Several days ago, Bethesda Softworks announced it was working on a new Star Trek videogame called Conquest. Although Bethesda’s previous outing, Star Trek Legacy, had some faults, it definitely stayed true to the Star Trek license, and Bethesda isn’t generally one to miss the mark twice. So, we were definitely excited to learn more about next Star Trek game to come out of their studio. Well lo and behold, today we’ve got for you an interview with the Lead Designer for the game, Frank Arnot, who sheds a bit more light on what Star Trek Conquest has to offer.
How would you best describe Conquest?
Conquest is a game of galactic domination that mixes turn-based strategy game with arcade elements.
What’s back story for the game?
Because of the nature of the game we have a very straight-forward back story:
It is a time of unrest, all the major races are at war. Age-old alliances are forgotten, diplomacy is dead. Powerful fleets prowl the galaxy establishing outposts and vanquishing indigenous and enemy fleets alike in the pursuit of the ultimate prize – the capture of all home worlds and galactic domination.
Can you explain how the game will use both real-time and turn-based gameplay?
The objective of the game is to capture the home worlds of the other enemy races and dominate the game board. In order to achieve this, the game is split into two sections:
1. A turn-based strategy section and,
2. An arcade space combat section.
During the strategic phase players can give orders to fleets, commission new admirals, purchase new ships and build structures such as star bases, research stations and mining facilities.
As fleets move around the galactic map, if they enter hostile systems or encounter enemy fleets, then a battle occurs.
These battles can be resolved by either watching a top level strategic visualisation of the battle or by entering arcade mode and taking direct control of your fleet and engaging the enemy.
How will the combat compare to previous Star Trek games?
The combat in Conquest is fast paced and intense. A player may engage in multiple battles each turn, both attacking and defending systems. True to Star Trek, combat requires both skill and tactics.
Players will control a fleet of up to seven ships that can be made up from scout, cruiser or dreadnought class ships. Players can swap control between any ship in their fleet at any time and choose fleet formations. They can also control starbases, if their system contains one. Additionally, the player can choose to resolve combat using a strategic combat system. In this mode, players can choose standing orders in a real time combat simulator.
What “Generation” of Star Trek does the game revolve around?
The game is set in a Next Generation timeline.
What Star Trek races will be playable in the game?
There are six playable races to choose from: Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian, Dominion and Breen. The player will also encounter the Ferengi, Borg, Orion and Xindi fleets as they explore the galaxy.
How will playing as different races affect gameplay strategy in the game?
Each race has different strengths and weaknesses that affect gameplay, for example:
- Ship Types: the attacking, defensive and manoeuvring capabilities of all ships are unique per race. The cost of ship construction also varies per race.
- Admirals: There are three types of admiral in the game, Attacking, Defensive and Movement Admirals, with each type offering different strengths in the tactical play. The Movement Admiral for example can make two moves per turn. Each race has a different spread of Admiral types, for example, the Klingons have more attacking admirals to reflect their warrior nature.
- Infrastructure: The stats of the static constructions such as starbases, research facilities and mining colonies vary per race. So some races have great research rates and can upgrade technology very quickly, whereas other races may be strong in mining, giving them more income per turn, etc.
- Technology Tree: Each race has it’s own technology tree, areas they can research and upgrade. For some, it may be ship performance, or weapons power, for others it may be increased industry or better infrastructure.
- Special Weapons: Each race has a different set of Special Weapons, these are powerful weapons that are unlocked via research and can have a devastating effect on the galaxy map during strategic play.
Can you set up custom campaigns?
Yes. The player can choose to play a campaign against any number of the major races from just a two race head-to-head campaign, i.e. Federation vs Klingon or they can have a “full-on conflict” with all six racing competing for supremacy at once.
The player can also set-up AI difficulty, starting credits, and fog-of-war options.
Is there a Skirmish Mode to the game?
Yes. There is an arcade skirmish mode that allows the player to construct then pit two opposing fleets against each other.
In the skirmish mode set-up the player can select the number and class of ships in each fleet, choose the fleet’s admiral and admiral’s EXP, choose which race owns the skirmish map and whether or not the system contains a starbase and defensive structures.
Are there any multiplayer options?
No. Conquest is a single player game only.
How will players benefit from using the control scheme of the Nintendo Wii?
Conquest is controlled using both the Wii-mote and the nunchuk. The strategic turn is controlled entire via the Wii-mote which the player uses like a pointer to move fleets around the galactic map and to order new construction.
Arcade Mode uses both the Wii-mote and the nunchuk. The nunchuk is used to fly your starship, while the Wii-mote is used to target enemy ships and structures.
The benefit of the Wii control scheme is that it is very slick and intuitive, using the Wii-mote to move fleets and make tactical decisions on the galactic map really gives the player a sense of directing the action, of being a commander-in-chief.
Special thanks to Bethesda Softworks for giving us permission to snip this interview from their blog.