.  So, do we feel additional pressure to deliver from press?  I’d say this: we understand the Star Trek audience; we know how invested they are.  We know how long they’ve waited, and how badly they want this.  And we’re hellbent on doing our best to deliver an amazing gaming experience for them.  We know that for most of the fans this will be their biggest Star Trek fix in years, and at Mad Doc, we take our fans seriously.


GamingNexus: The official statement said that Legacy will span all of the Trek series, including the prequel Enterprise.  Will we see material from the cancelled seasons of Enterprise, such as the Romulan War, the Klingon conflict and temporal cold war?

Ian Davis: In Legacy, you’ll see familiar faces like the Romulans, Klingons, and the Borg – sorry, can’t give you details yet on specific conflicts, etc.!


GamingNexus: How will RTS combat be used in the Voyager levels?  Voyager was stranded in the delta quadrant, and there weren't any major battles because there was only one Federation ship in that series.  Will the Voyager levels focus on the Borg, like in Elite Force or will you include other races from the delta quadrant (such as species 8472)?

Ian Davis:  Legacy really is not an RTS game.  I like to think of it more along the lines of “a sexy squad shooter in space.”  It’s quite tactical in that you often need to coordinate multiple ships, but it’s far more focused on the action of these intense naval battles in space.  Missions in Legacy will include elements from all the series, but will not necessarily take place in all the same settings they were focused in.



GamingNexus: Will the game have a story that chronicles galactic history?  If it takes place across all the series and movies, it would be intriguing to see the changing face of the Federation, Vulcans, Klingons and the like.

Ian Davis:
In Legacy, players will see the history of the series from the beginning, and move through its evolution.  The game spans the entire Star Trek Universe, bound by a strong     story.  In the Single Player Campaign, you’ll see each of the major races over all the timeline, and in the SP and MP Tug-of-War skirmish campaigns, you’ll even be able to play as each of the four major races over the whole timeline!


GamingNexus: Will players be able to take command of famous ships like the Enterprise and Defiant, or will the "official" crews and ships only make cameos, like in Bridge Commander?  Will you being using any of the voice talents from any of the original actors?

Ian Davis: The Legacy storyline will bring players in contact with many famous ships from the series – but remember, you’ll be quite busy with space battles at the time!  We’re working on the talent now.  Like so many of you, we know how exciting this would be.  We’ll see how the details and schedules work out.  All of the major ships will be there and each will be an important part of the battles.


GamingNexus: Will any new, game-specific species/ships be introduced in Legacy?  What kind of creative freedom do you have with the game?

Ian Davis: Yes, we’re introducing new ships in Legacy!  Although we’re being careful to make sure all of the key ships from Trek canon are included in the game, we’re fleshing out each race’s fleet with some new designs.  Mad Doc’s team has lots of experience with new Trek ship design (like our Borg Fusion Cube).  We’re given a fair amount of creative freedom with the game; rest assured that you will be impressed with the ships you see!


GamingNexus: Are there any differences between the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game? 

Ian Davis: PC & Xbox 360 are clearly different platforms, but I think both will find a game tuned to their tastes in terms of pacing, amount of fine-management, and UI.  We’re fans of both platforms and have enough experience with both to know that the final product may tell the same story and give the same overall experience, but it will be tuned correctly for each platform.


GamingNexus: Can you talk about the different multiplayer modes available?  How many players will be allowed to fight at any one time?

Ian Davis: In Legacy, the single player will focus solely on the Federation, with multiplayer enabling you to command the Romulan, Klingon, and Borg war machines as well.  Full details on the races aren’t available yet, but these fleets will be comprehensive, allowing players to really assess the strengths and weaknesses of each race – and develop new tactics accordingly.  And it’ll be fun to see each of those races in eras you might not have seen a lot of them in before.  We’re still finalizing player numbers and modes.


GamingNexus: RTS games are usually hard to control on a console, how have you handled the controls for the Xbox 360 version?  Was there any thought of allowing users to control the 360 version through a keyboard and mouse setup?

Ian Davis: Again, Legacy is not an RTS, it’s more of a squad shooter. That said, only the most intuitive controls are mapped to the controller; it is surprisingly natural to conduct space battles and control these ships.


GamingNexus: Will the HUD’s vary by which generation of the franchise you are using or will it be one consistent interface?

Ian Davis: The mechanics and usability of the HUD will always be the same, making it easy to control no matter who/when you’re controlling.

We’d like to thank Ian for taking the time to answer our questions and to Erin and Pete for helping to coordinate the interview.