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March 5, 2008
GDC 2008 - Stargate Worlds Update

By Paul Philleo

A wise man named MacGyver once said on television, the source of all great truths, that "I learned something a long time ago: never laugh at what you don't know." This television off-the-cuff genius later moved on to play Colonel O’Neill, one of the anchor characters for Stargate SG-1, the popular science fiction spin-off series from the 1994 movie. The purpose of this circuitous line of thought about Richard Dean Anderson is to bear in mind his earlier advice while we update you on Stargate Worlds. This is the PC-only science fiction massively multiplayer game based on the Stargate SG-1 television property you may – or somehow may not – have known about or been keeping tabs on.

Kevin Balentine is the Senior Marketing Manager at Cheyenne Mountain, the developer of Stargate SG-1. He qualified that the game is being based on the broader, more open-ended story arc that deviates from the overall plot progression from seasons 8 and 9. Developing inventive stories and quests would certainly be easier with a more flexible storyline, without annoying purist fans of the series.

A few new tidbits about the game were shared with us to give insight into what is scheduled to hit the table this autumn, when SW launches commercially. For those who like to control more than their avatar, Stargate Worlds won’t offer player-controlled vehicles at launch, Cheyenne Mountain’s senior marketing manager said. For players who want to deal with their avatar and only their avatar while adventuring, there’s some hope. “We want the game to be solo-able,” he said. “Stargate Worlds is like most other MMOs in that it’s designed for community play, but we want players to have the freedom to explore the game’s universe on their own.”

When involved in the action-oriented combat sequences, in-game enemy AI won’t react blindly or predictably, according to Balentine. Enemy combatants will apparently react like first-person shooter opponents, flanking and using cover to engage the player.

A new video trailer that was played showed off a taste of the planetary diversity that’s likely to be represented in Stargate Worlds, from a forbidding and sterile-seeming mechanical planet, to a snow-drifted wasteland not unlike Star Wars’ Hoth planet, to a Paleolithic-type world overrun with vast jungles of gigantic plant life. Graphics representing the worlds appeared to make good use of the Unreal 3 graphics engine, even if there weren’t any demonstrations of in-game combat or PvE involvement..

Cheyenne Mountain has shared nine new still shots from the diverse planets populating Stargate Worlds, including two exclusive images for MPOGD. One image artistically depicts the power station fans of the TV series may find familiar and a new image from the steely mechanical planet of Agnos.

In the end, how does Stargate Worlds plan to operate successfully alongside World of Warcraft, the undisputed king of mass market MMO games? Balentine didn’t need much time to consider his answer: “We co-exist nicely with WoW…because sometimes, you know, you just want to take your P90 and shoot things up.” Yes, there are fans of trigger finger games, but you just can’t forget those legions of Stargate fans, either. To see how this MMO game continues to develop and how closely fans embrace it will be an interesting question to watch unfold as 2008 continues.



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