It has been just a few weeks since Cryptic announced their Star Trek Online and already they are providing more info on this exciting new massive multiplayer game. Just yesterday they issued their first ‘future history’ report bridging the gap between Nemesis and the setting of the game, plus they have updated their site with more answers on game details.
From Nemesis to 2409
Canon establishes that Star Trek Nemesis took place (or will take place) in 2379. Star Trek Online takes place in 2409 and will be in a world where the Federation and its allies at the time are facing off against the Klingon Empire and its allies. In order to fill the gap, Cryptic will be writing the history of Trek’s future, with updates for each year between 2379 and 2409, with the first update going up yesterday, and here it is:
2379 – 2380
Following the death of Praetor Shinzon at the Battle of Bassen Rift, the Romulan government fell into disarray. Tal’aura, one of the few remaining members of the Romulan Senate and a former ally of Shinzon, declares herself the new Praetor, supported by Fleet Commander Tomalak as the new leader of the Imperial Defense Force.
However, Tal’aura’s leadership is opposed by Commander Donatra, who with the support of Commander Suran and former Admiral Braeg retains control of the majority of the Fifth and Third fleets. Any hope of a reconciliation between the two sides ends after the execution of Braeg, and Donatra vows never to accept Tal’aura’s rule.
Donatra’s rebellion is not Tal’aura’s only concern. The Remans, led by General Xiomek of the Reman Kepeszuk Battalion, demand control of either a continent on Romulus or a planet with sufficient natural resources to maintain self-sufficient settlements as reparations for hundreds of years of slavery and exploitation. In response, Tel’aura cuts shipments of food and needed supplies to Remus and commands Tomalak to blockade the planet.
In Federation space, the USS Enterprise-E undergoes a major repair and refit and resumes its mission of exploration. About half of her crew transfers to other posts during the months-long overhaul, including senior staff officers William T. Riker and Deanna Troi, who are posted on the USS Titan, and Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher, who briefly serves as head of Starfleet Medical before returning to the Enterprise.
Two trials are of note during this time. On stardate 56867.84, the Founder known as the Female Changeling is sentenced for crimes committed against sentient beings during the Dominion War and committed to the Federation maximum security facility at Ananke Alpha. And on stardate 58370.4, Ro Laren surrendered to Starfleet custody. A former member of Starfleet who defected to the Maquis in 2370, Ro plead guilty to charges of desertion and was ordered to report to a penal facility on Earth for rehabilitation.
Federation analysts continue to monitor the deepening economic crisis on Cardassia Prime. The Cardassians were devastated by Dominion bombardment in the final days of the Dominion War, suffering more than 800 million casualties. Large portions of Cardassia Prime remain in ruins and the Cardassian government does not appear to have the resources to recover, although it has rejected most Federation aid.
A notable exception to this stance is the Andak project, a Federation-funded program intended to restore Cardassia Prime’s agricultural base. Led by Keiko O’Brien, the Andak project initially faced stiff resistance from xenophobic groups such as the True Way and Gul Macet’s conservative bloc of the government. Only the influence of Cardassian governmental adviser Elim Garak, a supporter of the fledgling democracy movement, allowed the Andak project to proceed, and work is now in progress to make the barren desert climate of Cardassia Prime support sufficient crops to feed its population. Experts at the Daystrom Institute predict that without more successful projects like the Andak initiative, the Cardassian Union could fall in as little as three years.
Honoring Trek canon, even books
When TrekMovie spoke to Cryptic’s Chief Creative Officer Jack Emmert, he emphasized how they will be sticking with Trek filmed canon, and even honoring Trek’s book canon as much as possible, and it is clear from the above he meant it. According to TrekMovie’s Book Editor, this first part of Star Trek Online’s history is, for the most part, right out of the Titan, TNG relaunch and DS9 relaunch novels from Pocket Books, especially "Articles of the Federation," "Death in Winter," "Taking Wing," "Unity," and the Bajor and Cardassia installments of "Worlds of Deep Space Nine." It isn’t known if they will stick so close to the book series for future installments, but the current slate of books through to the upcoming Destiny series only covers a couple more years, so Cryptic will be on their own after that. For more on the post-Nemesis ‘book canon’ for this period see the Memory Beta pages for 2379 and 2380.
Cryptic has also recently updated their site with more answers on the upcoming game. The first update was in the form of a FAQ which covers over a dozen issues in detail. Here are a few key questions:
What races will we be able to play?
The plan is Human, Vulcan, Andorian, Klingon, Orion, Gorn, and several others. You will also be able to create your own race with its own custom look and attributes.
Will everyone be the Captain of their own ship?
Yes, but you will have to earn the responsibility and skill to command larger and more powerful vessels. Remember, in Star Trek as well as naval tradition, whoever commands the ship is the "Captain," even if it is not your current rank.
Can I play something other than a Captain like a Doctor or an Engineer?
Everyone is a Captain, (remember, if you command a ship, you are automatically a Captain), and you will command a crew, but that does not limit your role. Your character will still be able to choose from a variety of career paths, such as Engineer, Tactical Officer, Doctor, Science Officer, etc. Your career path is your root, and will affect your skills, and how you command your crew. Consider Jean-Luc Picard, Beverly Crusher, Worf and Kathryn Janeway. Picard was an archeologist and diplomat, Crusher was a doctor, Worf a security/tactical officer, and Janeway was a scientist. Each eventually chose a career in command and became ship captains. This does not mean the game will limit your ship choices based on your profession – far from it. The examples are simply an example of how the game design was inspired.
They also recently posted an ‘Ask Cryptic’ column which answers specific fan questions, one of which was about their approach to canon.
Will Star Trek Online be considered canon in any respect? How much of the game will stick to the canon?
Al "Captain Geko" Rivera (lead designer): Every series and movie is considered canon, and we are staying very true to this in our development. Star Trek is rich with lore and history, and there is a great deal of material to build upon as we move into the 25th century with Star Trek Online. We are working with CBS to ensure that everything we create is true to Trek and makes sense.
We know that fans want to play Star Trek Online because they want to explore the Star Trek universe, and we are striving to deliver as authentic an experience as possible. Our team has seen all the shows and movies and we’re watching them again every single day. We are also studying other soft canon resources such as novels and comics. From those, we are looking for inspiration and references to further enhance our game. Where it makes sense, we will include some soft canon elements in Star Trek Online as well.
So far everything we are hearing and seeing from Cryptic looks good. For more info on Trek’s bold adventure into the world of massive multiplayer games, go to startrekonline.com.
More info: VIDEO announcement + trailer + screenshots