Star Trek: Elite Force 2 - interview

The Star Trek universe belongs to one of the most amazing phenomenon of the 20th century. We have watched a lot of great movies, serials or games in Star Trek franchise history and right now we are going to see and play a new game Star Trek: Elite Force II from the development team Ritual Entertainment. What could we expect from this title? The answer can be found in our interview.
Star Trek: Elite Force 2 - interview

Doupe: Could you please introduce yourself and the development team Ritual to our readers? What games have you made, what`s your current role in the development of Star Trek: Elite Force II, etc.

Jon Galloway: Ritual Entertainment is a studio of a little more then 50 employees.  Generally we are developing more then one title at a time; in this case Star Trek: Elite Force II is one of our current AAA titles.  Our other AAA title in development is Counter Strike: Condition Zero.

Ritual has made many games in the past, including Heavy Metal: FaKK2, SiN, and Scourge of Armagon.

 

My role on EF2 is that of Producer at Ritual, meaning that I am the main contact and interface between the development studio/team and our Publisher.  I am also the Creative Director and Project Lead, so internally at the studio I manage the team and day-to-day head up the design and art departments.

Doupe: What sort of gameplay experience should we expect from Elite Force II? Is it going to be a pure first-person shooter or do you try to stir in the game some kind of elements from other genres? What are the main differences between the upcoming sequel and original Elite Force?

J.G.: The primary gameplay experience is definitely that of an action shooter (FPS).  In this respect it is pretty pure and stays true to the action gaming.  We didn`t spend a lot of effort trying to blend genres, but there are a lot of game mechanics and aspects of the design that do not strictly entail the use of weapons.

The missions aboard the Enterprise-E are more about information gathering, story telling and interaction with both your environment and the crewmembers aboard the ship.

The original Elite Force has been widely hailed as a great first-person shooter and was highly rated in reviews.  For the sequel, our goals were to build on its successes.  The gameplay experience and rich deep story in the first product was key for us in making the sequel.  The areas we wanted to branch out in were to make the game larger in scope and to transition the game to a much greater variety of locales.  Along the way, we also added many other touches unique to Elite Force II.  Additionally we wanted to transition the product from the Star Trek: Voyager license to the Star Trek: Next Generation license.  Overall I`m very happy with what we`ve come up with and it will be a very worthy successor to Elite Force.

 

Doupe: Can you describe the main plot of your game? What new members will the Hazard team have?

J.G.: The main plot concerns unraveling a mystery surrounding a dangerous and sinister attack and invasion of an alien menace of unknown origins. 

There are several new hazard team members, including Korban a new Klingon recruit, Jack Franklin a security officer from the Enterprise, Jorge Gonzales who gets added later in the game and Sydney Stockman a pilot who just graduated from the Academy.

Doupe: Why have you decided to move Elite Force II from Voyager to the Next Generation setting? Tell us something more about other environments and locations we will visit in the game.

J.G.: The Next Generation universe offers a change of scenery and characters, and the TNG series has proven by far to be the most popular of the Star Trek franchises.

There are more than twelve different environments that the player will encounter, including several alien worlds.  Some of these settings include an ancient city on a desert planet, a secret military base on a frozen ice world and a barren volcanic wasteland.

Doupe: How many missions are going to be in Elite Force 2? What will be typical mission`s tasks and goals?

J.G.: There are 11 missions over the course of the game, as well as some smaller scenarios scattered about.  In addition, there are 7 or so sub-missions aboard the enterprise.

The 11 missions typically involve the hazard team investigating a site or performing military objectives where the potential threat of danger is too hot for a traditional away team.  For instance, in one mission the hazard team is beamed aboard a damaged and derelict starship floating dead in space.  The status of the ships crew and origins of the attack are unknown, so the team is sent in to investigate and deal with any hostile forces on-board.

 

Doupe: Will player cooperate and interact with other games NPCs? What could you tell us about the two new races, which will be in Elite Force 2?

J.G.: There are a lot of NPC`s in EF2, ranging from friendly Starfleet officers and crewman, to individuals belonging to the various alien races encountered throughout the game.

The two main races are the Idryll and the Attrexians.  The Idryll are a fallen and worn race of intellectuals with a rich culture and dreams of a past in which they once controlled vast areas of space.  The Attrexians are a boastful bunch of slothful industrialists, who tear worlds apart seeking to gain wealth from the spoils; currently the Attrexians have a ruling thumb over the Idryll and feel the Idryll dreams of the past are just wishful thinking.

Doupe: One of the main disadvantages of the original Elite Force was the length of the game. What about the sequel? How long is going to be the full version of Star Trek: Elite Force 2?

J.G.: This is definitely not a concern with Elite Force II.  EF2 is approximately twice the size of the original Elite Force.

Doupe: What weapons and gadgets will we see in Elite Force 2? What interesting items from the Star Trek world will there be?

J.G.: There are 14 different weapons in the game, all of them unique.  Each weapon has a primary and alternate mode of fire.

The Tricorder is probably the most interesting piece of equipment in EF2.  With this device, the player can scan his environment with several different view overlays to gather more detail and information about their surroundings, such as detect structural weaknesses in walls that could easily be destroyed with weapons fire.  The Tricorder also allows you to interface with various objects, consoles and devices throughout the game, often in the form of a small puzzle.  One example of this is an interface that allows you to route or connect up various power sources or circuit pathways.

 

Doupe: In what way are you dealing with the multiplayer issue? What gameplay modes will be featured in the game? Do you plan to release any kind of editing tools with the full version of your game?

J.G.: We have a very complete Multiplayer component for the game.  It includes what most people would expect from an FPS, with the main game types being: Holomatch (deathmatch), Team Holomatch, Capture the Flag, and Bomb Defusion.

We also have a slew of game modifiers that can be combined in various ways to create many different types of matches:  Elimination, Action Hero, Specialties, Control Points, One Flag, etc…

We intend to release tools and editors for modding the game shortly after the product`s official release.

Doupe: We know that Patrick Stewart cooperates with you at his role of Cpt. Picard. Who will give voice to other game`s characters like Tuvok, Telsia, Chang and so on?

J.G.: Tuvok is voiced by the original actor, Tim Russ.  Pretty much all of the voice actors for the characters from the original Elite Force have returned to reprise their roles in the sequel.  In addition, we also cast a lot of actors who have done work or played characters in the various Star Trek television series, including Dwight Shultz who was brought on to reprise his role and Lieutenant Barclay.  We also have Jeffrey Combs, Tony Todd, J.G. Hertzler, Robert O`Reily, and many more.

Doupe: Elite Force 2 uses the Quake III: Arena engine. What major modifications and changes have you made? What are the system requirements of Star Trek: Elite Force 2?

J.G.: We have modified just about everything in the engine for EF2, including a new scripting system, full facial morphs for expression and lip-syncing, shared animation system, new terrain system with blended textures, and much much more.

 

The minimum specification is higher then that of Quake III, but is still reasonably low for today`s standards so we can hit a large range of target machines:

Pentium III - 600 Mhz
128MB Ram
32MB Video Card

Users with more powerful machines including higher-end video cards will really be able to get the most out of EF2 and see it in all its glory.

Doupe: Thank you for your time.

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