The E3 gaming expo is where games journalists and gamers alike gather to be surprised by new announcements of big new gaming properties. But sequels, remasters and games based on longstanding properties get an equal if not greater showing as the medium grows and expands, and this year one of the biggest early "classic IP"-related announcements has been Star Trek: Bridge Crew, a new VR title that puts players in the role of a Starfleet crew member on the bridge of an Enterprise-like starship.
Now, The Associated Press has released further details of the title, already being called a potential crossover smash for the burgeoning VR subgenre.
Star Trek itself (The Next Generation, specifically) introduced mainstream audiences to one of the earliest ideas of what would come to be called "virtual reality" with the Holodeck concept, so it's somewhat appropriate that it become one of the first big licenses to be translated into a major VR title. And while being a member of the Bridge Crew (i.e. manning the controls that trigger the ship's weapons and defense systems on orders from the Captain) may not sound like the most exciting part of the Trek universe right off the bat, Red Storm senior creative director David Votypka tells the AP that appearances can be deceiving:
"At first, people might think you're just pushing buttons and that's lame. However, it's what the buttons do that makes it cool. You're on a Federation starship firing torpedoes, raising shields and turning on the red alert. That's an awesome sensation, especially when you're playing in VR with friends."
The game will be set aboard an Enterprise-like Federation ship called The Aegis and take place in the continuity of the JJ Abrams-directed "reboot" Star Trek universe. Players will be tasked with helping The Aegis carry out its special mission to explore a dangerous region of the galaxy called The Trench in hopes of finding a new homeworld for refugees of Planet Vulcan, which was destroyed in the events of the first reboot movie. Players will have the ability to decided which course of action they take against threats both story-focused and randomly-generated. Says Votypka:
"It's up to you if you want to try the Kirk approach or be more methodical. The game is more about how you and your crew approach situations. It's not binary. Is it more important to save the Vulcan scientists or rescue everyone on the planet? It might be too difficult to do both. It's just like the show. There's not any one right answer."
Star Trek: Bridge Crew is set to launch this fall for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. The next film in the reboot series, Star Trek Beyond, hit theaters in July; while a new TV series is currently in development for 2017.