Star Trek: Bridge Crew

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Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Information
VR/AR Virtual Reality
Developer Red Storm Entertainments
Publisher Ubisoft
Platform SteamVR, Oculus Rift (Platform), PlayStation VR
Device HTC Vive, Oculus Rift CV1, PlayStation VR
Operating System PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
Type Full Game
Genre Adventure
Release Date May 30, 2017
Website Star Trek: Bridge Crew at Ubisoft
Infobox Updated 8/13/2016

Introduction

Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a virtual reality (VR) game developed by Red Storm Entertainment, an Ubisoft’s studio. It was announced during the E3 of 2016 [1]. The same studio is also responsible for the creation of the VR game Werewolves Within. The development of Werewolves helped with the creation of the basis for Bridge Crew, even though this last one is more complex in terms of full body avatars, hand tracking and general gameplay. The game has been compared to Artemis Bridge Simulator [2]. With a release date for the May 30, 2017, exclusively to VR on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR, it will provide a chance for players “to live out a fantasy of being on the bridge of a Federation Starship.” [1]

Bridge Crew relies on co-operative gameplay with emphasis on communication. There are four positions available in the bridge for the players: Captain, Helm, Tactical, and Engineering. These encourage the players to think as a cohesive group, since each position is dependent on each other [3]. It takes advantage of the sense of social presence that virtual reality allows, with hand tracking and full body avatars that have real time lip-sync, contributing to the general perception that you really are in a space interacting with other players [4].

In terms of aesthetics and placement in the Star Trek universe, the game will take place in the reboot universe of the J.J. Abrams films [2], although you do not assume the roles of Captain Kirk or any other of the classic characters of the franchise. This was a choice made in order to maintain the suspension of disbelief and allow for the players to tell their own stories [1] [5].

Development

According to David Votypka, Creative Director at Red Storm Entertainment, the studio had “been working on social multiplayer, and trying to expand the depth and the amount of social interaction that players can have in online video games. (…) But at some point, really allowing the players to use their social skills online was a bit elusive in a traditional gaming format. (…) We started discovering the idea of social VR, and that’s when we began brainstorming different ideas. I was talking with people about some different licensed ideas for doing VR. At the same time, we had some designers here that were pitching us on a crew-based game that utilized VR, where players could be in a mechanized crew together.” [1]

After the choice was made to use the Star Trek franchise for the crew-based game, a pitch was made to CBS who agreed with its development. The goal was to create a lighthearted social experience, in which the players can have fun [1].

Gameplay

The overriding mission of Star Trek: Bridge Crew will be to explore an uncharted sector of space known as The Trench aboard the U.S.S. Aegis, to locate a suitable planet for the surviving Vulcan community to inhabit [4]. There is going to be two modes: the story mode and a mission generator that will procedurally generate missions to increase the hours of solo and co-op gameplay [2] [6]. On the bridge of the starship each one of the four possible roles that the players can take will be crucial to the success of the various missions. It is possible to play the game alone, in which the player will take the role of the captain and the other main members of the crew will be NPCs [4]. Each player has a unique LCARS panel for their respective station with which they can interact with the Oculus touch controllers. There will be an option to play the game utilizing a gamepad [7].

In an E3 2016 demo, players had to rescue a number of survivors from a ruined space station orbiting a dying sun about to explode, while also having to deal with attacks from the Klingons [5] [8]. The demo was well received but there have been questions regarding if there is enough adoption for VR in order for the social component of the game to work out [9].

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Varanini, Giancarlo (2016). Star Trek: Bridge Crew – Going boldly into VR. Retrieved from blog.ubi.com/star-trek-bridge-crew-going-boldly-vr
  2. 2.0 2.1 Warr, Philippa (2016). Boldly going into more detail on Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Retrieved from www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/06/30/star-trek-bridge-crew
  3. Hurley, Leon (2016). Star Trek: Bridge Crew lets you pilot a starship with friends in VR and it’s as amazing as that sounds. Retrieved from www.gamesradar.com/star-trek-bridge-crew-lets-you-pilot-a-starship-with-friends-in-vr-and-its-as-amazing-as-that-sounds
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 StarTrek.com Staff (2016). You’re in command with Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Retrieved from www.startrek.com/article/youre-in-command-with-star-trek-bridge-crew
  5. 5.0 5.1 Schwartz, Terri (2016). E3 2016: In Star Trek: Bridge Crew, teamwork is everything. Retrieved from www.ign.com/articles/2016/06/13/e3-2016-in-star-trek-bridge-crew-teamwork-is-everything
  6. Ubisoft. Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Retrieved from www.ubisoft.com/en-GB/game/star-trek-bridge-crew
  7. Dingman, Hayden (2016). Hands-on: Star Trek Bridge Crew fulfills every geek’s wildest starship fantasies in VR. Retrieved from www.pcworld.com/article/3083936/virtual-reality/hands-on-star-trek-bridge-crew-fulfills-every-geeks-wildest-starship-fantasies-in-vr.html
  8. Walton, Mark (2016). Star Trek: Bridge Crew lets you go where no man has gone before (in VR). Retrieved from arstechnica.com/gaming/2016/06/star-trek-bridge-crew-vr-hands-on-video
  9. Tassi, Paul (2016). “Star Trek: Bridge Crew” is cool, but playing with friends may be tricky in the current VR market. Retrieved from www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/06/14/star-trek-bridge-crew-is-cool-but-multiplayer-vr-isnt-remotely-realistic-right-now/#61f5cc95556c

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