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10 Reasons Why Telltale Games Should Make The Next Star Trek Game

Telltale Games should take the helm and make it so that they engage in the creation of the Star Trek game with their own unique spin.

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Introduction

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Telltale Games are the new darlings of the video gaming world – certainly in terms of roleplaying games. They have managed to sculpt a string of great games together in a format which has been similar throughout, simple but somehow revolutionary; Telltale Games may just be changing the way roleplaying video games are played in the future, they could even be making a genre of their own. The episodic release mimicking the TV series that the games are based on and managing to capture the drama and flick the same kind of hooks which get people immersed into what they are playing.

For a while now I have often lamented the fact that there has never been a true roleplaying Star Trek game (Yes. Rather sadly, I have really thought about this and what a shame it is), at the risk of sounding controversial I would also say that there has never been a truly *great* Star Trek game at all. I have recently been in awe at the games that Telltale have produced in The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, being a big fan of RPGs and Star Trek to begin with and taking into account my aforementioned romanticism, it was only a matter of time before this idea came to fruition in my head – how good would it be to have a Star Trek game made by Telltale Games? Imagine the drama, choices, conundrums, choices and repercussions but on a galactic scale!

Upon becoming more interested in online "list" articles and as the author to several half-baked novel ideas, I thought "why not try my hand at combining all of these aspects?" In order to convey my argument for why Telltale Games should make the next Star Trek game I am going to have to boldly go where no man has gone before.

10. It has already been speculated

s28.postimg.org / Via telltalegames.com

In season 2: episode 3 of The Walking Dead game we see a delivery truck adorning a logo of a storage company, forums across the internet have caught onto the fact that the logo looks almost identical in its shape and markings to the Star Trek’s Starfleet Command logo, including what appears to be a starry background. Get it? Space. SPACE! As in a storage company housing your goods in space or the very expanding vastness of the terrifyingly beautiful void that lies beyond our physical and mental comprehension. The logo also contains a cardboard box which when placed against the backdrop is reminiscent of the iconic Borg cube which flies around assimilating every species it can into its consensus. The real kicker is the name of the fictional company this truck belongs to – Land Trek.

As speculated by others, this could be a possible teaser from Telltale giving a hint at a potential future game, or it could just be an Easter egg that means nothing, a meaningless nod and wink to the much loved Trek series. We won’t know the answer for sure until time permits.

9. Could pose a new challenge for Telltale

What we’ve seen so far and are going to see in future announced games from Telltale in their most recognisable titles include the genres of horror, fantasy and action/adventure. An all-out science fiction title would be something that the company has not embarked on yet, you could say that this would be the… final fonti—no. I really shouldn’t.

I, for one, think the universe and gleaming starships would look rather beautiful in their signature cel shaded format. Taking on the Star Trek franchise would certainly be the company’s biggest challenge to date but if what we’ve seen so far is anything to go by they’ll do the series proud.

8. Star Trek games need something fresh

There have been quite a number of Star Trek games released over the years of varying genre and styles, but there has never been an out-and-out roleplaying game for Star Trek before, which is arguably most relevant to Star Trek taking into consideration the television series. However not many of these games have particularly stood out as being great, even the video game gifted to the newest incarnation of the Star Trek movie was lacklustre.

The games often fall back on shooting people with phasers or locked in starship battles and bar a few interestingly unique games such as the point and click adventure game Star Trek: A Final Unity (1995) and the interactive Star Trek: Borg and Star Trek: Klingon series (1996) few other games have gone beyond the gun slinging gimmick. One of the more revered Star Trek games to be made, Elite Force, constantly teased us with glimpses of being a roleplaying game with somewhat immersive areas and limited character interactivity but it never really capitalised on this and for the most part all it amounted to was a decent FPS at best. And the Star Trek version of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ released in 2012 is not what I had in mind either.

7. It could appeal to fans of any incarnation

In this conceptual game you might be wondering which one of the series it could be set in, but the answer to that could simply be that it could take place in any of the given series… or none of them at all.

I would happily see and play a game like this in any of the past Star Trek series and submerge myself into the universe contained in futuristic starships that I have been watching for so long, I think a lot of fans of the series would. Now, I realise that there are those fans that have their favourite series or some who even hate particular series’ of the show, but this needn’t cause a civil war between the Trekkie cosplayers and the real life role-players. For this theoretical game would not necessarily be set in any of the past series but showcase a whole new Starfleet cast and crew entirely, the universe is certainly big enough to facilitate such an idea and could perhaps even make for a better game – we know that Telltale are capable of crafting a great story with fantastic characters. Sure, playing through the ships of old and interacting with well-loved existing characters would be amazing but a totally new setting could be very powerful and a rather poetic response to how the Star Trek TV series’ have somewhat lost their edge and fallen out of favour in modern times, with engrossing video games being the new form of “must-experience” entertainment.

6. Galactic-sized potential

Continuing on from the previous point, it is quite self-evident that the Star Trek franchise is enormous with the fans being some of the most well-known (along with fans of a certain other famous space opera). The franchise began in 1966 and the last televised series was in 2005, not including the movies which are still going to this day, that’s still a long time with a wealth of material to explore. A game based around each series might sound far-fetched or even OTT, but there could certainly be a story to tell within each of them and even if it only included the considered “classics” such as the Original Series and The Next Generation you would have to assume that the game would take us into aspects of the characters which were not delved into during the shows. This would ring even truer should there be an entirely new crew.

And I hate to say this for fear of sounding like a pushy, sleaze-bag salesman but the opportunity to commercially capitalise on this would be immense, in a sense they would be making their own version of Star Trek history and on the presumption that they are successful in doing so you can expect a range of merchandise to follow. When fans get behind something it is almost inevitable, especially when these fans are a rabid as Trekkies.

5. Episodic format would suit it

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Simply put, the episodic nature of the way Telltale Games releases their stuff is natural to making games about television series and this would be no different. Episodes beings released at regular intervals is their calling card with unbearable cliff-hangers you simply can’t wait to see the resolution of.

4. Video game could (boldly) go where series couldn’t

Riker and Kirk in their prime at the bar? Data and Seven of Nine having a conversation about human behaviour? Seriously, the video game could really go where the television series or even actors themselves couldn’t. I know that throughout the years characters from past series have made cameo appearances on others, but more often than not and with no disrespect intended you realise then that you are seeing the actor rather than the character they are portraying. This is especially true when characters try to reprise their roles and carry off being the same age as they were originally, Riker’s appearance in the last episode of Enterprise (and the last televised Star Trek episode to date) is an example, where he was inexplicably interjected into the episode, looking obviously older but we were expected to believe that this was during The Next Generation and the more obvious example of Data, who is an android so theoretically should not age at all.

With the series being on television and with the ordinary viewing public in mind, for the most part Star Trek series’ never had a particularly focused story for more than a few “to be continued” episodes. This was most probably done to make episodes more self-contained and accessible to the average viewer who would not necessarily tune in every week and when they did, to have at least some idea what the hell was going on. With the medium of an episodic video game and fans actively seeking the content out this problem would not exist and there could be longer, fleshed-out stories.

With a game there are no cancellations, no actors aging, no arbitrary ridiculously attractive females in revealing clothing being shoe-horned in due to falling ratings (we don’t necessarily have to get rid of this one), no limitations and what’s more we can have all the possible combinations of past characters making cameos at any point and anywhere throughout the story without the continuity of their wrinkly faces and thicker guts.

3. Telltale have proven themselves

I mentioned earlier the successes that Telltale Games have had and this is to their credit. They have made engrossing, entertaining and immersive games from the rather simple way they present them. They have taken already vastly popular television series/movies and built equally popular entities where other gaming companies may (and often do) fail. Just take a look at the newest and ingeniously named Star Trek: The Video Game for an example and this has been true of many big budget movies past that have attempted to be taken into the world of video games only to come out the other side a clunky, uninspiring, unimaginative shell of the movies they mimic. Video games are the new form of entertainment; the popular Mass Effect series took the best parts of all of our favourite science fiction (Trek, Wars) and constructed a complete masterpiece and rather ironically the new and rebooted Star Trek film franchise seem to be taking some of those ideas back, but this time inspired from a video game which was almost definitely inspired by them! But why are Telltale in particular right for this job? All will be explained in the final 2 points.

2. Choice and consequence

Decisions and their greater impact is what Star Trek is based on, it also happens to be a core theme running throughout the Telltale Games. A kind of simulated Chaos Theory where the choices you make can change the outcome of your path or others. Sometimes you will have to take action within a split second, sometimes you may not choose to do the right thing or something will happen so quickly that you don’t have time to react. This is what I have always found most endearing about Telltale Games – their accurate reflection to real life scenarios in the most subtle ways.

There are numerous examples throughout Star Trek history which brilliantly present moral conundrums and decisions the finest philosophers would find tricky. Such as when Captain Piccard had to defend Commander Data as part of his crew against a renowned scientist who wanted to take him apart for testing, having to prove he was a living being and not simply property. In the Enterprise series the crew found themselves trapped in a particular part of space, their engines failing and in a race against time to travel back and warn Earth of an impending attack, should they ransack a friendly alien ship they had just met of its parts to get back home and potentially save millions back home?

The Prime Directive, as well as any code a video game character is expected to live by makes the contrast even more dramatic when the player is forced in to a position when they must compromise something. This was a common problem characters faced throughout every Star Trek series which leaves the watcher thinking “what would I do?” and Telltale have given ample examples of their ability to recreate these kinds of difficult choices.

1. Telltale’s gameplay style is perfect

Briefly touched upon earlier, the history of Star Trek games paints a very different picture to the series, first-person shooters or starship battles seem to make up the bulk of them with the emphasis being on killing and destroying. The balance exampled in Telltale Games is perfect for a game like Star Trek and they actually follow a similar pattern in terms of the ratio of build-up to action packed scenes.

Throughout the majority of all the Star Trek episodes across the various series’, the main focus has been the characters, reacting to new environments, new life forms and even phenomena that defy the known laws of the universe. In between all of this we get to experience a range of personalities, intergalactic politics, shoot-outs and more. Decisions are perilously weighted on the guidelines of Starfleet to accommodate such complexities as defending your crew, offering aide to those in need, peaceful exploration, the almighty Prime Directive and even more confusingly, the interpretation of these philosophies. All of these can often contradict each other which leads us right into the playbook of Telltale Games – the ones who have presented such situations the best.

Imagine Geordi La Forge scanning spacial anomalies to Bigby Wolf (The Wolf Among Us) examining clues for greater understanding, or Lee Everett (The Walking Dead) deciding who gets to eat and who doesn’t, deciding to potentially endanger himself and the group by staying to try and save Ben or leave him to die. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, these kinds of decisions and moral issues would be absolutely perfect for a Star Trek game, where we could assume that we would take the role of Captain and be faced with questions that have no black or white answers and to simply do what we feel is right. Star Trek is crying-out for a real roleplaying game, with the colourful Starfleet tunics, space dramas and the journey through moral grey areas that come with the greatest unknown, and it is a mission suitable only for Telltale Games.

Live long and prosper.

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