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Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Preview
developer: Raven Software
PII-233, 64MB RAM, 650MB HDD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Sep 19, 00 (released)
|» All About Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force on ActionTrip|
Hey Treky fans, there is a couple of new Star Trek shoot'em-ups: Voyager - Elite Force and Deep Space Nine - The Fallen coming from Raven Software and Simon & Schuster Interactive respectively. Now, considering the fact that Raven software achieved a certain status amongst FPS developers with its Soldier of Fortune and the somewhat older Hexen series (all based on iD's Quake engine) and all that Simon & Schuster Interactive actually published comes down to several quite pathetic and unsuccessful hunting game parodies and some even less successful (yet more pathetic) Star Trek games (If you decide to call their last product a game, that is - it's in fact a space ship construction utility), we decided to talk to Raven Software's Mr. Kenn Hoekstra and ask him a couple of question about their latest project.
Action Trip: Creating a game in a world as famous and developed (meaning legally confined) as Star Trek and still being creative in a way is certainly not an easy task. How do you cope?
Kenn Hoekstra: Paramount is extremely accepting of new ideas. They have been wonderful to work with and have allowed us a tremendous amount of freedom (relatively speaking) within the Star Trek Universe. They loved the Hazard Team idea, which is the foundation for the game, and the Voyager license is unique in that everything the ship and crew runs into is new. This gave us a chance to create new aliens, environments and weapons all while remaining true to the franchise. Working on Star Trek is nowhere near as confining as most people tend to believe. Especially with Voyager...
AT: Will there be any sort of communication with friendly characters? Will you be able to use them for certain tasks like you could in Opposing Forces?
KH: You are part of the Hazard Team, so you will go on missions with them. You communicate them throughout the course of the game as the story dictates, but there are no orders to give or yes/no commands to worry. The team will perform certain tasks for you that are part of their training or field of expertise, but you don't have to baby sit them or give orders. The game is about the action, not about strategy or command.
AT: I read that players would be able to make some choices about saving certain friendly characters or leaving them to their fate. How much will this affect the game? Will it introduce certain non-linearity?
KH: There is a certain degree of choice in the game. On several occasions you are faced with a challenge that can mean life or death for one of your fellow crewmen. These situations don't create non-linearity in the sense that it doesn't send the storyline off on a tangent, but it can affect whether or not the crewmen will show up later in the game to provide you with information on your mission. Dead men tell no tales...
AT: I noticed that you prefer Id's Quake engine to the Unreal engine. Can you tell us why?
KH: Raven has a long-standing relationship with Id Software. We know them well and we know their technology well. If it isn't broken, why fix it? We've looked at Unreal and several other game engines, but Id's technology has always proven to be the best choice for our games, our situation and us.
AT: Is the game going to be more single-player or multiplayer oriented?
KH: The game is solid in both regards, but I'd say that the single player game is the primary focus. We've got a great story, a ton of levels and lots of cool weapons, enemies and environments. There's a lot of variety and gameplay to be had in the multiplayer section as well. How could that not be the case when using the Quake III: Arena engine? There are a lot of games on the market that focus on one or the other, but Voyager - Elite Force will give gamers the best of both worlds (no pun intended), much like we did with Soldier of Fortune.
AT: How much work is still left, and can you be any more precise about the release date?
KH: It's safe to say that we're in the beta stage right now. We're finishing up the demo and then moving on with finishing the full game. We're not going to give a release date any more specific than late summer 2000 because anything can happen between now and the end of the game. We want to focus more on finishing the game with its original vision intact than finishing the game on a specific day.
For all of you that are still unaware of the story behind the game: You are ensign Alexander (or Alexandra if you choose to play a female character) Munro, member of the newly formed elite security force - The Hazard Team and you're on a mission to retake control of the U.S.S. Voyager attacked by the Borg. However, your mission may take you much further than that.
You won't be alone on your mission: there will be a lot of other Hazard Team agents all about the place, and you will be in constant touch with Lt. Tuvok, the commander of the Hazard Team, in charge of the mission.
The developers emphasize the non-linearity of scripted sequences in the game, which should make it far more interactive than other similar titles like Half-Life, for example. The game also features all the popular multiplayer modes. There is not much time left before the actual release of the game, the only thing that remains a nagging doubt is: will the audience be prepared to accept an FPS with no gore?
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