Paramount's forthcoming Star Trek tie-in game is looking to distance itself from the negativity surrounding fellow big name sci-fi outing Aliens: Colonial Marines by delivering an authentic experience that pools all the talent of the big screen version, according to its producers.
There have probably been better times to release licensed games. Just when the well-worn adage that licensed games are uniformly awful looks to be put to bed by the likes of Rocksteady's Batman games, along comes a scrappy mess like Aliens: Colonial Marines to prove that you're never truly safe in the world of tie-ins.
Due out at the end of April and in the run-up to the second instalment of JJ Abram's hugely successful series reboot, Star Trek's proximity to the release of Gearbox's woeful Aliens: Colonial Marines ensure that the most obvious question is what can this game do differently to make sure it doesn't fall in the same trap?
"Our goal was to make the most authentic Star Trek game we could," said Paramount's Brian Miller. "We're not a licensed game - we're funding this and making this ourselves. A traditional licensed game, you get a licensor and say they'll give you some money to make the game. This is a game that we're making in-house, and it's been funded by Paramount Pictures from day one.
"There's a lot of stigma to movie-based games and there have been some that have done it well. But the majority haven't lived up to expectations, and that was something that we've been cautious of since the day we started making this game."
Star Trek the video game, like Abram's reboot, takes inspiration from the original series, sporting likenesses of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock. The Gorn, a lizard-like species who made an iconic debut in the 1967 episode Arena, take centre-stage, and sport a modern makeover that makes them slightly more threatening than their rubber-suited forefathers.
The game itself is a somewhat spartan mix of combat and exploration, with cover-based gunplay seguing into light co-op as Spock and Kirk fight side-by-side, aid each other when under fire and, perhaps less excitingly, open doors together.
Can it learn from the mistakes of Aliens: Colonial Marines? Miller believes that Paramount, along with publisher Namco Bandai and developer Digital Extremes, has found the right formula, and identified why other tie-ins have failed. "We boiled it down to three things - one was that they didn't give themselves enough times," said Miller. "We also wanted to make sure it was funded correctly. We've been working with the greatest partners we can. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure the same people that brought the film to life, those same minds were working on that game as well."
Will it have worked out? There's not too much of a wait to find out - Star Trek's out across Europe on April 26.
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