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Whatever happened to Star Trek licensed games?

Stargazer

Well-known member
Does anyone miss the days of original Star Trek video games? Particularly on PC. Star Wars often gets held up for its golden age of licensed games in the 90s and 00s, but I feel like Star Trek was right there with it. There was never a shortage of new Star Trek games to play, in a variety of genres. Unlike Star Wars, there was never a proprietary studio guiding the development of Star Trek games. Interplay held the license in the 90s, while Activision took over in 00s. And there were some mixed results, but overall I think they both did a good job. There was actual effort to make decent games, freedom to explore original stories.

Some of my favorites were space sims like Starfleet Academy and Bridge Commander, the real time strategy series Armada, and Starfleet Command, the adaptation of the iconic pen and paper game Starfleet Battles. The games weren't canon, but games like Starfleet Academy and Bridge Commander really did a good job of feeling like part of the Star Trek universe.

Then the 10s came and Star Trek games just kind of died. Activision lost the license (but held on to the distribution rights, meaning games from that period have frustratingly never made it to digital distribution). Star Trek Online exists, but I've never been into MMOs so I never bothered. There was the game just titled "Star Trek", a third person shooter set in the Kelvin timeline, but that seemed to crash and burn at launch due to being buggy, derivative, and a sense of... Kelvin timeline? Who cares? I didn't. And there was Bridge Crew, which may have been decent but relied on VR, and again seemed like more of a multiplayer experience than a single player adventure.

(There's also been a bunch of mobile garbage... The less said about that the better).

So, like Star Wars, Star Trek has faced a drought of decent original games in the 10s. I think some of it has to do with the PC market drying up for anything other than strategy games and MMOs. Most Star Trek games were just developed for PC, and weren't big budget affairs. But now, if you're making a game, you have to go big, and release across all platforms. Star Trek's old model doesn't really work, and maybe the license holders don't see the license as popular enough to sustain big budget AAA games.

Meanwhile, there's been thriving mod communities for strategy games like Sins of a Solar Empire and Stellaris. Makes you wonder how much money Paramount is leaving on the table... But then, maybe whatever they make wouldn't even be as good as what modders put out for free.

Anyone have favorite Star Trek games from back in the day?
 

Captain X

Well-known member
Osaul
Starfleet Command and Elite Force were probably my favorite of the games I've played so far. After playing Mass Effect, though, it made me wish the team that had made that game had made a Star Trek game before EA took them over.
 

Battlegrinder

Someday we will win, no matter what it takes.
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Obozny
I think the big issue ST had is a lot of their games just...weren't that good. I still play games from that era, or even earlier, because they're really, really good (or my nostalgia googles are really, really thick. Not sure which). ST games tended to be...fine, mostly. Which is ok if the goal is to earn a decent return on release, but maybe not so fine if you want people to be loyally playing, installing, and modding it 20 years later.

I'd also not that certain genres, particularly FPS or space combat, have IMO certain issues when it comes to star trek, an issue they share with Aliens, of all things. The primary weapons of the protagonist faction were never intended to be fired constantly for hours nor in large numbers, and sound incredibly grating very quickly. I think everyone who plays the ST Armada III mod very quickly learns how to zoom the camera out to the precise distance required to still see and manage your fleet without actually hearing the fleet.
 

Val the Moofia Boss

Well-known member
Does anyone miss the days of original Star Trek video games?

No. As @Battlegrinder said, most were bad or didn't get across the feel 'Trek. The only remotely good Star Trek game anybody remembers in STO, and even then it looked and felt terrible when it came out in 2010.

Star Trek games have two problems:
  1. The Star Trek IP was pretty much dead by the time licensed games started getting good. TNG ended in 1994 and Voyager started the year after, coinciding with the decline of the franchise's popularity. Trek fans revere DS9 today, but at the time it was screwed by the network in favor of Voyager, which nobody liked. None of the TNG movies lived up to the TOS films. Nemesis killed the franchise, resulting in Enterprise being cancelled during its 3rd season (they were told ahead of time that season 4 would be the last season, hence why S4's episodes went nuts). CBS didn't give a damn about Star Trek until the reboot trend started becoming popular, and the baby boomers who grew up with Star Trek were starting to die off so they had to act now in order to milk them. Baby boomers don't play video games so games were really made.
  2. Sturgeon's law is in full effect. Star Wars has hundreds of games but only a handful are really worth talking about (Tie Fighter, Rogue Squadron, Pod Racer, Lego Star Wars, the original Battlefront 2), and maybe a few others like the Kyle Katarn games. Star Trek never had that many games. The one and only somewhat decent 'Trek game is STO.
  3. One of the core problems with adapting Star Trek into a video game is that the gaming industry likes to stick to the template of just making a game about blowing stuff up. While some people would like to blow stuff up in the Trek setting, Trek fans want more variety than that. Again, STO is pretty much the only STO game that sorta scratches that itch (and even then you have to accept the fact that the vast majority of STO gameplay is blowing stuff up).
Given the current state of the entertainment industry, we will pretty much never get a good licensed Star Trek game. The Western AAA gaming industry is more stagnant than ever, and the creative teams and writers CBS assigns to the project won't be interested in trying to convey the spirit of Roddenberry or Berman era Trek that fans love.
 

The Original Sixth

Well-known member
Founder
No. As @Battlegrinder said, most were bad or didn't get across the feel 'Trek. The only remotely good Star Trek game anybody remembers in STO, and even then it looked and felt terrible when it came out in 2010.

Star Trek games have two problems:
  1. The Star Trek IP was pretty much dead by the time licensed games started getting good. TNG ended in 1994 and Voyager started the year after, coinciding with the decline of the franchise's popularity. Trek fans revere DS9 today, but at the time it was screwed by the network in favor of Voyager, which nobody liked. None of the TNG movies lived up to the TOS films. Nemesis killed the franchise, resulting in Enterprise being cancelled during its 3rd season (they were told ahead of time that season 4 would be the last season, hence why S4's episodes went nuts). CBS didn't give a damn about Star Trek until the reboot trend started becoming popular, and the baby boomers who grew up with Star Trek were starting to die off so they had to act now in order to milk them. Baby boomers don't play video games so games were really made.
  2. Sturgeon's law is in full effect. Star Wars has hundreds of games but only a handful are really worth talking about (Tie Fighter, Rogue Squadron, Pod Racer, Lego Star Wars, the original Battlefront 2), and maybe a few others like the Kyle Katarn games. Star Trek never had that many games. The one and only somewhat decent 'Trek game is STO.
  3. One of the core problems with adapting Star Trek into a video game is that the gaming industry likes to stick to the template of just making a game about blowing stuff up. While some people would like to blow stuff up in the Trek setting, Trek fans want more variety than that. Again, STO is pretty much the only STO game that sorta scratches that itch (and even then you have to accept the fact that the vast majority of STO gameplay is blowing stuff up).
Given the current state of the entertainment industry, we will pretty much never get a good licensed Star Trek game. The Western AAA gaming industry is more stagnant than ever, and the creative teams and writers CBS assigns to the project won't be interested in trying to convey the spirit of Roddenberry or Berman era Trek that fans love.

Pretty much this.

The problem comes down primarily to #3 though. Star Trek's problem is that it needed a Mass Effect sort of game; a story that revolves around the player and allows them to interact with the major races (ie, politics), an interesting crew, and making major decisions that affect the world around them. As well as areas to explore. People want to have the Star Trek experience.

The problem is what you get. I've not played an extensive amount of Star Trek games (because they mostly suck), but I have noticed a few trends.

1) Hero Worship -- I swear a single Star Trek game can't be made unless they try and throw a part to an actor whose been on the show. Almost every major title has had members of the main caste of any of the series in the game. I get that people might find it cool to meet Captain Picard or Data, but when it happens in almost every game--it goes from being cool to dull to annoying.

2) 2-Bit Player -- The player is often put in the position of not the hero, but a 2-bit player. Part of the problem is the nature of the show; it focuses on Starfleet. So unless you're a commander or a captain, you aren't really supposed to be the star of the show. So you get a lot of third string characters, like some security officer on Voyager that no one has heard of. Instead of immersing you in the world, you feel insiginificant.

3) Pew-Pew -- Instead of accepting that Star Trek fans are not really interested in blowing shit up, pretty much every Star Trek game focuses on space ship combat or intense phaser fights. STO is probably the worst, with obvious silly game mechanics as you fly around in your little ship and desperately try to pretend it's a much better game from 20 years ago. The ground combat is reality breaking; there is no ST style to the combat. Phaser rifles are basically no better than normal guns, but with red-orange pulses instead of bullets. If these battles were even halfway realistic, most players would have turned most of the little sandboxes into a smoldering hellscape.

4) I Can't Believe It's Not Halo -- Pretty much any FPS Star Trek game in the past 10-15 years. If I want to play Halo--or Mass Effect, I'll play those games.


The solution to Star Trek's problem of bad video games is they need a story-driven story similar in concept to Mass Effect. If Paramount wants a good Star Trek game, they need to more or less crib Shepard's introduction into the story and move it towards a sandbox game, with a large overarching story. Allow players the chance to play true to Starfleet's values or essentially go rogue. Allow them multiple ways to solve problems and address challenges. And for God's sake, do an original story. Not "Borg INVAS!0N" or "DS9, but on Adderall".
 

Battlegrinder

Someday we will win, no matter what it takes.
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Obozny
(Tie Fighter, Rogue Squadron, Pod Racer, Lego Star Wars, the original Battlefront 2), and maybe a few others like the Kyle Katarn games.

You forget Empire at War.

One of the core problems with adapting Star Trek into a video game is that the gaming industry likes to stick to the template of just making a game about blowing stuff up. While some people would like to blow stuff up in the Trek setting, Trek fans want more variety than that. Again, STO is pretty much the only STO game that sorta scratches that itch (and even then you have to accept the fact that the vast majority of STO gameplay is blowing stuff up).

ST would actually work really well as an adventure game. But like, the CSI mystery solving adventure game type, not the "rub every object you have on every other object you have to solve absurdly contrived problem" style game.

The problem is that sort of game is really hard to make for a licensed work, because the suits will almost certainly insist on doing it as a tie to whatever the current show is, which means really expensive, really limited VAs (there's a reason the CSI games had you work with one cast member per case, they couldn't afford to have the whole cast involved in everything), and you're not going to be allowed to do anything big.

Also, the only studio that could pull it off was telltale, who went under. And also all of telltale's games sucked so that wouldn't really solve the core problem of ST games being mediocre at best.
 

The Original Sixth

Well-known member
Founder
You forget Empire at War.



ST would actually work really well as an adventure game. But like, the CSI mystery solving adventure game type, not the "rub every object you have on every other object you have to solve absurdly contrived problem" style game.

The problem is that sort of game is really hard to make for a licensed work, because the suits will almost certainly insist on doing it as a tie to whatever the current show is, which means really expensive, really limited VAs (there's a reason the CSI games had you work with one cast member per case, they couldn't afford to have the whole cast involved in everything), and you're not going to be allowed to do anything big.

Also, the only studio that could pull it off was telltale, who went under. And also all of telltale's games sucked so that wouldn't really solve the core problem of ST games being mediocre at best.

And that highlights a more recent problem with Star Trek. It's basically going to be an ideological warzone. If one were to be made, the suits would want it to tie into Star Trek Picard (or...STD...*shudder*)...which is NOT going to be popular with the fanbase, but instead with political activists and writers in Hollywood. You can be sure that Star Trek will probably suck for the next 10 years.

We're basically in the Dragonball GT of Star Trek, but with Liberal writers shitting their ideology onto every script. You're literally better off just starting your own sci-fi show and capturing the magic that the original ST did.
 

Battlegrinder

Someday we will win, no matter what it takes.
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Obozny
1) Hero Worship -- I swear a single Star Trek game can't be made unless they try and throw a part to an actor whose been on the show. Almost every major title has had members of the main caste of any of the series in the game. I get that people might find it cool to meet Captain Picard or Data, but when it happens in almost every game--it goes from being cool to dull to annoying.

I suspect this some kind of dumb brand management thing where it has to interact with the main cast in order to remind everyone it's star trek. Same reason every single ST book series I own that isn't about one of the ships from the show starts off with a ship from the show interacting with the new cast.

2) 2-Bit Player -- The player is often put in the position of not the hero, but a 2-bit player. Part of the problem is the nature of the show; it focuses on Starfleet. So unless you're a commander or a captain, you aren't really supposed to be the star of the show. So you get a lot of third string characters, like some security officer on Voyager that no one has heard of. Instead of immersing you in the world, you feel insiginificant.

And the bit player one has it's own issue, because it undermines the feeling of being one universe. Bit player or not, the PC of the game generally does stuff that would at least merit a mention on the main show.

Elite Force is really, really, bad about this, since the game is about a badass commando team operating aboard Voyager, a show that frequently had plots where a badass commando team would be really useful.

Whereas for something like SW...well, at least Rogue Squadron shows up in the films.

3) Pew-Pew -- Instead of accepting that Star Trek fans are not really interested in blowing shit up, pretty much every Star Trek game focuses on space ship combat or intense phaser fights. STO is probably the worst, with obvious silly game mechanics as you fly around in your little ship and desperately try to pretend it's a much better game from 20 years ago. The ground combat is reality breaking; there is no ST style to the combat. Phaser rifles are basically no better than normal guns, but with red-orange pulses instead of bullets. If these battles were even halfway realistic, most players would have turned most of the little sandboxes into a smoldering hellscape.

Ok, now this I halfway agree with and halfway don't.

STO space combat is pretty rough, particularly late game where any halfway effective build will turn the ship into a giant ugly mess of status buffs.

But on the ground....you have seen the show, right? "no better than normal guns, but with red-orange pulses instead of bullets" is a fairly decent summary of basically every firefight in the series.

4) I Can't Believe It's Not Halo -- Pretty much any FPS Star Trek game in the past 10-15 years. If I want to play Halo--or Mass Effect, I'll play those games.

That's really just any FPS ever in the last 10 to 15 years that's not a modern military shooter. Elite Force was kinda weird for straying as far as it did from the stock halo rip off formula.
 

Val the Moofia Boss

Well-known member
You forget Empire at War.

I think I may have played that one? I played a demo for a Star Wars RTS game, playing as the Imperials during the GCW. I remember trying to call in or build AT-ATs. I was unimpressed with the gameplay and uninstalled it and went back to playing Battle for Middle Earth 2 (which was mediocre in hindsight) and Supreme Commander.

STO space combat is pretty rough, particularly late game where any halfway effective build will turn the ship into a giant ugly mess of status buffs.

Yeah, early STO space combat is kinda fun, when you didn't have to manage your billion hotbar abilities of bridge commander, bridge console, consumable abilities, and just concentrated on the actual space combat. Rotating your ship to line up your ship's firing arcs and trying to get an angle on the side of the enemy's ship where the shields are the weakest, rotating your ship so that the enemy is facing towards your strongest shields, trying to avoid flying into explosive gas that the enemy emits, transferring powers to the engines and trying to get as far away from an enemy ship you just torpedoed before it explodes and kills you, etc. But that basic gameplay was already done in the 2006 DS game, Tactical Assault.

 

Captain X

Well-known member
Osaul
Elite Force was a re-skin of Quake II or III. It's still one of my more favorite Star Trek games, but that might be saying something in and of itself. Especially since I was/am not a Voyager fan.
 

The Original Sixth

Well-known member
Founder
I suspect this some kind of dumb brand management thing where it has to interact with the main cast in order to remind everyone it's star trek. Same reason every single ST book series I own that isn't about one of the ships from the show starts off with a ship from the show interacting with the new cast.

ST and SW have a similar problem where the books HAVE to be tied in with one or more main characters in the show. The fear seems to be that no one wants to read a book that isn't about someone from the shows or movies. Which is understandable, but ST and SW are both large enough that they should be able to attract writers who can make good trilogies or series with original characters.

And the bit player one has it's own issue, because it undermines the feeling of being one universe. Bit player or not, the PC of the game generally does stuff that would at least merit a mention on the main show.

I don't think being mentioned on the show is an issue. And you can actually have high stakes in a game without high stakes in the setting--or at least massively epic ones. The fate of an entire world could rest on the player's shoulders--and be pretty much a blip on the radar for Starfleet.

Elite Force is really, really, bad about this, since the game is about a badass commando team operating aboard Voyager, a show that frequently had plots where a badass commando team would be really useful.

To be fair, that was the least of Voyager's problems.

Whereas for something like SW...well, at least Rogue Squadron shows up in the films.

I will say that SW actually makes use of space. In ST, they'll do something stupid like have an elite squad on Voyager. Instead of say, on a different starship. Or not attached to a specific starship. That way, at least you might argue that they're an elite squad that isn't always available. ST likes to keep everything nose to nose, so you can't help but notice the glaring problems.

Star Wars allows for more space.

Ok, now this I halfway agree with and halfway don't.

STO space combat is pretty rough, particularly late game where any halfway effective build will turn the ship into a giant ugly mess of status buffs.

But on the ground....you have seen the show, right? "no better than normal guns, but with red-orange pulses instead of bullets" is a fairly decent summary of basically every firefight in the series.

It really isn't though. ST is more about characters generally taking pot shots at each other, not running around in force fields and unloading a dozen shots from a phaser rifle into someone, to no effect.

If someone is going to do a ST ground combat, they either need to completely re-imagine it, or they need to stick to something more faithful. In the show, that's mostly them taking pot shots at each other with the stun or kill setting. Not do this halfway crap while trying to look like every other FPS, but worse.

That's really just any FPS ever in the last 10 to 15 years that's not a modern military shooter. Elite Force was kinda weird for straying as far as it did from the stock halo rip off formula.

Yeah, but that really didn't do it many favors. The only thing close to an FPS that I liked with ST was a squad-based top-down shooter that involved an ST Intelligence team. It was pretty faithful to the TV show, despite its gadgets and poor controls. If you got the drop on an enemy group, your team could pretty much take out the enemy in one turn. On stun/kill setting.
 

S'task

Renegade Philosopher
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But that basic gameplay was already done in the 2006 DS game, Tactical Assault.
No, that basic gameplay formula goes back to 1999 and Starfleet Command. Sure the original few Starfleet Command games lacked 3d movement, but everything else you're talking about was there: energy management, maneuvering to hit weak shield facings, dealing with hazards.

The SFC series is probably one of the best Trek game series and still stand out as one of the few games that actually focused on commanding a capital ship in real time situations. To this day there are very VERY few games that actually go for that formula. Which drives me crazy, as commanding a capital ship in space is actually a lot more fun than Yet Another Space Fighter Game #37, since the Space Fighter genre peaked with Freespace 2 and has never seen a game it's equal since.
 

Vargas Fan

Depressed and Heartbroken
No one else seems to remember Star Trek 25th Anniversary or Judgement Rites where you played the TOS crew, and if you had the CD-Rom versions you got full voice acting, not the Microprose published Star Trek Final Unity.

Another one that was neglected was Star Trek Klingon Honour Guard, which was basically an FPS on an early incarnation of the Unreal engine.
 

bintananth

behind a desk
No one else seems to remember Star Trek 25th Anniversary or Judgement Rites where you played the TOS crew, and if you had the CD-Rom versions you got full voice acting, not the Microprose published Star Trek Final Unity.
I had 25th Anniversary (the 3.5" version with no voice acting). If I'm remembering it right getting a perfect score required successfully completing all the away missions without losing a single redshirt.

The copy protection also dropped the Enterprise into a random starship fight if you warped to the "wrong" starsystem by "mistake".
 

Stargazer

Well-known member
Bit more of a negative response than I was expecting. 😅

I'd also not that certain genres, particularly FPS or space combat, have IMO certain issues when it comes to star trek, an issue they share with Aliens, of all things. The primary weapons of the protagonist faction were never intended to be fired constantly for hours nor in large numbers, and sound incredibly grating very quickly. I think everyone who plays the ST Armada III mod very quickly learns how to zoom the camera out to the precise distance required to still see and manage your fleet without actually hearing the fleet.

Well I play Star Trek mods for SOASE all the time and I never have an issue with the sound. I actually like authentic Star Trek sound effects.

That's really just any FPS ever in the last 10 to 15 years that's not a modern military shooter. Elite Force was kinda weird for straying as far as it did from the stock halo rip off formula.

That's because Elite Force actually came out the same year as Halo CE, so Halo had yet to make waves in the genre.

No. As @Battlegrinder said, most were bad or didn't get across the feel 'Trek. The only remotely good Star Trek game anybody remembers in STO, and even then it looked and felt terrible when it came out in 2010.

Star Trek games have two problems:
  1. The Star Trek IP was pretty much dead by the time licensed games started getting good. TNG ended in 1994 and Voyager started the year after, coinciding with the decline of the franchise's popularity. Trek fans revere DS9 today, but at the time it was screwed by the network in favor of Voyager, which nobody liked. None of the TNG movies lived up to the TOS films. Nemesis killed the franchise, resulting in Enterprise being cancelled during its 3rd season (they were told ahead of time that season 4 would be the last season, hence why S4's episodes went nuts). CBS didn't give a damn about Star Trek until the reboot trend started becoming popular, and the baby boomers who grew up with Star Trek were starting to die off so they had to act now in order to milk them. Baby boomers don't play video games so games were really made.
  2. Sturgeon's law is in full effect. Star Wars has hundreds of games but only a handful are really worth talking about (Tie Fighter, Rogue Squadron, Pod Racer, Lego Star Wars, the original Battlefront 2), and maybe a few others like the Kyle Katarn games. Star Trek never had that many games. The one and only somewhat decent 'Trek game is STO.
  3. One of the core problems with adapting Star Trek into a video game is that the gaming industry likes to stick to the template of just making a game about blowing stuff up. While some people would like to blow stuff up in the Trek setting, Trek fans want more variety than that. Again, STO is pretty much the only STO game that sorta scratches that itch (and even then you have to accept the fact that the vast majority of STO gameplay is blowing stuff up).
Given the current state of the entertainment industry, we will pretty much never get a good licensed Star Trek game. The Western AAA gaming industry is more stagnant than ever, and the creative teams and writers CBS assigns to the project won't be interested in trying to convey the spirit of Roddenberry or Berman era Trek that fans love.

Ok, this is too far lol.

STO is the only "remotely good" Star Trek game? That tells me you either didn't actually play many Star Trek games or your standards for games are unreasonably high. Starfleet Command? Armada? Bridge Commander? I will certainly defend those as at least halfway decent games. Yes, there is a bit of crap to sort through, much like there is with Star Wars (you left out Knights of the Old Republic, Republic Commando, and Empire at War, by the way.) But saying STO is the "one and only decent Trek game"? C'mon. Edit: And the fact that there are strategy game mods which position themselves as unofficial sequels to the Star Trek Armada series indicates that people do in fact remember that series, at least.

(Starfleet Academy is another favorite, with high production values, though it is more open to criticism. Particularly because it kind of failed to properly capture the feel of Star Trek space combat, feeling more like you're flying a space fighter than a starship.)

Pretty much this.

The problem comes down primarily to #3 though. Star Trek's problem is that it needed a Mass Effect sort of game; a story that revolves around the player and allows them to interact with the major races (ie, politics), an interesting crew, and making major decisions that affect the world around them. As well as areas to explore. People want to have the Star Trek experience.

The problem is what you get. I've not played an extensive amount of Star Trek games (because they mostly suck), but I have noticed a few trends.

1) Hero Worship -- I swear a single Star Trek game can't be made unless they try and throw a part to an actor whose been on the show. Almost every major title has had members of the main caste of any of the series in the game. I get that people might find it cool to meet Captain Picard or Data, but when it happens in almost every game--it goes from being cool to dull to annoying.

2) 2-Bit Player -- The player is often put in the position of not the hero, but a 2-bit player. Part of the problem is the nature of the show; it focuses on Starfleet. So unless you're a commander or a captain, you aren't really supposed to be the star of the show. So you get a lot of third string characters, like some security officer on Voyager that no one has heard of. Instead of immersing you in the world, you feel insiginificant.

3) Pew-Pew -- Instead of accepting that Star Trek fans are not really interested in blowing shit up, pretty much every Star Trek game focuses on space ship combat or intense phaser fights. STO is probably the worst, with obvious silly game mechanics as you fly around in your little ship and desperately try to pretend it's a much better game from 20 years ago. The ground combat is reality breaking; there is no ST style to the combat. Phaser rifles are basically no better than normal guns, but with red-orange pulses instead of bullets. If these battles were even halfway realistic, most players would have turned most of the little sandboxes into a smoldering hellscape.

4) I Can't Believe It's Not Halo -- Pretty much any FPS Star Trek game in the past 10-15 years. If I want to play Halo--or Mass Effect, I'll play those games.


The solution to Star Trek's problem of bad video games is they need a story-driven story similar in concept to Mass Effect. If Paramount wants a good Star Trek game, they need to more or less crib Shepard's introduction into the story and move it towards a sandbox game, with a large overarching story. Allow players the chance to play true to Starfleet's values or essentially go rogue. Allow them multiple ways to solve problems and address challenges. And for God's sake, do an original story. Not "Borg INVAS!0N" or "DS9, but on Adderall".

1. That certainly happens, though I think the show characters are used well in the favorites I've mentioned, certainly not something that detracts from the story.

2. Not an issue in my favorite games. Starfleet Academy has you as the captain of a cadet crew, Bridge Commander has you as the captain of your own ship. And Armada doesn't have an original player character, you simply control characters like Picard, Worf, Locutus, Sela, etc at different points in the story.

3. Um. I'm a Star Trek fan and I do like blowing stuff up, especially in space ship combat. Of course, I want more than just blowing ships up in space, but I do enjoy Star Trek space sims. It's a little silly to pretend that Star Trek fans wouldn't even be interested in such things, space combat exists in Star Trek for a reason you know.

4. The only Star Trek shooter that's even been made as far as I know in the last 15 years was the 2013 game. I never bothered playing it, but yeah, it did seem to draw from Mass Effect 2 for its shooting (but sadly none of the RPG elements). Before that I think you have to go back to Elite Force 2 in 2003. And the first Elite Force came out the same year as Halo CE, so it would be a little unfair to accuse it of copying Halo.

One thing I can totally agree with is that a Mass Effect-style RPG would be perfect for Star Trek, the dream game. And it would bring things full circle, as Mass Effect obviously drew quite a bit of influence from Star Trek.

And that highlights a more recent problem with Star Trek. It's basically going to be an ideological warzone. If one were to be made, the suits would want it to tie into Star Trek Picard (or...STD...*shudder*)...which is NOT going to be popular with the fanbase, but instead with political activists and writers in Hollywood. You can be sure that Star Trek will probably suck for the next 10 years.

We're basically in the Dragonball GT of Star Trek, but with Liberal writers shitting their ideology onto every script. You're literally better off just starting your own sci-fi show and capturing the magic that the original ST did.

That's a fair point. Much as I feel nostalgia for some of the Star Trek games of the 90s and 00s, would I even want the people in charge of Star Trek right now to make any games? Do I really want something set in the Discovery period or whatever, and laden with lot of "relevant" issues and commentary? No, not really.

No, that basic gameplay formula goes back to 1999 and Starfleet Command. Sure the original few Starfleet Command games lacked 3d movement, but everything else you're talking about was there: energy management, maneuvering to hit weak shield facings, dealing with hazards.

The SFC series is probably one of the best Trek game series and still stand out as one of the few games that actually focused on commanding a capital ship in real time situations. To this day there are very VERY few games that actually go for that formula. Which drives me crazy, as commanding a capital ship in space is actually a lot more fun than Yet Another Space Fighter Game #37, since the Space Fighter genre peaked with Freespace 2 and has never seen a game it's equal since.

Starfleet Academy predates Starfleet Command and did the whole power and damage control management, shield facing, etc as well. Star Trek 25th Anniversary even had a form of that in 92. Though if you want to get really technical Starfleet Battles did all of that first with pen and paper.

I do really like Starfleet Command, though the downside is that it doesn't really have much in the way of a story campaign. My understanding is that Starfleet Academy was kind of a big budget bomb, so SFC was a lower budget project that reused assets and music from SFA and simply adapted the SFB ruleset to computers.

Did you ever try Bridge Commander?

No one else seems to remember Star Trek 25th Anniversary or Judgement Rites where you played the TOS crew, and if you had the CD-Rom versions you got full voice acting, not the Microprose published Star Trek Final Unity.

Another one that was neglected was Star Trek Klingon Honour Guard, which was basically an FPS on an early incarnation of the Unreal engine.

I remember 25th Anniversary! I had the CD version but I never got very far as a kid. I wouldn't call it a personal favorite, but it's a classic for sure. It actually did more to strike a balance between space combat and away missions than later games did.
 
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Harlock

I should have expected that really
Klingon Academy is still probably my favourite sci fi game. Love the gameplay, blasting chunks out of enemy ships and dismantling them piece by piece was incredibly satisfying with remarkable damage modelling for a twenty something year old game.

The plot was outstanding, acting a cut above, very immersive atmosphere etc It serves as an excellent prequel to ST-VI setting up why that movie happened. Best of all though was all the lore and development of Klingons, really did more for their culture and ethos than anything else I've seen.

 

Aaron Fox

Well-known member
I think I may have played that one? I played a demo for a Star Wars RTS game, playing as the Imperials during the GCW. I remember trying to call in or build AT-ATs. I was unimpressed with the gameplay and uninstalled it and went back to playing Battle for Middle Earth 2 (which was mediocre in hindsight) and Supreme Commander.
I actually have that one. Too bad it doesn't work on modern PCs. :( It's called Star Wars: Force Commander and it was annoying to play at first, largely it doesn't have much of a tutorial. Interesting when you actually get a handle on the mechanics.

For Star Trek games, there is the Star Trek Command and Star Trek Armada series are pretty good. Star Trek Command being a computerized RTT version of Star Fleet Battles and Star Trek Armada being the Star Trek RTS (with base construction and everything). There is a little-known Star Trek planet-based RTS called Star Trek: New Worlds (which was a buggy mess and doesn't have an in-game save function).

I'll say that I'll give it props for being different as heck to the usual Star Trek game that I encountered (I was introduced to Star Trek games via Star Trek Command, more specifically the Orion Pirates standalone and Star Trek Armada) and explored a facet of Star Trek that doesn't really get explored. One game that I liked was Legacy which was rather interesting including doing all sorts of call forwards (like one mission happening at a certain science installation that would create the Omega Directive).

However, there is a Star Trek game in Star Trek Online which is actually pretty good.

The main reason that Star Trek licensed games being more or less vaporware at this point is that, well, licensed games were shit for the most part and licensed games haven't gotten ridden of this stigma until the mid-2000s, although there are still a lot of shit games still in that particular 'genre' so to speak.
 

Thors_Alumni

Well-known member
What can I say that hasn't been said already on this thread. the quality of Star Trek games has really gone down and its mostly having to do with sub par PtW games that are crowding the market. My favorite Star Trek games were all tactical like Star Trek Command, Star Trek Invasion, Star Trek Dominion Wars, and Star Trek Academy. I despised Elite Force since like posted above, it was basically a reskin and honestly was sub par even for Star Trek.

I play STO sometimes but I could never get a handle on the tech advantages so I wound up just playing the foundry missions for the most part.

The pace of Star Trek releases has stopped and there hasn't been a new one since 2018 and that was was a mobile game, which is a shame since I have been a fan for decades and remember Star Trek TNG when it was new.
 

Aaron Fox

Well-known member
What can I say that hasn't been said already on this thread. the quality of Star Trek games has really gone down and its mostly having to do with sub par PtW games that are crowding the market. My favorite Star Trek games were all tactical like Star Trek Command, Star Trek Invasion, Star Trek Dominion Wars, and Star Trek Academy. I despised Elite Force since like posted above, it was basically a reskin and honestly was sub par even for Star Trek.

I play STO sometimes but I could never get a handle on the tech advantages so I wound up just playing the foundry missions for the most part.

The pace of Star Trek releases has stopped and there hasn't been a new one since 2018 and that was was a mobile game, which is a shame since I have been a fan for decades and remember Star Trek TNG when it was new.
From what I've seen of STO, it isn't that bad, although its publisher is Perfect World Entertainment aka the same company that killed Blacklight: Retribution (the Hard Suit Labs, in order to keep the lights on, had to take a contract with one of PWE's subsidiaries for the vampire game, and one of the contract stipulations is (according to rumor), essentially, shut down BLR) aka 'make it pay to win or else' (BLR during the PWE days only survived because of a contract stipulation where if there is a population on the servers, the servers must stay on... and wouldn't you know it there was a very dedicated fanbase despite PWE's shenanigans).

Please note that I've only watched it via a youtube video series (and STO has done a lot of continuity porn including a whole series that has DS9 characters in abundance including an Ocean's 13 gig to steal the original Sword of Kalles(sp?) from a rogue Iconian!). I've been staying away from the F2P games ever since BLR died (although, I only occasionally play Armored Warfare) due to stupid grinds.
 

Val the Moofia Boss

Well-known member
From what I've seen of STO, it isn't that bad, although its publisher is Perfect World Entertainment

To elaborate: they introduced P2W into the game with the Delta Rising expansion in the form of tier 6 ships. Previously the most powerful ships in the game were tier 5s, which were attainable through gameplay. But with Delta Rising, they introduced T6s which were cash shop exclusive and way more powerful than the T5s, invalidating people's hard work in obtaining T5 ships and the money spent on cash shop T5s. In addition, the Delta Rising expansion's difficulty was tuned around using T6s. Even if you had the best T5 setup, it was near impossible to complete the content.

Aside from the publisher, STO's main problem is that the game is janky and old. It came out in 2010 but felt like a game from the year 2000. It looks bad and feels bad to play. Ground combat and movement feels really bad; only space combat feels smooth.
 

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