Star Trek Conquest

Recently Frank Arnot, Game Director/Producer from 4J Studios took some time to answer our questions about the new Star Trek Game, Conquest. I want to thank Frank and Kate for their help with this interview.

GVK: What is the background and setting of the game and how does it fit with events that have been established in present Trek timelines and events.

FA: The game is set in a fictional timeline during the Next Generation era that allows for a no holds barred war between all the races. We didn’t want to get into various timelines and events, so as to keep the focus purely on the gameplay.

GVK: How are missions assigned in the game and what sort of missions will players face? What enemies will players encounter?

FA: It’s an empire building game, so combat is not structured into traditional missions. As leader, you choose what forces you deploy and how to apply them to achieve your current goals.

You are at war with five other races, so the types of battles will be things like probing attacks, assassinations (eliminate a high ranking admiral and his fleet), defensive battles, and full on invasions.

GVK: What are some of the ships and weapons players will face?

FA: Each race has three types of ship classes: Scout, Cruiser, and Dreadnaught. Most races can upgrade various aspects of their fleet through tech research, which will yield faster ships or more powerful weapons. Also players can research various Special Weapons which will have a major impact on the balance of power.

GVK: Will any Trek actors be doing voice work for the game?

FA: There is plenty of VO in the game but not from any of the Trek actors. Because Conquest is really a war game, the type of VO is more like that of an RTS. “Order Acknowledged” “Yes, sir” “No, sir”, “Attacking as ordered” etc.

GVK: In development of the game, what have been the biggest obstacles and also the greatest triumphs?

FA: The most difficult aspect was picking and choosing which aspects of a strategy game to keep and which to drop. I would say the biggest triumph was getting the Wii combat controls to feel just right. We went through several revisions to get to where we are now and learned a lot about the Wii controller in the process.

GVK: How will resource management be handled in the game?

FA: We wanted to keep the resources very limited so you could focus your time on major decisions, not micro management. The main resource is money…pure and simple. The secondary resource is tech. When you choose to develop a planet you must choose between money and tech, or to put it another way, more stuff or better stuff.

GVK: What difference if any will there be between the Wii and PS2 version of the game and what are some of the special movies players can do with the Wii

FA: Content wise, both game are the same. The control scheme is where the difference lies. On the PS2 you use the Analog Sticks and directional pad to hop around the map and control your ships in combat. The PS2 version uses a somewhat traditional move and fire system.

On the Wii, you can use the Remote like a mouse on the galactic map – pointing and clicking on whatever you choose. In combat, the Nunchuk steers the ship and the remote allows for pinpoint targeting and firing of all your weapons. It works quite well and plays to the strengths of the Wii Remote.

GVK: Will players be able to play races other than the Federation?

FA: Absolutely. You can play as the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Dominion, Cardassians, and the Breen. Each has their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

GVK: Will super weapons be a part of the game, and if so what can players look forward to?

FA: Special Weapons play a big part in the game. Each race has three weapons to choose from – some with obvious primary uses and sometimes sinister secondary uses.

Game wise, they act as a sort of balancer. There are few things that level the playing field like detonating a Genesis Device on someone’s Home World or sending an invasion fleet through a wormhole for a surprise visit.

GVK: How will ship and technology upgrades be handled?

FA: During the game, you can construct Research Stations. Each Research Station provides a tech point each turn. These points can be spent on one of several upgrades. The more stations you have, the faster you can tech up.

GVK: Would you say the game is closer to RTS style games like Command and Conquer or more like the classic Master of Orion series?

FA: It’s somewhat of a hybrid. Definitely closer to a Master of Orion type game in that you build up your empire and expand and upgrade as you conquer territory. But it’s like an RTS in that the pacing is much quicker and the action more intense. You don’t wait around for 30 turns before the action starts and it doesn’t take 200 hours of play to complete a campaign.

I think the best comparison is more like the board game Axis and Allies. You get a grand strategic element mixed with this cool, tactical level combat system — all in a package that you can play over and over.

Thank you.