Well, at least they’re doing some of it right. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to fans of Max Geek that I’m a big MMO fan. I follow the development of MMO’s sometimes years out. Star Trek Online is one of those games. I’ve been following the news emerging about STO and I’ve seen several promising things. Before I dive into the details, let’s dive into a little history.
The History of Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online shares several things in common with Lord of the Rings Online. For those of you who don’t know, Lord of the Rings Online was under development by a different company for several years, it was known as Middle Earth Online. Turbine bought the rights and started from scratch. The same thing happened with STO. Perpetual Entertainment recently went out of business, they had the rights to STO and were moving along with the development. When they went out of business Cryptic came in and bought the rights and started the game from scratch. The similarities don’t end there though.
Cryptic has ramped up development on Star Trek Online amazingly fast. The reason is Cryptic already has a game engine, the engine they built for Champions (a different engine from that used on City of Heroes). The same thing was true of Turbine. Two great licenses, mishandled then bought by companies with a solid MMO pedigree. I love LOTRO and I’m hoping the similarities bode well for STO.
A Brief History of Cryptic Studios
I have been following Cryptic Studios for years (since late 2001 if memory serves). I was active on the City of Heroes forums before we knew anything about the game but there were superheroes. There was actually quite a comics discussion community there back in the day. Basically Cryptic started with two guys who wanted to make an MMO that had a new and different setting. Those two guys found two former Atari execs who were looking to finance a gaming company, in 2000 Cryptic was born. In 2004 City of Heroes released. City of Heroes has remained one of the most popular none fantasy setting MMO’s on the market. The greatest strength in City of Heroes was the costume customization.
What Does This Mean For STO?
I just finished watching an interview with Jack Emmert (chief creative officer at Cryptic) where he talked about character customization. As I said, customization was one of the best features of City of Heroes). Now this wouldn’t be a big deal if you were just able to customize Klingons and Humans. Star Trek Online however allows you to create your own races. They’re bringing their considerable talents in developing character creation tools to a property with a lot of diversity amongst its humanoid characters. So while you’ll still have two arms, two legs and a head, you can make some very diverse characters.
Cryptic has the ability to get this game produced quickly. The wait is part of what kills a lot of MMO’s, too much time for build up and never enough pay off (never). So Cryptic has the ability to get out there, let people know what’s coming and then give them the game.
Cryptic is good at game development. I don’t like all of their decisions in City of Heroes, but it’s one of the few games I keep going back to try. I’m not sure about all their decisions, but who ever is? I’m starting to have some hope that they pull this off and give us a good game. I’m not holding my breath, but if the character creation system is cool, I could spend a couple of months just creating new races.