Star Trek: Infinite Space is Gameforge’s first game that has resulted from their announced coup of gaining an extensive cooperation agreement with US television network CBS to publish browser-based Star Trek games. Developed by Keen Games in Frankfurt and in close cooperation with Star Trek screenwriter Lee Sheldon; Star Trek: Infinite Space is expected to launch into open beta in summer, 2011.
Built on the Unity 3D engine and delivered on the web-browser, the game is a tactical action MMO, and set in the time period of the Deep Space Nine television series. A more war-like time with shifting alliances and the conflict with the Dominion that provided the tension for not only the main storyline but side quests and battle scenarios as well. Players start off by choosing a faction, either Federation or Klingon and start as a Captain of a small vessel, upgrading their ships and unlocking new ones as well as new officers. Players create and customize their avatars as well as their ready rooms and are able to walk about star bases, but combat is ship based.
The game is set in the universe of Deep Space Nine, around season three and players can expect to find and interact with iconic characters in the game. Likenesses of the actors are in the game, but voice talent was not yet revealed. In the demo, we responded to a call by Captain Sisko to assist the Defiant. Jumping into our ship, we were greeting with a “warping sequence” which was in essence, a loading screen, showing our vessel pull away from star base into warp speed. Details were not forthcoming as the game is still in closed beta, but we saw during the demo, that quests could have several options and before we decided which option we would select, we could mouse over them and perform a skill check, based on the skill of our ship officers, which showed the probability of success.
As expected for a browser-based game, controls are simple with WASD or mouse navigation and all actions accomplished with mouse clicks. In space, navigation is 2-D on a gorgeous 3-D rendition of space, also using the conventional WASD keys or the mouse to move and engage in combat. So no, no “Picard Maneuver.” Monetization is micro-transaction based and cash-shop items are customizations as well as consumables and items to save time, such as xp boosts.
There are three basic mission types in Star Trek: Infinite Space: Free exploration where one might find resource nodes, alien life forms, asteroids and planets, battle scenarios where players are directed to attack or defend ships or bases, beat up a Borg cube and such, as well as the storyline quests which are the more involved quests as these are the main story missions that direct you to various other sectors of the universe and side-quests that come from it.
The game is designed as a tactical game and the load out of a ship and choice of weapons is important to a battle, for example, using phasers to take down shields, then deploying torpedoes to do the most hull damage. Cloaking, we were told, is not only limited to the Klingon Bird of Prey, but provided to certain high level Federation ships as well. This is certainly out of canon but important for game play balance in the PvP game. Star Trek: Infinite Space also will make use of the Holodeck for some quests, as well as allowing friendly, inter-faction PvP.
We were treated to a number of animated emotes that any Trekkie will recognize, including Captain Picard’s famous face-palm emote, and with the game also under the supervision of Star Trek experts Michael and Denise Okuda, we can hope that this game will give players what they’ve been wishing for in a Trek game. Sign up for beta and check out the game-play trailer on the game site. It looks really great.