Aside from the hugely popular MMORPG Star Trek Online, there has never been a truly great Star Trek video game (and there have been some terrible ones) in the last two decades, but with its upcoming release, the tide could soon turn for Star Trek: Resurgence “.
This interactive storytelling game comes courtesy of Dramatic Labs and presents an original space story set in the aftermath of the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which players attempt to solve a mystery involving two colliding planets extraterrestrial civilizations rotates. It is slated for release this spring for PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Xbox Series X/S.
Dramatic Labs is an independent studio comprised of over 20 writers, developers, designers, artists and producers from ex-Telltale games (“The Walking Dead”, “Game of Thrones”).
Star Trek: Resurgence, and its only epic story unfolding with two separate characters, should be familiar to fans of Telltale’s distinctive style of decision-making gameplay, with certain upgrades and refinements built into this new venture.
In addition to an all-new crew aboard the Federation starship USS Resolute in 2380, the game features guest appearances from popular characters like Ambassador Spock and species like Vulcans, the Tril and Cardassians. Players control the actions and decisions of First Officer Jara Rydek and Engineer Carter Diaz, with each crew member’s decisions affecting the other’s ultimate path.
Space.com spoke to Dramatic Labs Cinematic Director, Kent Mudle, and Lead Writer, Dan Martin, about the fusion of modern gameplay techniques with vintage “Star Trek” storytelling, and what fans can expect from the game’s art style and tone.
Space.com: Can you take us into the storyline of the new game at warp speed?
Daniel Martin: In Star Trek: Resurgence” The USS Resolute makes its way to the edge of the galaxy, where two neighboring civilizations stand on the brink of war. But while the Resolute crew work on peace negotiations, they discover a sinister conspiracy lurking beneath the surface.
Space.com: What elements of the “Star Trek” experience were most important to capture and respect?
DM: We want Resurgence to have a broad spectrum of elements that make you think of when you close your eyes and picture Star Trek. And our team has taken tremendous care to ensure that the look and sound of Trek is right. We’ve got tricorders, phasers, shuttles… But at its core, “Star Trek” is about relationships and the tough decisions of command – whether you’re meeting them as a starship captain or as a ground force with you back against a wall.
So it was crucial to give the Resolute a crew you’d want to be a part of, but also one that would challenge the player when it comes to making tough decisions, in the way Spock and McCoy drive and pull Captain Kirk’s decision-making.
Kent Mudle: I must add that it was an honor to portray Spock. From the voice acting to the character design to capturing his very special facial expressions and mannerisms, we put a lot of love into bringing Spock to life. We know he’s under the scrutiny of fans and we hope we’ve met their expectations.
Space.com: How did you become a Star Trek fan and what personal associations did you bring to the gameplay of Resurgence?
DM: There really wasn’t a time when I wasn’t a Star Trek fan. I got into this as a kid when I saw the first episode of The Next Generation. Probably because it was the only thing on in that time slot besides the local news! But I quickly found that Star Trek had adventure, camaraderie, humor and mystery – and I was addicted to it. Then, in the era of DVD box sets, I had to rediscover it. And again when streaming came along and the entire collection was just a click away. Now there’s tons of new Star Trek to feed a very dedicated fanbase, and we’re proud to be a part of it.
Overall, these early glimpses of adventure, camaraderie, humor, and mystery have all had an impact on the game and its narrative. And there are so many indelible moments from the classic “Trek” that you’d have a hard time telling a story in this universe without paying homage to them, or at least being influenced by a few.
KM: Enterprise was my first Trek show, followed by the 2009 film, then I got into TNG and the TOS films. When I started this project, I very seriously dived into the source material and fell in love with it all over again. Even after all this time, the classic Star Trek feels fresh.
As Cinematic Director, I wanted to incorporate many of the visual cues that make the classics feel the way they do, from the locked cameras and clever blocking of the TV shows to the more elaborate camerawork and visual effects in the films. First Contact quickly became my benchmark for cinematic presentation of the game.
Space.com: What can players expect from the graphic style and how did you come to the final decision?
KM: We wanted to make a game that, at first glance, is undeniably Star Trek. We took inspiration from the shows and movies related to our game and went just a little beyond that into a style we call Idealized Realism. This style allows us to have believable, expressive characters and environments that feel like you can actually walk around them and touch the carpet in the hallways. Every element that could be created by referencing the source material was there, and where we needed to expand on that we took care to make it logical.
Space.com: Can you discuss more about the game’s characters and choice-based narrative?
DM: Players will experience Star Trek: Resurgence from the perspective of two characters: Jara Rydek, the new First Officer on the Resolute; and Carter Diaz, a crew member of enlist in engineering. As players inhabit both of these characters, they can explore mysteries and unravel the story from two very different angles, each with unique challenges. Players will see certain characters in different lighting conditions, and it’s exciting to show two sides of life aboard the spaceship.
As First Officer, Jara is tasked with carrying out the Captain’s orders, but is also in the best position to push them back, so this is a dynamic role for the player to step into. We knew fans would want to be on the bridge, a spaceship — right in the middle of the action. But I always thought it was cool when the shows focused on lower tier characters who have their own stories. Carter’s world will have a different atmosphere to that of the executives, and he will have different actions to perform than Jara on the bridge.
KM: The reason we went for an all new crew and ship is to give the player space to tell their own story. Any character that has appeared in canon would not be as malleable or have as many role-playing options while still respecting “Star Trek” canon. We hope that by the end of the game, players will be able to say that MY Carter or MY Jara is different from other players.
I’ll also add that aside from building relationships and defining your protagonists, you’ll be faced with dramatic life-or-death choices. The story goes to big places and the stakes get very high, where your decision can determine the fate of your crew and your enemies.
Space.com: What have been some of the more surprising challenges and rewards in adapting this new Star Trek game?
DM: Well, we knew at the beginning of this project that one of the biggest challenges would be living up to the great legacy of a franchise with such a passionate fan base. One surprising challenge was finding alien names – even more so for the established “Star Trek” civilizations than the ones we invented for the game. And while it was a dream to work on this project, it was surprisingly rewarding to write all the little details and textures that make it feel like you’re really on a Starfleet ship.
KM: “Star Trek has been canon for years, and we’ve constantly checked ourselves to make sure we respect it. I’ve had a lot of “Has a phaser ever done THAT?” moments while working on the game. In a way, it was like working on a piece of historical fiction, but the story is set in a fictional universe. I know more about Star Trek details than I ever thought possible and it was a pleasure to learn.
Star Trek: Resurgence is coming to PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and Xbox Series X/S later this year. Be sure to stay with us for more updates on the game as we get closer to release.
You should also check out some of our other Star Trek content, including our rundown of the Star Trek movies ranked worst to best, along with our guide to watching the Star Trek movies in chronological order. Resistance is futile!