Another star trek game

By mdcobbin 20 years ago, last updated 7 years ago

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stgd have had an interview with Paramounts Mr Harry Lang, Executive Director, Interactive Product Development for Paramount Pictures. Heres the interview STGD/STGU: Which of the companies take a more active role in the game production process, is it Paramount or Viacom themselves and what kind of input do they have? Harry Lang: I work for Viacom Consumer Products (VCP) which is the licensing division for Paramount Pictures. VCP is directly responsible for all Star Trek merchandise including games. Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures but does not take an active role in game development. Some of the show creators do consult on various aspects of the process. However it is VCP that is primarily involved in the game production process. STGD/STGU: Given the slow death of the online community for Bridge Commander, Armada 1 and Birth of the Federation and the vast majority of the gaming fleets of Star Trek who keep the online world alive moving to games outside of Star Trek, what will Paramount (or Viacom) do to get these old time gamers back into the Star Trek fold remembering that a lot of them have simply turned there back on Trek gaming? Harry Lang: By creating Star Trek games that make sense. We're working on an initiative that is very exciting and by its nature, embraces the Star Trek gaming community. STGD/STGU: What do you say to the folks who think that Star Trek gaming is dead? Harry Lang: I say wait a few months and they will see it is not. STGD/STGU: You have said that "things will get better", is there any rough timescale for when things will start to get better? Harry Lang: I can't give you a "timetable," I don't want to make promises we can't keep…but there should be news before year-end. STGD/STGU: What is your own role in the Trek Gaming franchise and how did you first get into it? Harry Lang: As the Executive Director of Interactive Product Development, I am directly responsible for approving all aspects of game development including greenlighting the concept and approving story, art, technology, gameplay, marketing, packaging, etc, etc…even the actual developer. Basically everything that goes in to the creation and marketing of a game. I work with the publishers and developers to ensure they have the resources they need from Paramount as well as ensure they are making a great Star Trek game. Part of that involves a close collaboration throughout development and contributing to the creative process. I got a lucky break 7 years ago when an entry-level position in interactive product development opened up at VCP. I was already working for VCP in another capacity. They knew I was a fan of the show and a gamer so it was a perfect fit. Since that time, I have risen to my current position with various training in game development, seminars, conferences, a lot of reading, and learning everyday on the job working with a variety of publishers and developers. STGD/STGU: What do you see the future of Trek gaming to be? Harry Lang: I see it being very focused. You probably won't see multiple publishers out there releasing numerous titles competing with each other. And likewise, you probably won't see all games under one publisher. We're taking a very different approach this time and I'm confident the community will see the benefits right away. STGD/STGU: Do you have any messages for the fleets, modders and gamers of Star Trek who are feeling lost and bewildered due to the current state of Trek gaming? Harry Lang: Don't give up! We have some interesting ideas on how to get the community involved going forward and it is our hope to be able to share this with you very soon. STGD/STGU: In the past, the fan base of Trek games were kind of out of the loop in a lot of the game design and development. A lot of the fleets want a "special" kind of game which would be able to fit into the budget of the developers. Will there be a chance of new developers and publishers listening to the fans and gaining ideas and input from them? Harry Lang: Everyone wants something to fit his or her own tastes and we wish we could offer such an alternative. Unfortunately, developing a specific game for a specific group is very difficult. There are and have been focus groups who give input, I regularly visit a variety of message boards, and the developers will listen to what the fans are talking about and do their best to incorporate a variety of ideas. It is our goal to create great games the fans enjoy. What else is there? It's what we all want. STGD/STGU: Looking to the world of games outside of Star Trek ... Star Wars Galaxies and games like BF 1942 have lured a lot of the Trek gamers over to there side, a lot of fleets still in Trek games are also playing those games in different divisions of there fleets. Fleets like RS, SFC, RS, RNGD and the likes have all jumped the divide to gain more members. These games are immensely popular ... would a future game for Star Trek have aspects of these games? Like Pay To Play, MMORPG and the likes? Harry Lang: It's definitely possible. STGD/STGU: In the past, the games licenses were split into the actual series. Interplay, Activision, MicroProse, S&S all had there "cut" of the franchise. Due to this multi-spanning games were not really feasible so early games like Starfleet Command, Starfleet Academy, Klingon Academy and even the later games like Armada, and Elite Force had to be tied down to the series that the particular publisher had. Many Trek gamers and modders -- as well as Webmasters of Trek fan sites like STGD (*cough*...blatant advertisement...*cough*) would like to see games that would "span" the eras. Much like mods are doing for SFC 3 with multi-eras spanning TOS, TMP and TNG. If Paramount is going for several publishers instead of one, will this same hindrance of single series license packs continue? Or will only 1 single publisher hold all of them? Harry Lang: I mentioned above about our intentions to really focus Star Trek game development going forward. Whether or not any future games encompass all eras or just one remains to be seen. We have to consider that many fans prefer one era to another. Will they be disappointed or turned off if a game spans multiple eras? It's something we think about when making our decisions. It's not out of the question but a concept that must be carefully considered. STGD/STGU: The big issue ... bugs. The last few games for Star Trek have been received poorly by the gamers. A lot of bugs were found in the games which gave ST gaming a lot of bad reviews. Would Paramount take a more tighter control of QC (Quality Control) in any new games which may appear in the future? Or will it be left to the publisher and developer again? Harry Lang: Paramount/VCP does not have it's own QC department. Our partners do have QC departments and spend hundreds of hours playtesting each game. We also play all the games on our computers. But as you know, there are many, many different computer configurations. We do understand the frustration with bugs and it's our intention to be as diligent as possible in identifying and fixing problems prior to release. STGD/STGU: The PC gaming industry is really ground level now, but there appears to be much potential in this area of gaming. What will Paramount do to promote PC gaming worldwide? Harry Lang: We plan to effectively utilize some of our own divisions and licensees to get the word out and keep more fans up to date. Startrek.com can be a great resource for official information. There's also the Official Fan Club, Pocketbooks, our Star Trek wireless licensee, as well as other licensees worldwide. With a co-ordinated effort we have great resources with which to reach the fans and keep them informed. STGD/STGU: The European market in many cases appears to be larger than the US Trek gaming market. Are there plans to target the Europeans with future Trek games or will the focus remain always on the U.S. market? Harry Lang: The focus has been and will continue to be on a worldwide market. Just as the principles of Star Trek are about bringing everyone together in harmony and peace, exploration and discovery, infinite diversity in infinite combinations - our goal is to recreate this illustrious franchise for all to enjoy.

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