'Star Trek: Legacy' Writer Talks Trek Gaming Past and PresentBy Michelle
October 18, 2006 - 9:24 PM
Derek Chester, the co-writer for Bethesda Softworks' first two Star Trek games, said that many years as a gamer and fan can actually create conflicts of interest when creating a professional product.
"As a gamer, especially one who's played great games like [Starfleet Command], you really want any project to be innovative and fun. However, as a writer, you also have a great wish to keep it Trek, and within the boundaries of canon," Chester explained to GameDaily. "Balancing those concerns is sometimes difficult...but I think that my experience as a gamer has made it easier for me to find creative and plausible ways to 'bend' canon to suit gameplay if needed. But I would never advocate something that wasn't Trek in its nature."
Chester worked with famous Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana on the story for Star Trek: Legacy, which spans all five televised series and introduces a new Vulcan villain. A gamer since the days of the Apple IIe and Commodore 64, Chester enjoyed Starfleet I on the Commodore 64 and Starfleet Command on later computers. "Starfleet Command, the original of course, was just mind blowing in that it took the old SFB game and translated that into a tactical combat game that really gave you full control of a starship and let you determine the best course of action in battle," he recalled. "Loved that, and it shocked me how good it truly was when I played it...DS9: The Fallen had a sense of intrigue and adventure with a great blend of action that really made you get the sense of the darkness in the Deep Space Nine series. Again, a seamless blend of gameplay elements that made you believe you were in a Trek environment and story."
Because he came with such a breadth of gaming experience, Chester said, "it gives me a sense of understanding as to what IS and ISN'T a good idea for gameplay. As an example you could potentially waste a lot of time writing a piece that can't be implemented in a way that's fun...the ultimate goal is of course to have a seamless blend of story and gameplay that compliment, not overshadow one another. Especially with Star Trek, given its large following and the responsibility we have to be as true to Gene's vision as possible."
Though Tactical Assault is more combat-oriented than Legacy and Chester describes it as "a smaller project in scope", he adds that that game, too, "has been a joy to write for, and I believe Dorothy feels the same...it offers a compelling story that also allows YOU to choose where you go, what you do and ultimately how it all turns out. I feel that Star Trek gamers can truly lose themselves in this game."
Chester's goal was to create games like his old favorites that "succeeded in making me feel like I was living an episode, and participating in the adventure and the discovery at the same time." He believes that the three Bethesda titles, Legacy, Tactical Assault and Encounters as well as the upcoming original MMORPG, Star Trek Online, "are endeavoring to bring something unique to Trek, and build upon the sum of over forty years of great stories and characters...if great care is taken with Trek, it can excel in the gaming arena, and bring experiences second to none with its rich history and universe."
The original interview is here.