Star Trek has never shied away from asking big questions.
Since the 1960s, the groundbreaking sci-fi franchise has tackled complex moral and philosophical dilemmas head-on. Does the good of the many outweigh the good of the few? How would you handle a no-win scenario? Most Trek-inspired video games haven’t delved too deeply into the thinkier aspects of the series — until now.
Star Trek: Resurgence is an upcoming narrative adventure game from Dramatic Labs, an independent studio largely made up of former Telltale alums. (It’s a long story.) So if you get a kick out of choice-driven, relationship-driven games like The Wolf Among Us and Telltale’s Walking Dead series, you’ll probably find a lot to sink your teeth into here.
In Resurgence, you step into the uniforms of two crew members of the Federation’s U.S.S. Resolute — First Officer Jara Rydek and engineer Carter Diaz. Their differing roles on the ship mean you’ll experience the adventure from both the bridge and the lower decks, and each character’s choices can impact how the other’s journey plays out. That opens up some intriguing possibilities — will Jara and Carter be in sync, or will one be an action-seeking hothead and the other a methodical diplomat? That’s up to you.
“We didn't want to bump into the Romulan supernova.”
Resurgence Lead Writer Dan Martin says the team looked to beloved TNG episode “Lower Decks” and TNG/DS9’s engineer Miles O’Brien as sources of inspiration for the story they wanted to tell.
“I thought it'd be interesting to spend some time outside of the sphere of the bridge. As the first officer, Jara’s very close to the top but she still has the captain above her, and the senior staff below her — she's always managing up and down the chain of command. And for Carter, a lot of times, he'll end up on the receiving end of orders that Jara gives,” Martin says.
“They're a little bit younger, lower on the ladder of their careers, and it brings a different sort of a different feel to the experience. They both get their moments of action, story, exploration, puzzle-solving, but the things that they experience are different.”
While Resurgence features an all-new crew and ship, the developers have also teased the inclusion of a few fan-favorite characters. One we already know about is Ambassador Spock, who counsels the senior bridge crew of the Resolute about a dilithium dispute brewing between the humble Hotari and the militaristic Alydians. Martin says Spock provided a known variable among the new personalities Resurgence introduces.
“He's such a well-defined character with such a distinctive voice — there's a real strike zone that you want to hit in the writing,” Martin says. “It was a lot of fun to write for Spock — it just kind of felt like you're already in conversation with him, particularly when we have so many new characters that we're writing for.”
Resurgence takes place in 2380, immediately after the events of the Next Generation films. Martin says that specific time period was the perfect fit for telling a new original story. After that point, the Trek canon starts to get real complicated real fast.
“A lot of us who were on the production were fans of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. Setting it right after TNG movies gave us a little bit of space that had not been deeply explored, but still felt like it was of that timeframe,” Martin tells Inverse. “We didn't want to bump into the Romulan supernova that Picard talks about and the 2009 J.J. Abrams Star Trek deals with. So that was our area that we were able to have some uncharted territory to tell our story.”
“People talking to each other in rooms is kind of our bread and butter.”
Resurgence will feature some puzzle elements and even the occasional phaser shootout (so keep an eye on your redshirts). But the core gameplay focuses on exploration and dialogue-driven role-playing. Cinematic Director Kent Mudle says that Telltale-inspired approach was a natural fit for the Star Trek universe.
“It felt like unexplored territory in Star Trek video games. There have been tactical games, third-person shooters, and point-and-click adventure games from the ‘90s. But story and character and moral dilemmas have always been so much the focus,” he says. “Star Trek — for all its spaceship flights and lasers and explosions — is a franchise of a lot of people talking to each other in rooms in space. And people talking to each other in rooms is kind of our bread and butter.”
With the franchise more popular than ever as it cruises through its sixth (!) decade, the team at Dramatic Labs thinks the time is right for Trek games to match the ambition of their cinematic and streaming counterparts.
“It's a big meaty Star Trek experience we don't think people have had before,” says Mudle. “I can't wait to show more of it to the world.”
Star Trek: Resurgence comes to PlayStation, Xbox, and Epic Games Store in 2022.