Star Trek Online Interview

Eurogamer has whipped up an extensive four-page interview with Star Trek Online executive producer Craig Zinkievich that covers several topics related to the sci-fi MMORPG. Such as:
Eurogamer: Talking about "after launch" - how much planning has gone into that already? Is there A Plan?

Craig Zinkievich: We definitely have a, er, sketch for the first year after launch. But one of the things we did learn with City of Heroes was that the more detailed you get with the plan, the more useless it is. Ha.

The really cool thing is launching the game and then all of a sudden you don't have a team of 50 developers trying to figure out what to do, you have hundreds of thousands of players saying, "This is what we want!" So you definitely have to make sure you're flexible and that you really pay attention to what your audience ends up wanting.


Eurogamer: Star Trek Online has a random generator - a genesis system - that populates the planets of the universe. Aren't you worried that by leaving content in the hands of an engine that quantity will be churned out over quality - that Star Trek Online will be shallow and sterile?

Craig Zinkievich: If that is the only content that you are planning on, then yeah, you are probably doomed to failure. But one of the things we've done in order to build the genesis system is to make sure that each bit we make, our internal developers get to use it to make cooler content with... You give them the tools to use it a little bit and and it increases their productivity because they don't have to worry about doing any of the rote stuff any more - just the cool stuff. And then you fold that back into the genesis system.

I don't think that at any point our genesis content will replace what our artists and designers can do; it's really an adjunct to it. No matter how cool the genesis content gets - and it is actually really awesome - there will be stuff in the game that is hand-tweaked, hand-touched, that moves the player along, that is that story-driven content. Doing the procedurally-generated content is really there as a choice.
Mass Effect's uncharted planets is exactly how you shouldn't handle space exploration.