Questions by Benjamin J.
de la Durantaye, Executive Editor, Ten Ton Hammer

Answers by
Craig Zinkievich, Executive Producer, Star Trek Online
(Cryptic Studios)

Christine Thompson, Lead Writer, Star Trek Online (Cryptic Studios)

As style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online's
closed beta phase continues to approach, the team
at Cryptic Studios is hard at work getting ready for the event. Despite
their busy schedules, Craig Zinkievich, style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online’s
Executive Producer and Christine Thompson, style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online's
Lead Writer were gracious enough to spend some time digging into the
game's history and lore with us.

style="background: transparent url('') no-repeat scroll 100% 0%; vertical-align: top;">
style="font-weight: bold;">Ten Ton Hammer: The game takes
place in 2409, approximately 30 after Nemesis. Can you tell us a little
bit about what's happened since then?

Christine: You're
running into a very different world than it was at the end of style="font-style: italic;">Deep
Space 9 where it looked like a lot of the problems in the
Alpha and
Beta quadrants had been solved. By 2409, the Khitomer Accords have been
dissolved; the Klingons and Federation are at war again. Romulus has
been destroyed which you saw in the new movie. The Romulans are trying
to rebuild and figure out where their place in the galaxy is. The Borg,
who have not been seen in a long time, are starting to reassert
themselves. Some lesser known enemies that people just weren't
expecting are popping back up. So it's all kind of combining for a time
of turmoil for the alpha and beta quadrants where instead of everything
working out, everything is starting to fall apart again.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 250px; height: 157px; float: right;"
style="font-weight: bold;">Ten Ton Hammer: Is the
war going to be the main focus of the game in contrast
to Starfleet
seeking out new life? Is there going to be any sort of non-combat type
story that the players can explore?

Christine: There
are non-combat stories for players to explore. The Klingon war is one
of the major themes of the game and it affects and touches a lot of
different things, but it's not the only story of the game.

Ten Ton Hammer: So
exploration is still going to be a large part of it?

Christine: Oh
Absolutely. Very much so. I mean, you can't have a Star Trek game
without exploration.

Ten Ton Hammer: Players
can create their own custom race. Obviously, you're not going to be
able to create a home planet for all of those variations, so how do
these new custom races fit into the story?

Christine: One
of the things I wanted to do was look at how Starfleet brings its
officers in. In DS9, if they're not from a Federation planet, they have
to have a recommendation from a Starfleet captain. Starfleet's going to
be looking at expanding those rules in the 30 years between Nemesis and
2409 just to be more inclusive of who can be in Starfleet.

We've also never gotten a full list of the planets that are Federation
members. We've gotten some of the top ones, but we haven't seen a
comprehensive list so there's always the possibility that some of these
custom races may be from Federation planets that just haven't appeared
on a show.

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you
tell us a little bit about the transwarp conduits?

: It's Borg technology that's been adapted by
Starfleet. It was brought back by Voyager and Starfleet has adapted it
and are using it to connect to different parts of the galaxy.

Craig: In
the game, we're using transwarp conduits as a method to get from things
like a newbie zone to a really high level zone. They're for the higher
level players so they don't have to actually do that travel time. So
the transwarp conduits are made to be like teleportation in the game.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 250px; height: 156px; float: left;"
hspace="3">Ten Ton Hammer: Any hints
as to what famous characters players may encounter? 

Christine: Since
it takes place 30 years after Nemesis, a lot of the people from the
shows have moved on, gone on to other jobs, things like that. They just
aren't active players anymore. We are going to try to have some
references to people you know. We're going to have some children and
grandchildren of people you know. One I'll throw out there that you
definitely will meet is Miral Paris style="font-style: italic;">[ style="font-weight: bold;">Editor’s Note: Miral
is the daughter of Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres from the Voyager

Ten Ton Hammer: How does
the development team prepare for such a massive amount of history and
lore? Has the entire staff sat down and watched all the movies and
episodes from the various series?

Christine: We
are continually watching new episodes. We have times where the entire
team will sit down and watch a particular episode. Those of us that are
more into the history and the lore and putting that together watch
more. I watch at least
an hour of Star Trek every night, just going
through series over and over again.

I've also been reading the books since last September, so I try to get
a book in a week because we want to at least acknowledge the novels
even if we don't follow the plotline of every one exactly.

It's just an amazing amount of research. We have a lot of people on the
team that are hardcore Trekkies and can tell you everything from the
history of the Borg to the exact height of the railing in the hallways
of the Enterprise-D so we pull that knowledge base together whenever we
have a question.

Craig: Even
for some of the staff on the team who weren't big Star Trek fans before
they came into the project, we ended up doing weekly lunch and eats. We
brought lunch in and ate while we watched an episode. We did that for
quite some time. We kind of stopped recently just to get people to try
and work as much as possible. But when we first started out, we
bought a bunch of copies of all the DVDs and media and let people
check that out and bring it home. So there was lots of stuff to bring
people up to speed that didn't already have a huge amount of knowledge.

Ten Ton Hammer: Back to
the conflict... are we going to find that NPCs are
taking more of an aggressive stance, putting players on the defensive?

Some of the NPCs are taking a fairly aggressive stance. Starfleet, of
course, would like to find a peaceful solution to their problems. There
are some people on the Klingon side that are pushing for a more
aggressive stance. The players are the stars of the show so I don't
want to be like you're just basically Admiral So-and-So's errand boy.
The episodes are designed so it's like an episode of the show and the
players are the stars.

Ten Ton Hammer: Thanks so
much for taking the time to chat today. Before we go is there anything
else about the history or lore you'd like our readers to know about?

There are multiple plotlines that run throughout the game. There are
things that happen fairly early on that have consequences during the
game. There's something that happens in the tutorial that has
consequences in the end game, so we're trying to make coherent stories.
We're also trying to add more of the lore in dialogue where you can
actually sit down and talk with various characters and they're going to
give you even more of the back-story than you would have gotten during
a mission for example.

Quest and story
lines that last throughout a player's career has been something that
players have been wanting in games for some time now. There have been
some mild attempts, but it will be fun to see just how far Cryptic
takes it. Join us next week for another Q&A with Cryptic
Studios when we
ask questions posed by Ten Ton Hammer's href="">Premium members.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Trek Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016