Summary: JCal brings us the latest news from the Game Developers' Conference 2008. Today he shows us the MMO Stargate fans have been waiting for: Stargate Worlds.
According to Ballentine, the game itself is set between seasons 8 and 9 of Stargate SG-1. It's pretty much the perfect time to set the game since as fans of the show know its a bit of a transition time in the universe. The Replicators have been destroyed, the Goa'uld led by Anubis have been defeated and the team itself has broken up. Basically in the game you get to be the star of your own Stargate show rather than play one of the main characters in the series. In fact the storyline for Stargate Worlds is considered to be canon by the producers of the TV show.
We got to see a number of the worlds players will explore in the game via the new in-game trailer. One takes place on a living AI world with a visual look that's similar to the Stargate Atlantis city (Atlantis itself won't be in the game at launch but will be put in as an expansion pack). Yet another world is a "nature gone wild" planet that was once used as an Ancient outpost (the god-like race that's well established in both Stargate TV series). Yet another world is Tollana, the homeworld of the Tollan race that got blowed up real good by Anubis in Season 5 of SG-1. So why is Tollana back up to speed? Ballentine wouldn't tell us. We also got to see an unnamed world that's rather arctic in nature and contains a structure that was once a Goa'uld outpost that is now being use by Stargate Command as a prison planet. Finally we saw Lucia, the previously unseen homeworld of the Lucian Alliance, which is kind of the organized mob of the galaxy that was created in Season 9 in the wake of the System Lords' destruction. Ballentine told us that there will be dozens of worlds to explore in the MMO universe.
Ballentine also told us more about what Stargate Worlds' gameplay will be like. At the moment there will be several races that you will be able to pick from, including Human, Jaffa, Goa'uld, Asgard, and OpFour (a game created extension of the TV show's covert human group the NID/Trust). There will be several character classes within each race and each of them will have a separate starting point when the game begins rather than everyone starting at the same location. One of the more interesting things about the game is that when you complete a mission as a specific race and character class, you can move on and go to more advanced missions. However you can then return to older missions you have completed previously and find new quests and content that will be added by the game's development team after the game's launch.
The trailer for the game, which uses Epic's Unreal Engine 3, showed off graphics that will definitely please fans of the Stargate franchise and gamers in general. The environments look spot on in comparison to the TV show and while we didn't see any actual combat we hope that the real gameplay is on a par with the visual style.
Creating an MMO in this day and age is a very risky venture but the truth is that Stargate Worlds already has a massive fan base that gives it an advantage. With Stargate Atlantis starting its fifth season this year, two Stargate SG-1 DVD movies due out in 2008 and a third Stargate TV series in the works there won't be a lack of attention for the franchise and Cheyenne Mountain hopes that will translate into huge interest for Stargate Worlds. Hopefully we will be able to get hands-on with the game sometime in the next few months and the developers are still targeting a late 2008 release date for the game.
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