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Thursday, December 7, 2000

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On Star Trek and Games
11:43 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Our CGA partner Stomped has posted a lengthy interview with Harry Lang, the Director of Product Development for Paramount. Of course, Paramount owns and develops the Star Trek properties and products, so Lang oversees all Trek-inspired video games. If you've even glanced at our news page in the last six months, you know that 2000 has been the year of the Trek game, with Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force in stores, Deep Space Nine: The Fallen almost ready to ship, and Star Fleet Command II on the horizon.

Paramount is extremely protective of the Trek franchise, pursuing fan sites and products that use their properties without permission and working to maintain the positive, bloodless vision of the future that Gene Rodenberry envisioned. Lang reveals in this interview just how much influence Paramount exercises over companies making games based on Trek "universes." He also explains that there is a feedback loop between the teams that make the games and the actual cast and crew of the television shows, and he acts as the middle man:

Stomped: How much contact do you have with the producers of the Star Trek properties and do they suggest changes to games?

Lang: We work with them quite a bit. Especially when we are establishing something never before seen on the show such as a new ship, new technology or if we need to take some liberties for gameplay reasons. We run all of this by the producers for their input. We also work with some of the other people on the show. The art department helped us tremendously with Elite Force. Raven had to design numerous rooms never before seen on Voyager and the Sr. Illustrator on the show who also designed the ship, helped them connect the rooms together while maintaining the same look and feel from established sets. Star Trek's casting director helps cast the voice over roles for many of our games. The prop master may loan us a few props to photograph for reference, the wardrobe people may give us fabric swatches, and even the painters give us samples for color reference! The list goes on and on. They even help us "fill in the holes" within Star Trek's timeline when needed. They really enjoy participating and are amazed at what we can do in games these days. All of this is done to help maintain consistency with the show and provide fans with the most authentic recreation possible, while at the same time making sure the games are fun to play.

One thing all can agree on: this year's Trek games are light-years ahead of past offerings in terms of playability and immersiveness. We are keeping a very close eye on DS9: The Fallen, and we'll be sure to let you know as soon as it goes Gold. As for Elite Force, we continue to receive positive comments about this game in our forums; watch for our review in the near future. By the way, if you don't think Star Trek has a big influence on gaming, click the search link below -- we've posted 102 Trek-related articles just since June!

Deep Space Nine: The Fallen Preview
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Preview
IMG Search Results for "Star Trek"
Harry Lang Interview at Stomped
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen

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Archives  News  On Star Trek and Games