LOS ANGELES — "Star Trek Online" is finally goingwarp speed ahead.
After years in development limbo, the"Trek"-themed massively multiplayer online game will engage,according to game developer Cryptic Studios Inc.
Jack Emmert, Cryptic Chief Creative Officer, said playerswill begin "Star Trek Online" as the captain of a small Starfleet orKlingon Empire ship. They can customize their characters from pre-existing"Trek" species — from Klingonsto Gorn — and can create entirely new alien races. As they progress throughthe game, players can increase in rank and gain larger vessels and more crew.
"You'll venture through space exploring newcivilizations and life-forms," said Emmert. "You'll also beam down toplanets and have adventures inside your ship. It's a galactic-wide game. There'sgoing to be tons of space to investigate. We have a great system forexploration, which will allow for almost infinite possibilities."
Cryptic recently announced it had secured the rights todevelop and publish "Star Trek Online" from CBS Consumer Productsafter now-defunct Perpetual Entertainment set the besieged project to kill.
"We had a friendly relationship with them," Emmertsaid. "As it became apparent they weren't going to continue to function,they decided to sell off the license. We swooped in and grabbed it. We took noassets. There was nothing to be had, to be honest. We're building everythingfrom the ground up."
Players will also be able to battle against other vessels inlaser-blasting, missile-firing deep space scuffles reminiscent of "TheWrath of Khan" and the Dominion War in "Deep Space Nine."Because the game will be set a few generations following the last "Trek"film, players shouldn't expect to run into James T. Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard.
"There might be a ship called Enterprise flying around,but it's probably not the same ship anymore," said Emmert. "Most ofthe characters will have either retired or passed on, but you'll definitely begoing to all the places you know and love from 'Star Trek.'Expect to see oldies like Vulcan and Bajor but also fan favorites like Andoriaand Qo'noS."
Emmert plans to unveil footage and more details about "StarTrek Online" — which has no release date set — with Leonard Nimoy at a"Star Trek" convention Sunday in Las Vegas at the Gene RoddenberryTheater inside the Las Vegas Hilton. The "Star Trek Online" panelwill also be broadcast live at StarTrekOnline.com.
"You're going to see the actual game working andfunctioning," said Emmert. "This isn't renders. This isn't conceptart. Everything that people will see on Sunday is going to be taken right from'Star Trek Online' as it stands today, so hardened people should know that arelease date might be closer than they think."
Cryptic, the developer originally responsible for "Cityof Heroes" and "City of Villains," is also working on thesuperhero-themed online game "Champions Online," scheduled forrelease for Windows PC and Xbox 360 next year. Emmert said "Star TrekOnline" would definitely be available for Windows PC and perhaps Xbox 360or PlayStation 3.
Otheronline games based on popular entertainment franchises include "The Lordof the Rings Online," ''The Matrix Online," ''Pirates of theCaribbean Online" and "Star WarsGalaxies." Sony Online Entertainment is currently developing "DCUniverse Online" while MGM Interactive is working on "StargateWorlds."
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