Star Trek Online Interview

VideoGamer has published a lengthy three-part interview with Cryptic Studios executive producer Craig Zinkievich about Star Trek Online. Some of the questions were submitted from their community, so a vast assortment of topics are covered throughout the interview. Here's a little something from part one: I've read that you unlock the Klingons. Can you tell me at this stage what you have to do to unlock them and how that's going to work?

CZ: The specifics we're saving, but I can tell you that it happens very soon into gameplay, just several hours into gameplay. Totally honestly, the reason why we're unlocking Klingons is because we didn't want to make two tutorials. The game is complex in space. There's a learning curve. You know reporting on games how much effort is put forth to making a tutorial and to make sure it gets the player in and is polished and nice, and is a teaching tool at the same time. It takes a lot of resources. It's the type of thing that, sadly from an MMO aspect, you spend all this time on it and then a week into live people are saying, 'can I skip the tutorial already?'. So we were just like, 'look, we're not going to spend the months and months it's going to take to make a Klingon tutorial. Let's just focus on the gameplay instead.'

A sampling from part two: Champions Online recently launched. Have you taken anything on board from that launch that you might do differently with Star Trek Online?

CZ: Oh man, tonnes! It's awesome. The core technology that both products are built upon is shared. Any stability and performance improvements that have been done to our database CS tools, maps, servers, website, for Champions Online, automatically come across to Star Trek. It's awesome to have such a proven engine behind the game. From a design point, I mean the Champions guys are right over there! I can point to them! So constantly whenever they run into a problem, we hear about it. Or if they're having issues and the fans are screaming about something, or if the fans like something, we hear about that. Communication is extremely tight. There have been times where they've run into issues and they're like, 'Oh my god! Do we have a solution? We've got to figure out how to fix this problem!' and then we huddle over in our corner and say, 'did we figure out what to do with that? Oh my god! We've got to figure out what to do with that!'. But there have also been times where they've come up with a solution and it's been like, 'That's awesome! We're just going to use it'. Or, they've run into a problem, we hear about it and we said, 'This is how we solved this, why don't you take that and use it?'. So it's cool to have another team right there who is also figuring out things and going through the live process right now - so lots of sharing and lots of learning.

And a quick snip from part three:
rbevanx: Will it offer something for non Star Trek fans (myself) as games like Star Wars: Knights of the Republic appealed to non Star Wars fans (again like myself)?

CZ: The game is just chockfull of lore, right? Around every corner you're going to see a reference to something or the name of an item is going to hearken back to an episode you saw. That being said, first and foremost it's a game, it's not a simulator. We want to make sure it is a fun and engaging game and you don't need to even know anything about the license, the universe, in order to get in and start enjoying it. Our fondest hope is that people who don't know Star Trek at all, people who aren't really fans, who are like, 'ooh, you know I saw that movie, I want to know more about that universe', get in and get hooked and learn all of those things. So no, you don't need to be a fan. You don't need to know about the license and the universe at all to get in and play.

They've also uploaded some new screenshots, though you'll find a much bigger batch at IncGamers.