Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Klingons and Star Trek Online in the Preview of New Issue of Star Trek Magazine


General Martok is not afraid to express his feelings on Starfleet's handling of the Dominion threat, and his forthright attitude added to J.G. Hertzler's challenges when stepping into the role.

"Well, first of all, I didn't have any depth of knowledge about Klingon culture or behavior, so whether or not I could ‘be' a Klingon and fill those boots was a question for me," he says. "However, I'm a former college football linebacker, so I figured I had a shot at it. I don't know how much you know about football, but you have to play it in a state of controlled frenzy, which is not unlike being a Klingon.

"So I went onto the set and had to walk into this situation where all the regulars were in a scene where Martok has to test their blood for evidence of shapeshifters. He makes them cut their palms and draw blood, which meant that I had to intimidate everybody. As a recurring actor or guest-star coming onto the show, to try to intimidate the likes of Avery Brooks on anything is impossible, but I took a whack at it," laughs Hertzler.

"I had to risk making these people hate me in order to be effective in the scene, and I think I succeeded. I have to admit that I underestimated their ability to separate actor from character. Nana Visitor [Major Kira] was one of the first people to say how enjoyable it was to have me play Martok. She was extremely supportive and made me feel good about being there. It's hard to walk into the middle of a well-oiled machine like DS9 and fit in. It takes a little machete and stiletto action, or should I say Klingon bat'leth wielding, to carve out a comfortable niche for yourself. It was hairy for a few minutes, but it turned out okay.

"I had almost four years to work on my character and develop various aspects of Martok. And as the writers got to know me, they began adding new character traits with regard to

my own life, gestures and outlook on things."

The team behind Star Trek Online describe some of the parameters of the new MMORPG...

"There is a metastory to the game," Star Trek Online's Christine Thompson explains. "We needed to figure out what happened with the Romulans, the Klingons, the Cardassians, etc. And once we had all those pieces in place, we needed to figure out where they move from there. There are things you go through in the game tutorial that are relevant later on, when you've ranked up to admiral. There are things we've set up that run all the way through the game - and beyond.

"Because this is an MMO, the cool thing is, we're never done developing it. We're always going to be adding new stuff and new story to it. So I'm already thinking six months out, 12 months out, ‘Okay, what are we going to do next? How will the story move forward? When the players find out, for example, what was really behind the destruction of Romulus, how will that affect everything else?'"

These connections, Thompson confirms, are made over the course of the game: "The first three major areas of the game each have 14 episodes. Those episodes each constitute about 45 minutes to an hour and a half of play, and they're strung together to tell a larger coherent story. In addition, we have all the patrol content and exploration content, and those are little one-act tasks players can perform, but they've given me opportunities to drop in a little more story for the overall game."

If the structure of STO sounds somewhat like the seasons of an entirely new Star Trek TV series, Executive Producer Craig Zinkievich confirms that isn't an accident: "All of the content in Star Trek Online, the vision of the content in the game, is to make it feel as though you're in an episode or a movie. And like those, you're never in one place for any period of time. You're in space, you receive a distress call, you beam down to a planet and rescue some scientists, beam up to a space station, collect vital data, get back to your ship in time for a climactic space battle. That is really what we want the content to feel like - players constantly moving back and forth between environments. You're constantly moving, constantly exploring."

Read the full interviews in issue 24 of The Official Star Trek Magazine ­on newsstands February 9, 2010.


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