by Sebastian Sanzberro
In the whirlwind of news, events, costume photos, and more coming out of this year’s Star Trek mega-convention in Las Vegas, one bit of gaming news may have slipped past your sensors: that mobile game Star Trek Timelines from developer Disruptor Beam will be getting Star Trek: Discovery content this fall!
We had a chance to catch up with project manager Alex Engel and lead engineer Paul Siegel from the Disruptor Beam team on-site in Las Vegas to discuss the upcoming Timelines update.
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TREKCORE: Star Trek Timelines will now include Discovery visuals – but will you be bringing any voice talent from the new series?
ALEX ENGEL: Star Trek Timelines brings ships and characters from every era and every series, and this is the first time we’ve been able to bring a new series in. We do enjoy bringing different voices from episodes in there, so it’s always been our desire to do so. Everything of course, is very hush-hush and up in the air as to how Discovery is being licensed, but the plan is, we would love to do that.
PAUL SIEGEL: We’re looking forward to having crew, and ships, and anything we can get our hands on.
TREKCORE: Given the fact that the show is so new, does your team get an early look at the upcoming details from the series, to help align Timelines and Discovery?
ENGEL: We look closely and work closely with CBS as partners of theirs, so we’re in constant communication with them about Discovery. We have access to some material about the show that we’re able to take a look at and start the work, because as with any gaming project, you have to build a lot of the stuff in advance.
So we’re doing the best we can to be a good partner with CBS.
TREKCORE: From what we’ve seen of the artwork details and renderings of the show so far, the visual elements of Discovery are a leap above any Trek television show to date – how has that impacted your design work?
SIEGEL: Our game really features [the USS Discovery] very nicely when it’s onscreen. It sort of takes up a lot of the the digital space, so we’ve devoted a lot of the computational resources to making it look really good.
TREKCORE: The press announcement said that both Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Saru (Doug Jones) are included in the first Timelines update. Are you going to bring other elements from the show, such as the Klingons or other Starfleet officers?
ENGEL: Absolutely yes! We can confirm that we’re bringing Michael Burnham, [Michelle Yeoh’s] Captain Georgiou, and Lt. Saru as our first characters from Discovery.
One of the things we really want to work hard with CBS on is fidelity and accuracy to the actors — and the parts that they play — to the game, so we’re making sure there’s extra care to all of our characters so that they match exactly what’s onscreen.
TREKCORE: How will you mesh the radically different styles between the relatively basic look of the Original Series or the well-established design of the TNG-era shows to Discovery?
SIEGEL: Timelines has a huge crew, almost 400 unique crew in the game right now. You see style differences from the Original Series to The Next Generation, or even from Next Generation to Enterprise.
ENGEL: There’s a lot of stylistic differences with Enterprise already, right? Not to mention plot changes. There are lots of times where [the Enterpise-era] uniforms and [character] demeanor are significantly different from other shows, so I think this is going to be more of the same.
SIEGEL: We have a great art team, and they’re really fantastic at adapting that stuff and giving it our Star Trek Timelines look, but still [keeping it] representative of the show they’re drawing from.
ENGEL: That said, I think we, as Star Trek fans, just like everyone here at the convention, are fascinated, excited and also a little nervous to see what Discovery looks like on the screen.
TREKCORE: What else can you tell us about upcoming Timelines updates?
SIEGEL: We’re [working on] a bunch of new features that’ll come out probably about the same time as [you will] start to see some Discovery content: more ways to interact socially with other players; more ways to leverage your crews and your ships to build your dream team, [and] to mishmash the characters the way you want to create your own story.
ENGEL: …and I can’t wait to see what people will do when they put together the new features, when they put together Lt. Saru, with Lt. Uhura, and uh…let’s throw Locutus in there too. Why not? See what kind of voyages and situations they get into.
I know that our writers are really excited to bring the storylines of Discovery and mash them up with the storylines that we love from all of our past episodes.
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Watch for an update to Star Trek Timelines in the coming months!