Star Trek Online’s Agents of Yesterday expansion officially rolled out to players on Wednesday and I have played my way through it with great pleasure. Cryptic Studios have really put together an excellent expansion that brilliantly recreates the look and feel of The Original Series and places players in missions that are related to, and at times in the middle of, TOS episodes.
Walter Koenig reprised his role as Pavel Chekov, albeit as an Admiral from the future, Matt Winston is back as Temporal Agent Daniels, but the real standout is Chris Doohan as Montgomery Scott. Chris clearly inherited his voice acting talents from his father and he is amazing as Scotty. Agents of Yesterday also uses dialogue from certain episodes, which makes it feel as if you’re in the middle of a classic TOS story. The game adds a dozen new ships, including classics from the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans.
We chatted with STO Executive Producer Stephen Ricossa today to discuss Agents of Yesterday, and the future of the beautiful 23rd century TOS era in STO. Also check out our extensive interview with Stephen where he talks the new expansion, the move to consoles, and more.
Trekmovie.com: As a studio, you had previously mentioned to us that you very much plan in advance what your expansions and seasons are going to be, so when you were thinking about what you wanted to do for the 50th anniversary, did you always land on the 23rd century as a setting within the Star Trek timeline?
Stephen Ricossa: Absolutely, 100%. It was funny…we were actually planning it and then CBS asked us if we were planning to do something in the TOS era and we said “Oh yeah, it’s already planned and we’re all set,” so they were really excited too.
TM: The one thing I have noticed about Agents of Yesterday is that it is a great way for new players to get into Star Trek Online. It is fun for the players who have been around for a while, but you begin Agents of Yesterday by creating your own character and learning the game’s mechanics and, once you play through Agents of Tomorrow, you’re a lieutenant and start off in the 25th century. Have you seen an increase in players coming into the game?
SR: Absolutely we have seen it. It’s typical for a season, but we’re actually seeing really good pickup, even for an expansion, so we’re really excited over on this side.
TM: I thought you really did a great job in weaving in TOS episodes, with content related to “Arena,” “Operation: Annihilate,” “Journey to Babel,” and “The Tholian Web.” What drew you to those stories, vice others that appeared in TOS’s three seasons?
SR: So we have quite a few Trek fans over here and it was a debate. We wanted to pick moments that were iconic, in general, for the franchise, but were also fan favorites. We looked at probably between a dozen and twenty other [episodes] that people really liked before we settled on these episodes as the ones that we highlighted. There’s a variety of them, such as “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” that we liked.
TM: Are there any TOS episodes that you plan on integrating into the game later?
SR: The ones that just missed the cut are the ones that we will be revisiting, but I don’t want to get into that too much.
TM: What I have heard from fans is that they love the look and the feel of the 23rd century TOS era. It is almost as if, once you get to the 25th century, you’re a little disappointed because you want to play around in that 23rd century sandbox. Can you confirm that there are plans to revisit that era?
SR: Absolutely, and many of the episodes that take place in the 25th century during this arc involve time travel to the 23rd century where you get that screen filter and classic look throughout your adventure in this expansion.
TM: One thing that I was longing for across the Agents of Yesterday missions is, after one particular mission where you see a wide array of different classes of TOS-era starships, is playing around with those ships. Are those available?
SR: All of those ships are available in the Temporal Agent Pack (which Trekmovie.com is giving away), or you can buy them individually in the c-store.
TM: Another thing that you launched as part of this expansion is a temporal agent episode involving the Kelvin Timeline, correct?
SR: Absolutely correct, yeah. First time.
TM: How has that episode been received? While I’m not at the level where I can play them just yet, I have seen plenty of players flying around in the Kelvin Timeline Constitution-class and the Vengeance.
SR: It seems like it’s polarizing for some of our Trek fans, but I’ve said in other interviews and I’ll say again that, in general, Trek fans are Trek fans so you might dislike a series or a movie, but in general everyone likes it because it’s Star Trek. It seems like everyone’s enjoying that episode, the starships, the bridges, and our visuals which are a bit over the top with the lens flares.
TM: That was a great touch. It wouldn’t be the Kelvin Timeline without lens flares.
SR: We really go all out to make [time travel] episodes feel like they’re from those series and I think people are really enjoying it.
TM: Turning to the console side, is development going well and you’re still aiming for a Fall launch date?
SR: That is correct.
TM: The big question that I have, as a player who has enjoyed the game on the PC for so many years, is whether I would be able to transfer my character over to the console version?
SR: They’re separate environments, so the PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4’s environments are all separate.
If you haven’t tried Star Trek Online before, Agents of Yesterday is the perfect starting point. It will introduce you to the gameplay mechanics and set you up to hit the ground running in the 25th century. It is available now to play for free, while STO will make its console debut on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 this Fall.