Star Trek has been around for more than 50 years, shaping the very landscape of modern science fiction across television, films, and novels. Yet, it still seems like the franchise hasn’t much explored the realm of video games. There is the massively multiplayer game Star Trek Online, which is still going strong with new updates, but the more philosophical and interpersonal storytelling elements of Star Trek are something that we don’t often see in the interactive medium.
That’s changing with the upcoming Star Trek: Resurgence, releasing later this year. It’s an adventure game coming from former members of the original Telltale Games, creators of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and Batman: The Telltale Series. I got to play a brief demo of Star Trek: Resurgence at GDC 2022, and it felt like stepping back into the era of The Next Generation from an entirely different perspective.
Set after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis (during the era of The Next Generation), Resurgence focuses on two original protagonists, Jara Rydek and Carter Diaz, the newest members of the U.S.S. Resolute. Jara is the newly promoted first officer of the Resolute, working under Captain Solano, while Carter is a wisecracking engineer who is a new transfer to the crew. While both work in separate divisions, their stories become intertwined with the brewing conflict that the crew of the Resolute will need to resolve — with the added help of returning Star Trek character Spock.
“What we wanted to do was to deliver on a broad Star Trek experience, which means doing a lot of different types of gameplay,” said lead writer Dan Martin. “It’s not strictly a shooter or a strategy game, but rather we’re telling a story that has you play through what a lot of Star Trek is — which is an experience about building relationships and making decisions, as well as elements of shooting a phaser, flying a shuttlecraft, and investigating things with your tricorder. We wanted to make it feel like you’re living in one of the movies or in the TV show.”
Just like Telltale’s previous works, or even classic adventure games like Grim Fandango or The Secret of Monkey Island, Star Trek: Resurgence is a narrative-driven game that lets you explore its world and interact with a host of characters, both original and familiar. During several interactions, you can choose to give a variety of responses, which will result in branches in the conversation. Depending on your choices during talks or in the game’s moments of action, you’ll change your relationship with some characters, affecting how the plot will move forward.
While on the Resolute, you can move about and chat with the different members of the crew. It was a nice treat to see the halls of a Federation ship during the era of The Next Generation — which is a favorite setting of mine. Many of the computer panels and rooms housing 24th-century tech have been recreated from the show, and it was really satisfying to observe the crew at work around ship.
This gameplay on its own is compelling, but with the added scope and gravitas of the Star Trek franchise, it gives Resurgence some added depth to its world, that you’re stepping into a universe that has seen so many stories and events occur. On the ship, you’ll see more call outs to classic Star Trek, along with many familiar characters and species from the universe; such as the Vulcans, the Tril and Cardassians. While Resurgence will primarily feature mostly original characters, some noteworthy legacy characters from the shows and movies will also appear.
One of those characters who will cameo in Resurgence is Spock, who is still arguably the most iconic character from the franchise. On an added note, the actor playing Spock for the late Leonard Nimoy does an outstanding job recreating Nimoy’s cadence and speech patterns for the character. During a scene with Jara and Spock, you’ll need to pick the appropriate responses to stay professional, stick to the task at hand, or fixate on his reputation as one of the universe’s greatest minds. Jara, in particular, will become instrumental in mediating the current conflict, and the tightrope you’ll have to face is making the right choices along the way.
If anything, playing this short slice of Star Trek: Resurgence felt like playing an interactive version of the fan-favorite TNG episode Lower Decks, which served as the inspiration for the current animated series. That episode focused on lower-ranking members of the Enterprise, all of whom were in orbit of the more well-known characters and would eventually be brought into the fold to help with an upcoming mission.
I can’t stress enough that the pairing of a Telltale-style game with Star Trek is a fantastic combo, and Resurgence is certainly leaning into that blend of classic TNG Trek with some modern games storytelling. While I liked the storytelling beats, I did feel somewhat limited during the demo, but I’m still interested in seeing how it’ll pan out in the full game. Also, the demo I got to play was quite early, and it had some bugs and hitches that did hamper some of the experience. However, the devs stressed that the build of game would be ironed out as it approaches release.
As a Star Trek fan, it’s been really exciting to see the franchise so active recently. With current shows like Picard, Discovery, Lower Decks and the upcoming Strange New Worlds, it’s been satisfying to see the expansive universe of Star Trek be given new life, and Resurgence is another promising piece of Star Trek to dive into. And in keeping with all of Star Trek throughout many decades, it features an incredibly diverse cast that not only gives voices to marginalized groups, but also promotes a progressive and positive future for all.
So far, Star Trek: Resurgence felt like a great opportunity to step into the shoes of some unsung heroes in the Star Trek Universe. I felt invested in both Jara and Carter’s stories, and I can’t wait to see what adventures they’ll get up to on away missions or when exploring the decks of the Resolute.
Star Trek Resurgence releases later this year on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.