A HardTalk series special
with MadDoc Software's Dr. Ian Lane Davis &
Pete Hines, VP of PR and Marketing at Bethesda Softworks
With all eyes turned on MadDoc and Bethesda for Star Trek Legacy and Star
Trek Tactical Assault the folks, ok...Katie...from STG decided to put together a
Q&A session which was sent to Bethesda. We would like to thank Erin Losi
and ofcourse Dr Ian Lane Davis for there time in this interview, by the looks of
it the first interview for a star trek gaming site.
These questions were sent out with BOTH legacy and assault in mind, however
most of the questions are directed towards Legacy rather than Tactical Assault.
Please do NOT copy and paste the whole interview if you are reporting on this
STG HardTalk special...just take a few questions and link back. I'll be
keeping an eye on the trek gaming sites who are famous for copying and pasting
entire interviews with no links back!
1: First of all, for the folks who don't know which games Bethesda have
done in the past give us a short list of the top games Bethesda have published
:) (question answered by Pete Hines of Bethesda)
We’ve been around for 20 years, so we aren’t exactly the new kids on the block.
We’ve been doing this a long time. We’re best known for our own Elder Scrolls
franchise of games that we develop internally, including the upcoming title
Oblivion for PC and Xbox 360: www.elderscrolls.com.
2: A lot of people in the online trek gaming world recognize the developers
of MadDoc and Quicksilver. Both these developers have developed now classic
games in the ST franchise. Did Bethesda contact them, or did Paramount/CBS
already have them working on these games when you came aboard? (question
answered by Pete Hines of Bethesda)
We were in contact with both of them directly, separate from our talks with
3: Star Trek®: Legacy and Tactical Assault, are they "complete builds" (new
game engine) or are they based on existing gaming engines, if so, what engines
are they based on?
At Mad Doc®, we’re capitalizing on our years and years of experience with Star
Trek games, and we’ve actually been working on the core graphics engine for
Legacy as its own new engine since 2002. Now we have platforms powerful enough
to give us a result that looks downright cinematic – it’s why we’re doing the
big push on Legacy and the game engine now. And let me just say, it’s paying
off, because the game is looking spectacular!
4: The biggest confusion with both Legacy and Tactical Assault is the genre
class. Legacy is said to be a full out RTS game (like Armada), as for Tactical
Assault, well, no one really knows, can you shed any light on it?
Let me take a moment to clear up the confusion on Legacy, because it really is
not a full out RTS, rather – it’s a hybrid. You see, Star Trek: Legacy is the
Star Trek game I’ve always wanted to make: the best possible gaming
representation of Trek fleet combat. We started by asking the right question,
“How should Star Trek combat play out?” Then, we built the game from there
without pinning it into any one genre. We didn’t want to compromise the
experience by tying it too closely to some predetermined genre’s conceits. Think
of it this way: if you say, “We’re making an RTS game,” then you’re bound by RTS
conventions that don’t really make sense in Star Trek (you can’t build a
Sovereign Class starship in 30 seconds in Trek reality). So, when any game
design question came up, we asked two questions: 1) Is this fun? and 2) Is this
Trek? Anything that didn’t fit both of those categories was cut. Legacy is part
squad shooter, part action game, part strategy game…and it’s all Trek combat all
5: Do Legacy and Tactical Assault have multiplay capability on the console
platforms? (a little bit of confusion about that as well).
Legacy will fully support multiplay on both PC and the Xbox 360.
6: Star Trek: Legacy on the PC...the all important question for people on
PCs, do you have any idea what the minimum system requirements will be for
Legacy on the PC?
Sorry, it’s too early in the game’s development cycle to say. When we can, we’ll
let you know.
7: Star Trek: Legacy PC and XBOX (more so for the PC I think). Will players
be able to run game servers which will be constantly up and allow people to
join/leave as they wish or will multiplay be like Armada II, when the game ends
a new game will have to be created?
Star Trek: Legacy’s multi-player will be “mission-based”… That is, you start
with your ships and play out a battle over either one map, or multiple maps
(with our multiple solar system “Tug-of-War” mode). There is no joining during
the game…it would be too unbalancing to jump into the middle of a battle with
your fleet of ships.
8: Star Trek: Legacy (PC Version) The big question...will Legacy for the PC
be "modable", in other words will Legacy have the capability to have new ships
added by the players/modders? If so, will Bethesda or Mad Doc release simple
modding tools to help the modders out?
We’re not announcing plans yet, but we fully intend to support our community, as
they’ve supported us all these years!
9: Star Trek: Legacy & Tactical Assault...The music score for the games, what
kind of music will be running in the game and who is scoring it?
Music is a very important part of the Star Trek universe. That said, expect the
score of Legacy to immerse you deeply into epic and cinematic gameplay. Can’t
give more details just yet on who’s scoring the game, you’ll have to wait!
10: ST Legacy & Tactical Assault...Will the single play campaigns have
multiple endings depending on the choices of the player throughout the game?
We want players to focus on the era-spanning storyline that we have in the
works. That said, progression through the campaign storyline will be linear.
Note, however, that the player can also play Single Player Tug-of-War campaigns
which can span many battles.
11: Star Trek: Legacy & Tactical Assault...Will multiplay be map/mission
based (like Starfleet Command's dynaverse) or will it be free flight combat
(like Bridge Commander)?
The core MP battles are map-based, although we currently have multiple
multiplayer modes in development. One such mode is Tug-Of-War, which will span
multiple maps and allow a player’s fleet to persist across multiple skirmishes
and across multiple systems. In individual multiplayer maps, players will have a
slew of options and win conditions to set, creating endless possibilities.
12: Star Trek: Legacy...In Starfleet Command 3 the ship under the player’s
control had head crew whose "experience" added to, or subtracted from the ships
basic fundamentals like power, weapons damage ETC. Will Legacy have something
similar, or will all the ships have the same base settings?
Great question! In Legacy, we feel players should become strongly attached to
their ships – they’re not cannon fodder. During missions, players will earn
command points which can be used to upgrade their ships between missions. Over
time, their fleet will grow and become even more powerful based on the
persistent qualities of their ships. There will be multiple areas in which you
can upgrade your ships, and lots of cool special abilities will become
available. Since Legacy spans a far greater timeline than any other Trek game,
most of the bonuses are tied up in the ship, though, and not in crew (who would
be constantly changing given the large timeframe).
13: ST: Tactical Assault...The screenshots had a lot of people thinking
"Starfleet command 3" is Tactical Assault similar to Quicksilver’s original
masterpiece, Starfleet Command?
While Tactical Assault has several things in common with Starfleet Command, it
has been redesigned and reengineered for a whole new generation of fans. Veteran
players will find much of the depth they love intact, but the learning curve and
controls have been greatly improved. They will also find an improved story and
In fact most of the missions will have several different ways they can be
completed. A lot of players will go into this game just destroying any enemy in
their path, where some will find it’s much more effective to investigate the
issue at hand and try to find a different solution.
14: ST: Legacy for the PC...PC games for the Star Trek franchise from 2000 to
2003 had a reputation of being...well...horrendously buggy. Patches for these
games was few and far between. What is Bethesda's patching policy for Legacy on
the PC? Will it be one single patch and no others, or will you patch all the
major bugs the players report until you are satisfied with the result?
Because Legacy is being developed as a console title as well, the PC version
will benefit from the extra scrutiny applied to console games which must work
cleanly right out of the box.
16: ST Legacy & Tactical Assault...How far along are both games in
development, still sticking to a 2006 release date?
Things are moving along nicely on Legacy, we’re currently in heavy production
mode (late nights, lots of Thai food, think soda and coffee – anything involving
caffeine). Star Trek: Legacy is slated for release this September to coincide
with the 40th anniversary of the epic series, and the team here at Mad Doc’s
pushing hard to create an amazing gameplay experience for fans!
17: ST: Legacy on the PC...Multiplay, where will it take place? Gamespy? Or
will it be a stand alone platform in the game itself?
The specifics for online play for the PC version are still in development.
18: General support for both games online...Will Bethesda be running online
game tournaments or will you rely on the community sites for events of that
Actual tournaments and such are still TBD, but you can expect some level of
cooperation with the existing Trek community.