Hands On With Star Trek Timelines at STLV

Star Trek Timelines

There was much to see this past weekend at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, but I was excited for one thing in particular taking place in the merchandise hall and on stage Sunday afternoon. Disruptor Beam brought their brand new mobile game, Star Trek Timelines, to the show floor and I got a little hands-on time with it.

Star Trek has had a history of missteps when it comes to games, but I have a little more faith in Timelines because of it’s ambassador, John De Lancie, who plays the lovable villain Q. The actor talked at length about the developer and how impressed he was by the team before bringing the CEO of Disruptor Beam on stage. The two talked in depth about the game before answering questions throughout the presentation.

The Story and Gameplay
In Star Trek Timelines, something has caused a huge rift in time, and starships and planets from all across the space-time continuum are clashing. Q needs your help to solve disputes cropping up as a result, and it’s up to you to assemble your crew and travel the galaxy mopping up the mess. Because of the timelines merging, you can choose characters from any of the Star Trek series and all of the movies except for the most recent two.

The gameplay is largely made up of starship battles and away missions on planet surfaces. In my time with the game, I experienced first-hand that you have to balance your crew for these situations in order to handle different kinds of scenarios. It isn’t all combat and brute force on away missions; you have to have crew members that have stats in negotiation and others that are medics. In starship battles, as a captain you have to pick crew members that can fix shields or handle complex maneuvers.

The game is also about exploration, and when you encounter new races, or old races from a new timeline, you must use your diplomacy skills as a captain to navigate the conversation. In the demo I played, my crew encountered a version of Worf that hates the federation and wants to settle disputes the traditional Klingon way. After battling with the Enterprise, I negotiated with him to stop attacking a helpless planet. As I talked with him, I received in-game awards (usually resources) for the different dialogue choices I made, whether they were diplomatic or hostile.

The Star Trek Timelines both at Star Trek Las Vegas last weekend

First Impressions
The problem I see on the horizon for Star Trek Timelines is the simplistic gameplay and repetitive nature of the game. Battling starships seems to just be ordering crew members with a click of a button (you don’t even control the ship). In away missions, you simply match a crewmember with their corresponding problem (for instance Picard would be used to negotiate). It’s all very repetitive, even in my short time with the game.

I think the staying power of the game will be the interactions between the characters. On stage Sunday, the CEO of Disruptor Beam mentioned that they will be writing material for all of the interactions between characters in the game. I’ve never seen 7 of 9 and Spock have a conversation, and as a Star Trek fan that sounds amazing. If handled well, it could make the repetitive nature of the game worth it for the pure joy of bringing together all these different characters.

Of course these are all just first impressions, I’m itching to get my hands on the game for an extended look and see if the gameplay and story can keep me interested. Star Trek Timelines releases this fall, with an closed beta happening very soon, you can visit Disruptor Beam’s website to sign up for the chance to participate!

Andrew Allender is a lover of all things nerdy, geeky, and pop culture-y. He is a writer for TheNerdAssembly.com and TheFanVoice.com, where he covers a wide range of topics from Anime to classic Sci-fi to gaming. He is also committed to exploring the remote corners of the nerd world to find new fandoms and hobbies.

This article is cross-posted at TheNerdAssembly.com. The Nerd Assembly is a collection of nerds and geeks from all different fandoms who geek-out on a regular basis about what they are most passionate about; including Science Fiction, Video Games, Comic Books, and whatever else they are excited about recently!


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

very intresting!

Very cool. On behalf of our community here, minus Cygnus X1, thanks for posting this — I am wanting this game badly!

Still zero news on a 50th Anniversary game?

another boring Star Trek game. -yawn-

Did John DeLancie mention anything about that plane crash over Albuquerque?

As a fan, trying to stay calm while seeing post after post from the Disney expo today. Episode 7, episode 8, and now there’s confirmation of the director for episode 9. First look at the first of many spin-off films with an amazing cast by the way, a new epic looking game (seriously Battlefront looks insane), and now confirmation of the new area addition to the Disney parks dedicated to the franchise. Next year is the golden anniversary of my beloved franchise and it feels like we’re going to limp through it with a possible movie that’s on shakey legs and a couple of fan films. I’m sorry for all the negativity but I’m frustrated and needed to vent.

Star Wars resides in the house of the mouse now, there is no turning back. Trek simply can’t compete with the marketing powerhouse that is Disney. But I was hoping…not expecting…but hoping for a bigger push for Trek’s 50th.

When the suits were balking about a 50th anniversary Trek being “too Treky” I knew we were in trouble.

While I too wish more was being done for the 50th — and there is still time, so maybe more will be done — this comparison of Trek to SW is apples and organges. First, the SW movie is only 4 months away, not a year away. Secondly, the SW franchise not only dwarfs Trek significantly, but was sold to a new studio that is making huge investments in it….you can bet that if Trek were sold to a new studio, they we’d get more investments and more movies/TV as well…it’s too bad that doesn’t happen. But again, this comparison is apples and oranges..

But even before the prequels, there were constant amazing video games, a booming fiction book following (the shelves dedicated to SW books in stores is crazy) and merchandise and that was way before Disney. I get what you’re saying Prodigal Son. Again, just frustrated because I love Trek so much.


I hear you. Besides SW just being a bigger franchise though, SW is much more targeted on kids and pre-teens/early teens then Trek — that determines a lot of the market power of these franchises like SW and Marvel. The fact that Trek is more adult doesn’t help the franchise in terms of dollars made.

@Prodigal Son
I agree. For all the hate that Disney gets, it still knows how to balance making a profit with (usually) making the consumer happy with a great product. I don’t really like Disney itself, but I do respect it because it’s proven itself time and again. I hope that SW is a success! And I hope that “nutrek” may experience a margin of the attention that SW will receive.

Im excited for this. Star Trek games since I can remember have been…ok, they’ve never been great. The first Star Trek game I got completely lost in and still dabble in it is Star Trek Online. It has far too many bugs, glitchy as all hell, needs an update but the universe is vast, I could do missions on foot or explore and get into battles with my ship, earning, trading, upgrading, I just love it! I was the game I wanted since I was a child. At this point, no other Star Trek game beats STO (for me.) I am hoping Star Trek Timelines will change that.

@9 (Prodigal Son): SW’s success (as well as TOS) was due to not talking down to its audience (which is why the Prequels are universally reviled). The OT, like TOS, had a simple premise that the audience could relate to, with characters that had natural dialogue and a plot with a satisfying resolution. On the other hand, the Prequels was nothing more than a marketing gimmick with weak characters and a weaker script. Hopefully, the next batch of SW films will go back to its roots as a fun, action romp that has sci-fantasy elements aren’t dumb.

@13 The prequels were not a marketing gimmick. Lucas wanted to make them and he did, He used his money, not studio money and, let’s face it, the man has a lot of money. He didn’t do it to make a buck, he wanted to tell the rest of the story and the tone and feel of those films were going to be different as a result. To say that three new sequels, three prequels and Star Wars Land over the next 6 years is not a marketing gimmick is a bit naive. Lucas kept Star Wars on the small screen for the past 10 years to keep it fresh but without oversaturating the brand and diminishing it in the process (The Clone Wars cartoons were hugely popular). Those days are over. Paramount didn’t learn their lesson until after the failure of Nemesis and the struggles of Enterprise. With Star Trek seemingly revived after 2009 it hit a stumbling block again after Into Darkness and the new film will likely be a modest success, not on the level of any of the new Star Wars movies or any of the six that came before them (there’s a reason the new movie is shooting in Vancouver without ILM producing the visual effects),

ILM isn’t doing the effects? So far, every good Trek movie has had ILM effects.

You know how I feel on this doom and gloom, otherwise. Trek is not Star Wars. It never will be. Most other franchises aren’t Star Wars either and don’t get Star Wars-level attention. And this isn’t a Star Wars anniversary blitz — the attention is due to the new movie (and Abram’s secrecy).

We’re still a year from Trek’s anniversary, there will be plenty.

Other franchises have major anniversaries (Back to the Future) with a fair amount of press coverage without scores of video games and new movies.

@ Jack

Well, the lead guy at the Vancouver Special Effects company that is doing the special effects was just nominated for an Oscar this past year for the last X-men movie, so it’s not like they are going to half-a55 it.

I personally am looking forward to a new visual look for the movie, and hope we no longer get POV shots that look like they are taken with a camera in space, with lens flares, etc….

@14 (The ShadowKnows): Agreed with the second part, but not on the first. GL put the emphasis on the toyline starting with JEDI, when he introduced the Ewoks. Jar Jar Binks, as well as having a child as Anakin Skywalker, was a conscious effort to dumb down the franchise as a means of marketing the film to kids. If anything, the prequels should have focused solely on the Clone Wars, with a Anakin as the padawan to Kenobi’s master, with the battles and intrigues occurring over a course of three films. And if a younger Anakin was to be introduced as a child, it should have been a stand-alone film. But, all this is in hindsight, so nothing can be done about it now.

Star Trek was saturating the tv and movie markets in the 90’s and this eventually led to serious franchise fatigue. Too much of the material produced was questionable as well which was a detriment to Star Trek. Paramount didn’t look after Star Trek, during the good years, as well as it could and should have and now we (fans) reap the rewards. Berman was kind of like the Sepp Blater of Star Trek in that he should have left Star Trek (and the money) and walked away (probably around 1996 during the 30th Anniversary year). Paramount are ultimately responsible for damaging the franchise to the extent that another tv series is unviable and the movies are now pretty risky as well. That’s why they turned Star Trek into ‘bangbusters’ culminating into a sort of dodgy ‘into darkness’.

Star Wars may go down the same route of ruin. Certainly for now I’m excited by the prospect of more Star Wars and am looking forward to ‘the force awakens’. Rogue One looks pretty exciting and could be fantastic. But nothing is certain. Episode VII will make bucket -loads of money for absolute certainty and so will Rogue One. After this Disney and its employees will need to maintain quality and execution to keep fans (and the general public) happy or else ticket sales will slump gradually but surely.

I think Disney are quite wise to be making these two hour movies every two or three years rather than make a tv series which would be restrained by budget and risky in over saturating the brand like what happened with Star Trek. Star Wars Rebels won’t over saturate the brand because it’s aimed at kids who will consume Star Wars forever (I mean they are kids!).
I wouldn’t say older kids and adults are actually getting loads and loads of stuff really.. we are getting probably 7 and half hours worth of Star Wars between December and May 2017. Putting this into context with Star Trek in say, 1994-1996, when we got two movies and 4 seasons of Star Trek, that is in 36 months over 100 episodes and 4 hours of movie time.. enough said. It was probably a little overdoing it. And the quality suffered as well.

Kindle Fire version?

So a whole article about this mobile game yet no mention of the Star Trek Online panel at STLV? No mention of the multiple Trek Alumni who were there with the STO team including Chase Masterson, Denise Crosby, Manu Intiraymi, and more? Extremely disappointing. I don’t have any idea why but it has become very obvious recently that this site has blacked out any news about STO.

It’s ironic that this game about messed-up Trek ‘timelines’ doesn’t actually include the nu-trek crew! Now, this kind of multi-character mash-up would be an awesome premise for a LEGO version, as I for one would never tire of having my classic TOS-era Kirk shooting nu-era Keenser’s ass at every opportunity… ;)

A full length crowd funded Star Trek feature film (Renegades) is released this week featuring authentic Trek actors and none of the main Trek websites are mentioning it. Not sure who runs these websites anymore. Time I start my own…