Each faction within the Star Trek universe has a wealth of ships and units at its command. How many different ships will each species have, and will many of them be playable?
There are six playable and three unlockable races. Each race has three ships: a Scout, a Cruiser and a Dreadnought class.
The Breen are still a mysterious race in the Star Trek canon. Did your team have to develop a lot of their background and technology for the game?
We did have to flesh out each of the races for gameplay purposes, but we don’t really delve into the history of the Breen - we delve more into their war machine. What you really need to know about the Breen for Conquest is how to best play as them or against them.
From what I’ve read, Conquest’s gameplay sounds a bit like Star Fox Command on the DS—pre-battle strategy followed by action oriented combat. Is that an appropriate comparison?
Not really, a better comparison would be to Axis and Allies or the classic Archon. It’s got a light, but engaging conquer the galaxy/build your empire element followed by a full-on space battle fest. The bigger your empire, the bigger your fleets, the more territory you conquer, the bigger your empire and so on…
How will the strategy portion work? Will a good strategy be the difference between victory and defeat? Could you give us some details on how the player will plan battles and coordinate attacks?
Actually the strategy starts even before the game begins. The first major decision is which race to play. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and their starting location will also provide a unique set of problems/advantages. The next major decision is who will be your starting Admiral. Each race has a different set of Admirals and you get to pick which one you’ll start your first fleet with.
As for planning an attack, I’ll share one of my favorite stories.
As the Federation, I built a small, but fast shock-attack fleet with lots of Scouts and a few Cruisers. They were designed to go in first, take heavy casualties and retreat before annihilation. I then built a Heavy Invasion Fleet, led by an experienced Movement Admiral and stocked him with the most powerful ships I could afford - four Dreadnaughts, two Cruisers and some Scouts for fodder.
I launched a surprise attack on the Breen, and after a few well played battles, I was ahead of schedule. I had conquered two systems, wiped out one of their fleets and cut off another. Much better results than I expected.
But before I could deliver the killing blow with my Heavy Invasion Fleet, Earth was invaded and taken by the Cardassians. The problem was I sacrificed Earth’s defenses to pour more resources into my invasion fleet. I gambled and lost.
Then things got really strange. Before I could react, the Klingons also invaded Earth. They were able to wipe out the Cardassian fleet and claim Earth for themselves.
Luckily, I chose my experienced Movement Admiral to head my Invasion Fleet. I just didn’t plan on them invading my Home World. In one turn, I was able to move them halfway across the map to launch an all-or-nothing bid to retake Earth. The battle wound down to each side having just one heavily damaged Dreadnaught. After about 5 minutes of intense maneuvering, I finally was able to take him out with my own ship at only 5% hull left. I had to go outside and take a break after that one.
Following on the last question, will the player be able to command a team of ships in battle, like in Legacy?
Each Admiral can command a fleet of up to 7 Starships and issue standing orders and formations. You can also take direct command of any ship at any time.
How does the real time combat work? Is it more arcade style, or can the player perform more complex actions? Will missions be primarily action oriented, or will they include objectives and goals?
In arcade combat, the player has full control over his ship and can issue formation orders to the rest of his fleet. It definitely has an action bend to it, but keeps a healthy dose of the tactical ship combat elements you expect in Star Trek, such as shield facings and weapon loadouts.
You can set your own objectives such as destruction of a key enemy installation, annihilation of an Admiral and his fleet, or defense of your Home World.
Conquest is being released simultaneously for the PS2 and Wii. Does the Wii version have any enhancements in terms of graphics or controls? Does the Wii port take advantage of the Wii remote in any unique ways?
The Wii version utilizes the additional power of the Wii. The game runs at 60 FPS on the Wii and has larger textures with a greater color depth than the PS2.
Control-wise, the game feels very slick on the Wii, with the Wii Remote being the perfect point-and-click device for the strategic map gameplay.
We'd like to thank Frank for taking the time to answer our questions and to Erin for helping to coordinate the interview.
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