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Star Trek: Conquest Interview

1: Conquest will be launching on 2 consoles, the PS2 and the Wii.  Since this is in effect Star Treks first push into the Nintendo Wii market the game will be going up against highly repayable games.  What in effect is the main replay value of Conquest for the Wii and to a lesser extent the PS2?

4J:  The main replay value of the game will come from the ability to play campaigns as any of the six playable races, each with its own strengths and weaknesses; as well as being able to set up custom campaigns of your choice i.e. Federation Vs Dominion. Theres also a Skirmish mode that allows you to setup any battle you want with any of the components in the game.  

2: From the looks of things Conquest is having its own run up to launch date, there is no other Star Trek games being announced (not yet anyway) so Conquest will be able to shine on its own without having to compete with 2 other titles like Encounters had to do last year.  Since the game is standing on it's own the question of gameplay length comes into effect.

Both the PS2 and the Wii (more so the PS2) are known for rather lengthy gameplay times, is this the case for Conquest? (point of reference...casual gamer possibly playing the game for 1 or 2 hours a day...how long will the game take to complete?).

4J: Conquest is definitely much more for the casual strategist. With a full six-race campaign, on the easy setting it would probably take around 1.5-2 hours to complete. It was a deliberate design choice to make a game that could be picked up and played to completion in one sitting, like playing a game of Risk.

3: How long has 4J been working on the game itself and can you give us a back-story to the game design?  It's it an original 4J engine or is it based off another work?

4J: We started developing the game in January 2007. We produced a straight arcade shooter with Encounters, which was well received but lacked any kind of tactical depth. So this time around, we decided to address the lack of strategy in our previous title hence, Conquest was born.

4: Since the Wii uses a rather unique control interface it will be obvious that control differences between the 2 games will be...well..different.  What about the base features of the game, will the Wii and Playstation 2 versions be virtually the same game but only with control differences to cater for the entirely different control schemes?

4J: In terms of game features, the Wii and PS2 versions are identical. The Wii control system does make a huge difference in the feel of the game, with it targeting, maneuvering, and firing. Additionally, the Wii runs at 60 FPS as opposed to 30 FPS on the PS2, and uses its extra memory for larger and greater bit-depth textures making it visually more appealing.

5: Within the rather rabid foaming at the mouth fanbase (most of which reside in the STG) the current rumour is that the game is a PS2 game ported to the Wii.  The word "port" sends shivers of fear and angst into the hearts of Star Trek gamers.  What would you say to alleviate the fears of the porting rumour?

4J: When developing a title for multiple platforms we upgrade and enhance areas of the product that the specific hardware allows, i.e. the control system for the Wii.

For Conquest, we have undertaken parallel development on both platforms. For each feature we implemented, we considered how wed get it to work best on both platforms. Both versions have identical gameplay features and play well on both machines, but as I mentioned previously my personal preference is the Wii because of the unique control system.

6: This question has to be asked.  When the screens and data for Conquest first came out and was released to the public many people instantly thought "ohhhh...that's Birth of the Federation".  Simple question...is it?

4J: Ive never played BOTF, so any similarities are not intentional. Having said that, BOTF seems to be a game that is still loved by the Star Trek fan-base, so if we get a fraction of the loyalty it receives wed be delighted!

7: Was there, at any time any thoughts in the guys heads at 4J that this game could possibly be ported to the PC for the PC Star Trek games market?

4J: No. Conquest was only designed and destined for the PS2 and Wii consoles.

8: Touching back to the classic BotF (Birth of the Federation) game, the "galaxy" was highly customisable, map size, different styles of galaxy, minor races spread etc etc.  Will Conquests "galaxy" in the game have options to make the game longer and shorter much like BotF had?

4J: Yes. Dependant on the number of races you wish to compete against, the galaxy map scales allowing for shorter games.

9: Voice talents and Musical Score.  Any famous Star Trek actors/actresses coming to make appearances in the game by lending their voice talents?  Also, (another major question from the official boards) who's going to be scoring the music for Conquest?

4J: We do have plenty of VO in the game, but we dont have any famous role reprisals. For the music, weve hired Michael Shapiro to create new tracks for this title.

10: The fans are rather glad that 4J is once again stepping into Star Trek with another title.  Encounters was well received by the critics and players alike.  Gameplay for Encounters was mostly straight forward.  Will the overall gameplay for Conquest be easy to pick up and take in for the lions share of the Wii players (and just under half of the PS2 players) who are "casual gamers"?

4J: Absolutely. Compared to Encounters, we have a much simpler control system for Arcade Mode so I think any player will be able to pop the disc into the console and enjoy the game.

11: Lastly...If Bethesda was to dump a couple of suitcases filled with (not $$$$ cause is worth more...bahahahaha) and tell you in a memo to "knock yourselves out guys" what kind of game would you like to build from the ground up for the Star Trek franchise and which platform would it be on?

4J: Platform-wise: 4J is console developer so wed be happiest on 360, PS3, or Wii.

Game-wise: Its hard to say as were really happy with the titles weve already created. Maybe expand on a title weve already created?

Star Trek Gamers would like to thank Frank Arnott of 4J and Erin Losi of Bethesda for the interview.

 


 


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