Star Trek fans worldwide have spent generations fantasizing about what it might be like to serve aboard the most revered starship in the fleet and, while that ambition may have once seemed out of reach, a new virtual reality experience is putting that lofty goal within reach. Star Trek: Bridge Crew was developed by Ubisoft for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR headsets and the new video game puts players on the bridge of the J.J. Abrams version of Star Trek’s U.S.S. Enterprise.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew Drafts Seven Of Nine, Geordi LaForge, And Doctor McCoy
Among the first people to try out for Star Trek: Bridge Crew are former stars of the franchise Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager), LeVar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and Karl Urban (Star Trek Beyond). In the scenario created by Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Karl Urban finds himself desperately trying to beam over survivors of an attack, while Voyager’s Seven of Nine (Ryan) launches a barrage of attacks against a Klingon vessel. Meanwhile, in command of the Enterprise, the former Geordi LaForge plays the role of a female captain.
“Keep us in range of that Klingon,” orders Levar Burton.
“I’m trying to phaser him!” yells Jeri.
“Do you need some engine power for that?” asks McCoy.
Jeri Ryan reveals that Star Trek: Bridge Crew was far more realistic than working on the set of Voyager because the effects used in the series consisted of multiple green screens, which were commonly used to create computer generated images, while the actual starship, made of fiberglass and wood, often creaked and moaned as the actors moved about in the scenes.
Meanwhile, Levar Burton sees something more amazing in this technologically advanced video game. As he reveals, Burton sees the opportunity to experience firsthand the vision of mankind coming together in peace and co-existence.
“That’s what Star Trek is all about,” said the Star Trek: The Next Generation star. “It’s infinite diversity in infinite combinations and a respect for all life. I think it’s great to be able to role-play. (‘Trek’ creator) Gene Roddenberry’s vision was one I always gravitated toward because it acknowledged me as a black kid growing up in Northern California. If I hadn’t been in the cast, I would be a fan.”
Karl Urban, who has played Dr. Leonard McCoy in all three of the rebooted Star Trek films, also comments on the experience of the VR game, awed at the way in which it creates a world that, as an actor, he has had to pretend to see.
“When you’re playing the game, it’s almost like you’re not pretending. You’re actually doing it. In some ways, it’s one step closer to the experience.”
Star Trek: Bridge Crew Is The Game CBS “Always Wanted To See Made”
The director in charge of Ubisoft’s development of Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Brian Tate revealed that the video game was developed almost by accident, as a simple experiment with the company’s VR technology. He says they never really expected to see the video game developed seriously, but just for kicks, the team brought Star Trek: Bridge Crew to CBS. Tate says they loved it.
“We went to CBS and they loved it right away. They said this is the Star Trek game they always wanted to see made.”
Star Trek: Bridge Crew isn’t about reliving the fans’ favorite episodes, series, or films, but instead is about creating new experiences for players. As such, there are no familiar faces in the game, and Star Trek: Bridge Crew gives a new perspective, angled so that communication between players flows much more smoothly. For the same reason, players will notice that the chief engineer is also stationed on the bridge.
Another change Ubisoft made was creating a brand new starship for Star Trek: Bridge Crew. The U.S.S. Aegis (NX-1787) is a newly designed ship created just for the VR video game and, as such, it does things a little differently, again to make it more compatible to game playing. Tate doesn’t give more specifics, so players will just have to wait and be surprised.
The game itself is based on Star Trek (2009) and launches by sending the Aegis on a mission to find a new homeworld for the displaced Vulcan race, though Ubisoft director Tate says players can generate missions of their own as well.
Much like the Star Trek universe created by Gene Roddenberry, battle and conflict isn’t the directive of the game. There are missions to complete, and those are the goals, though there are always antagonists with which players will have to deal.
“Combat is an essential part of Star Trek, but it’s never the point of anything you’re doing. It’s always the thing getting in the way,” says Tate.
[Image by Ubisoft/CBS]