“Star Trek” Unveils New Captain’s Log
Now they’re really boldly going where no one has gone before.
In news that will make Trekkers’ hearts atwitter, all five Star Trek captains–William Shatner’s Kirk, Patrick Stewart’s Picard, Avery Brooks’ Sisko, Kate Mulgrew’s Janeway and Scott Bakula’s Archer–are beaming aboard Star Trek: Legacy, a new videogame marking the 40th anniversary of the legendary sci-fi franchise.
The game, due out this fall from Bethesda Softworks, will be the first time the five stars from the five TV series will team up for a Star Trek project.
Shatner, who will reprise his career-defining role of Captain James. T. Kirk on the original Star Trek voyage from 1966 to 1969, tells Reuters that he hopes his participation in the game might spark renewed interest in Star Trek. The franchise had been labeled “in decay” by Activision, which previously held the game license, and saw its most recent incarnation, Star Trek: Enterprise, fizzle out with lackluster ratings and uninspired plots. Some fans and industry watchers believed the end was near.
“It’s been around a long time, it’s a staple of American life and I think we need something new and different,” Shatner told the wire service, noting that he just couldn’t resist returning to the part that made him a legend. “I couldn’t imagine someone else playing Captain Kirk, even in a videogame, so I kind of got a little territorial.”
Joining him in the virtual Starfleet will be Stewart, returning as Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the first Star Trek spinoff, which had a successful syndication run from 1987 to 1994.
Also coming back is Brooks, who played Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko on the syndicated Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from 1993 to 1999; Mulgrew who essayed Captain Kathryn Janeway on UPN’s Star Trek: Voyager from 1995 to 2001; and, rounding out the captain’s log, is Bakula who portrayed Captain Jonathan Archer in UPN’s Enterprise, which aired from 2001 to 2005.
Legacy, available on PC and Xbox 360, will give fans the chance to command their own starship from 60 different vessels from each of the Star Trek eras as they do battle with Klingons, Romulans and the Borg. There will be both single-player campaigns and an online multiplayer mode.
The actors–or their pixelated alter egos–won’t actually appear in the real-time strategy game; instead, their voices will offer advice and plot development.
“If it’s a good game, keeping true to the characters the best they can, and having an interesting story that branches, I think a game can bring a freshness to the franchise like Star Trek,” said Shatner, who last lent his voice to a videogame in 1997’s Star Trek: Starfleet Academy.
The thesp, whose Comedy Central Roast airs Sunday at 10 p.m., knows a thing or two about breathing new life into Gene Roddenberry’s baby, having written nine Star Trek novels detailing the continuing journeys of Kirk and friends as they seek out new life and new civilizations, etc. His latest tale, Captain’s Glory, finds the iconic character squaring off with Picard as the Federation faces a new enemy called the Totality.
Meanwhile, Bethesda is prepping Star Trek: Tactical Assault for the PSP and the Nintendo DS, also due out this fall. Bethesda also plans to release a first-person shoot-’em-up arcade version called Star Trek: Encounters for the PlayStation 2 next month.
Also coming this fall is four-disc Stat Trek: The Animated Series set on DVD, containing the 1970s Saturday morning revival of the series that featured the voices of the original cast. Paramount has set a Nov. 21 release date for the collection.
The studio, which has also produced and distributed all 10 Trek movies from 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture to 2002’s bomb Star Trek: Nemesis, has signed a $22.5 million deal with Lost creator J.J. Abrams to pilot the 11th installment for release sometime in 2008.
Abrams told TV Guide in an interview last week that he and screenwriting partners Robert Orci and Alex Kurtxmann are already deep into development on the new Star Trek, which will take the series back to its roots with a prequel focusing on the early days of Kirk and Spock.
“We have an incredible beginning of a really dramatic story, and it very much honors the canon of Star Trek. On the other hand, it won’t be like anything you’ve seen before,” the Mission: Impossible 3 helmer told the magazine. “I think we have an incredible story, but we’ve sort of promised each other we wouldn’t talk about the specifics yet. But I can say that we’re actively working on it, we’re in the middle of breaking the story, and it’s coming along great.”
Star Trek officially hits the big 4-0 next month. The original series debuted Sept. 8, 1966 on NBC.
“Star Trek” Unveils New Captain’s Log