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World Q&A: Tollana

Stargate Worlds Interviews - By Guest Writer on August 31, 2007

World Q&A: Tollana

Question:

Having a license like Stargate can be an immense benefit and challenge for a developer. Can you tell us some of the ways you are using it that fans of the series and gamers who aren't fans will both appreciate?

Answer:

From day one we have had a priority of telling a great story with our game. The heritage of Stargate means we have a huge reservoir of history to draw on and we wanted to make Stargate Worlds more than just an MMORPG grind in space.

For example, there is an arc in SG-1 that covers seasons one, three and five concerning the Tollan. In season one, Stargate Command plays a role in helping the technologically advanced Tollan escape from their dying planet and find a new home. In return, Earth and the Tollan form an alliance. Unfortunately, treachery among the Tollan leads to disaster and they are practically wiped out by the Goa'uld.

As Stargate Worlds evolves, players will be able to experience Tollana in both states. They will be able to see the beautiful pristine parks and the shining towers. They will also experience the devastation of a war brought to them by the Goa'uld.

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Question:

How will that work for players? Will the world change for everyone at the same time?

Answer:

Part of the beauty of the Stargate system is that we can control the destination for each player as they go through the gate. That means characters that are early in the story of Stargate Worlds can experience a world like Tollana one way and get a completely different experience when they return as the story evolves. As the players progress through the story, the galaxy around them changes, driving them to new locations, more dangerous challenges and greater rewards.

Most MMORPGs are limited to a single world or continent and the developers are limited in how that world can evolve because it affects every player in much the same way. The Stargate system allows us to have multiple iterations of the same area that players can return to and experience multiple times in many different ways.

Question:

How advanced were the Tollan and what kind of technology do they have?

Answer:

The Tollan only appear in three episodes of the series, but that's enough to get the idea that their technology was far beyond that developed on Earth.

The Tollan have learned a hard lesson about sharing their technology. Their original home world was destroyed after they shared technology with the less-advanced natives of a nearby planet who used it to make war. The Tollan were evacuating their planet by ship, but this was a slow process that could only take a limited number of survivors on every trip. The last Tollan were evacuated to Earth by SG-1 through the Stargate because their transport would not have made it on time to pick them up before the planet was ripped apart.

Once Stargate Command helped them relocate to a new world, the Tollan rebuilt their lives using technology such as ion cannons that could penetrate Goa'uld shields and wipe out ships, matter-penetration tech that let them literally walk through walls and health implants that gave them long lives.

On the heels of the lesson they learned about providing technology to less advanced civilizations, they resisted sharing their advanced weapons and other equipment with Earth until it was too late and they were wiped out by Goa'uld using technology derived from Ancient knowledge.

Question:

What kind of mix of familiar and new worlds can players expect to see?

Answer:

One of the great things about making a video game is the freedom to create things that have never been seen before. The producers of the Stargate television series do a great job of convincing us that the SG teams are visiting distant worlds, but they are limited in the environments they can show by their budget. We don't have those kinds of limitation. Players who are fans of the series are going to see some familiar places but they're also going to experience a variety of new worlds that have only been hinted at on television.

We're still building worlds, so we're not going to commit to a ratio at this time, but we're going to do what makes sense, what is fun and what tells a good story.