Interview with Star Trek: Conquest Lead Designer

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Last week I was able to chat with Frank Arnot, lead designer for Star Trek Conquest. The following Q&A should help you learn a bit more about the game and what it’s all about.

How would you best describe Conquest?

Conquest is a game of galactic domination that mixes turn-based strategy game with arcade elements.

What’s back story for the game?

Because of the nature of the game we have a very straight-forward back story:

It is a time of unrest, all the major races are at war. Age-old alliances are forgotten, diplomacy is dead. Powerful fleets prowl the galaxy establishing outposts and vanquishing indigenous and enemy fleets alike in the pursuit of the ultimate prize – the capture of all home worlds and galactic domination.

Can you explain how the game will use both real-time and turn-based gameplay?

The objective of the game is to capture the home worlds of the other enemy races and dominate the game board. In order to achieve this, the game is split into two sections:

1. A turn-based strategy section and,
2. An arcade space combat section.

During the strategic phase players can give orders to fleets, commission new admirals, purchase new ships and build structures such as starbases, research stations and mining facilities.

As fleets move around the galactic map, if they enter hostile systems or encounter enemy fleets, then a battle occurs.

These battles can be resolved by either watching a top level strategic visualisation of the battle or by entering arcade mode and taking direct control of your fleet and engaging the enemy.

How will the combat compare to previous Star Trek games?

The combat in Conquest is fast paced and intense. A player may engage in multiple battles each turn, both attacking and defending systems. True to Star Trek, combat requires both skill and tactics.

Players will control a fleet of up to seven ships that can be made up from scout, cruiser or dreadnought class ships. Players can swap control between any ship in their fleet at any time and choose fleet formations. They can also control starbases, if their system contains one. Additionally, the player can choose to resolve combat using a strategic combat system. In this mode, players can choose standing orders in a real time combat simulator.

What “Generation” of Star Trek does the game revolve around?

The game is set in a Next Generation timeline.

What Star Trek races will be playable in the game?

There are SIX PLAYABLE races to choose from: Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian, Dominion and Breen. The player will also encounter the Ferengi, Borg, Orion and Xindi fleets as they explore the galaxy.

How will playing as different races affect gameplay strategy in the game?

Each race has different strengths and weaknesses that affect gameplay, for example:

– Ship Types: the attacking, defensive and manoeuvring capabilities of all ships are unique per race. The cost of ship construction also varies per race.

– Admirals: There are three types of admiral in the game, Attacking, Defensive and Movement Admirals, with each type offering different strengths in the tactical play. The Movement Admiral for example can make two moves per turn. Each race has a different spread of Admiral types, for example, the Klingons have more attacking admirals to reflect their warrior nature.

– Infrastructure: The stats of the static constructions such as starbases, research facilities and mining colonies vary per race. So some races have great research rates and can upgrade technology very quickly, whereas other races may be strong in mining, giving them more income per turn, etc.

– Technology Tree: Each race has it’s own technology tree, areas they can research and upgrade. For some, it may be ship performance, or weapons power, for others it may be increased industry or better infrastructure.

– Special Weapons: Each race has a different set of Special Weapons, these are powerful weapons that are unlocked via research and can have a devastating effect on the galaxy map during strategic play.

Can you set up custom campaigns?

Yes. The player can choose to play a campaign against any number of the major races from just a two race head-to-head campaign, i.e. Federation vs Klingon or they can have a “full-on conflict” with all six racing competing for supremacy at once.

The player can also set-up AI difficulty, starting credits, and fog-of-war options.

Is there a Skirmish Mode to the game?

Yes. There is an arcade skirmish mode that allows the player to construct then pit two opposing fleets against each other.

In the skirmish mode set-up the player can select the number and class of ships in each fleet, choose the fleet’s admiral and admiral’s EXP, choose which race owns the skirmish map and whether or not the system contains a starbase and defensive structures.

Are there any multiplayer options?

No. Conquest is a single player game only.

How will players benefit from using the control scheme of the Nintendo Wii?

Conquest is controlled using both the wii-mote and the nunchuk. The strategic turn is controlled entire via the wii-mote which the player uses like a pointer to move fleets around the galactic map and to order new construction.

Arcade Mode uses both the wii-mote and the nunchuk. The nunchuk is used to fly your starship, while the wii-mote is used to target enemy ships and structures.

The benefit of the Wii control scheme is that it is very slick and intuitive, using the wii-mote to move fleets and make tactical decisions on the galactic map really gives the player a sense of directing the action, of being a commander-in-chief.

Reader Comments

  1. Good luck getting me to buy a third Star Trek title from your company after the absolutely lackluster follow-through with fixing issues with Star Trek: Legacy for the XBOX 360.

  2. It sounds like a great game, but we were promised alot about Star Trek Legacy that was never included in the final game. Big disappointment. They should consider expanding this game to PC as well.

  3. I’m looking forward to this game. I was glad to see you say you’re sticking to single player, since it shows the team’s desire to develop their concepts, instead of cramming in features for the back of the box.

  4. Star Trek is about Accepting and positive future.
    I’ll always embrace star trek ideas and it’s cannon. and it would be unfair to boycott this future game based on the last game. Conquest could be a great game, I”ll buy it.

  5. The line must be drawn here! Bad Star Trek titles must not be allowed to go any further!

    I am looking forward to this game, simply for the fact that it’s Trek and it’s the Wii. I’m hoping for the best.

    Oh and 4J (the developer) didn’t do Legacy… and while Encounters might have been short on depth it was still a competent game.

  6. Hi, I think we should call it quits with this publisher and games since the last one was an utter failure. Hope this is not too straight but I cant fudge the smudge if you know what I mean. Thanks, love everybody!

  7. I don’t know about this. Everything time these games have come out in a hurray, they seem to be not so good.

    I bought both the PC version and PS2 version of their last Star Trek games
    Star Trek: Encounters (PS2) and other one i don’t remember its name. PC2 was little more intresting, with new re-tro Enterprise era ships, but game play was so hot.

    $19.99 (aka 20 buck game) is sounding little scary to me.

  8. This sounds like it might be a good game. I’m looking forward to it. I’m also glad that it’s coming out for Playstation 2 as well as Wii.

  9. Sorry but Legacy turned me cold. I will not purchase another ST game based off the developers or publishers statements again. “Fool me once shame on you. Foolme twice”….well, you know the rest.

  10. sorry Bethesda but I learned my lesson with Star Trek Legacy…you released a half finished game and then abandoned it. If Legacy is any indication you will most likely do the same with this game.

  11. Cor, it’s like listening to a broken record when reading these comments!

    Sounds interesting. I’m trying to visualize the use of the Wiimote now and in my head, it looks alright. I’d certainly like to see what you’re making of it. Additionally, the combat system, all aspects of it, sound good. I like particularly the ability to chose precise fleets in skirmish mode, whilst in the campaign, there are multiple methods of fighting a battle, allowing you to fight one way if you’re not perhaps as skilled as another.

  12. Wasn’t there a awful PC on line game years ago called ST: Conquest? Why can’t they make a ST:elate force 3 (or some other 1st person shooter) They were the top selling ST games.

  13. When will you guys get the picture that Star Trek is not about combat games! Not to mention the poor quality games Bethesda has allowed to be released so far with its name stamped on them.

    Try making games like Star Trek: A Final Unity, which is a game that captures what Star Trek is about, and then I’ll consider purchasing it, if its released in a finished form.

  14. The game sounds interesting, but will it be fully developed this time round instead of half finished like Legacy was? I liked Legacy, but I would have loved a fully developed game.
    The support for it on the 360 is laughable, no new ships, no new missions, nothing. Please, if you’re even taking heed of your costumers, please don’t release this game until it’s fully developed and working correctly. Releasing half finished games for a quick profit doesn’t win you any praise.
    So please, don’t rush the game, release it once it’s fully working and fully developed, and a new, fully working and developed Legacy on the 360, PC and PS3 would be nice. Show just what you can do with the Trek licence, don’t do things half finished.

  15. Don’t forget Australia as well.
    I’d like to see Legacy fixed properly AND then released for the PS3 as well.. please please please

  16. Star Trek:Battlefront, follow what the good star wars games are doin.They are fun and exciting.What about a star trek game like Star Wars:Knights of the old Republic!

  17. This game could be good, like encounters that was decent. I’m a big star trek fan along with RTS so this might make me happy.(legacy sucked)

  18. this game sounds great, as was legacy and encounters they too were both great games, i will deffinitly be buying it the day it hits the shelfes. although i live in the uk and havnt managed to find a release date for this country yet, i will keep looking.

  19. I look forward to this game being released. Just don’t put it on those flimsy blue discs (Like Encounters), which my Ps2 has trouble reading.

  20. Well The game has to be the WORST GAME ever, at least for PC. It is basically a turn based disgrace to Star Trek. You are basically aiming and turning your ship (not more than a glorified dot on black space) towards the enemy and then press shoot. The story is…non-existing and the graphics are not appreciated because of the lack of close-ups and space battle complexity. GO AND BUY PONG, its the same thing.

  21. You really need to address targeting issues in star trek legacy. for the life of me I can’t figure out how you are supposed to shoot something if you have to reselect yor target between each shot. And I could understand the concept of limited range weapons but if you can see it and nothing else on the screen you should be able to shoot it after all it was right on top of you (literally)! The graphics are awesome the planets and backgrounds are beautiful. but targeting sucks and the phasers should do twice the damage and the shot be half as long or about 2,2.5 seconds. other than that the new warp feature is cool! really should consider actually being able to conduct game play as your favorite captain and be able to accompany away teams on special missions things like that would make gameplay more intresting and more life like. love the games just keep working on them some things need drastic improvement. other than what I spoke about I was satisfied with the game. OH YEAH! where can i get gameplay walk throughs or assistance?

  22. Hi

    My step son just picked up Star trek Legacy for me for my lap top.

    As the lap top although new last week will not play many games this was one of the few that would accually run.

    I hate to dissagree with a lot of people out there but I like the game, its graphics look good, the story line works true the controls are a little twitchy but i’m using a touch pad not a mouse and I cant work out how to use the sub system targeting system (I know shift+T turns it on but how do you select which subsystem to go for) but as a one player on the train to a meeting or at home in skirmish mode with my stepson its great fun.