The very first video game set in the Stargate television universe will be Stargate Resistance, developer Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment announced earlier this month (story). Resistance is an online, third-person shooter set for release early in 2010.
The announcement got us very excited (we’d buy it just to dial a D.H.D. and walk to and fro through Stargates) — but also a bit cautious about the studio’s decision to release another title before Stargate Worlds, the massively multi-player online role-playing game that has been in development for years. Stargate fans have been burned before, with the SG-1 game The Alliance cancelled late in its development and Worlds itself postponed due to the disastrous effects of the economy. Will Resistance break the Stargate video game curse?
Things certainly look good so far, with development already in the final stages and investors supporting (and indeed, pushing for) the game’s release. But what sort of game will it be? Where does the story fit into the SG-1 timeline? Is it accessible to casual gamers, who may pick up the title as Stargate fans first and gamers second? And what does the demands SGR placed on the studio’s resources mean for Worlds?
We took our questions to Cheyenne Mountain, where reps were extremely straight-forward and candid (another good sign from the studio, which before now has gained a bit of a reputation as less than communicative with an anxious fan base). Our thanks to Resistance producer Kathryn Dutchin, Shane Hensley, President of Game Development, and marketing director Jeremy Taylor for getting our questions answered.
Here is our Q&A in its entirety.
GateWorld: What sort of game is Stargate Resistance? What’s the basic premise, and is there an anticipated release date?
Kathryn Dutchin: Stargate Resistance is a third-person, persistent shooter. In addition to the familiar PvP combat of many online shooters, players will gain experience with each class, advancing in rank which will ultimately provide buffs they can apply to their entire team in a fight.
There is also a larger game of galactic domination taking place within Stargate Resistance. Each win on a particular world will matter, counting toward the overall control of that region of the galaxy by the faction you are playing. Control of specific regions will affect how each faction experiences the maps, and what options might be available in the future for those worlds. We will be continually adding new maps, achievements, unlockables and features to the game, to keep the universe rich and new.
The game will release within the first quarter of 2010.
GW: Are there any connections (in terms of story, characters, etc.) between the new title and Stargate Worlds?
KD: Currently, the Stargate Worlds story is evolving, and some connections may arise. But there is no direct connection between Stargate Resistance and Stargate Worlds at this time. Stargate Worlds offers players a chance to live within the Stargate universe, and create their own story in that world. Stargate Resistance is about taking part in a massive, sweeping battle for control of the galaxy.
Hmm …. come to think of it, they don’t sound too dissimilar, do they? But no direct connection between story is intended at this time.
GW: How long has the game been in development, and what was the reasoning behind starting a second game before the first one is out?
KD: This is actually a complicated question and answer. I suppose the simplest way to state it is this: Cheyenne had a top team developing a persistent online shooter when the economy went belly up, and our funding dried up. Since Worlds, at that time, was at its peak burn, and very expensive, and we were also facing some of our toughest technical challenges with that title, to make it robust and ready for market, it became impossible to sustain the team and other studios as well.
Since we are privately funded, our investment group felt very strongly that a title be released within a short time frame. But with funding dropped so low, there was no way at that time to finish Stargate Worlds within that time frame, in any capacity that would serve the fans and the game well. So, building and releasing Stargate Resistance became the best option for Cheyenne, and its investors, to ride out the economic wave, and keep Stargate Worlds on the top tier it deserves.
Over the last months working on Resistance, the team has had enormous fun, and we’re very excited about this title. (I know all teams say that … but you should come visit us at play-test time!) We’re no less anxious to finish Worlds, but this title has been a blast, and we’re excited to see it becoming ready to ship.
GW: Given the studio’s financial situation, and the multiple delays to the completion of SGW, why is a second game being undertaken now? How would you assuage the fan concern that CME / Firesky isn’t able to finish one game, let alone two at the same time?
Shane Hensley: The vast majority of our resources right now are dedicated to Resistance, so it’s really not two complete games. Worlds was a far larger project than we were able to successfully continue after the economic collapse created financial problems for us last summer, and impossible given a couple of key personnel who left. So we regrouped, looked at the specific talent we had remaining and the finances we thought we could raise, and we came up with a new plan that would fit that time and budget.
Please remember, too, that most of our staff didn’t come from the Worlds project. We took the best of our collective progress on Worlds and other projects and combined them to create Stargate Resistance.
GW: So will the devotion of studio resources to this game mean that the wait for SGW will be longer? Is there a new estimated release window for that title?
SH: Not necessarily. We did not have the financial or human resources to successfully complete Stargate Worlds, so it was indeterminable when it would be completed. With the launch of Stargate Resistance, we can hopefully reduce our dependence on private (angel) funding, and be able to gain more certainty about Stargate Worlds.
NEXT: Game play, SG-1, and beta testing