Massively visits Stargate Worlds: The interview, part 2

Our part two of our interview with Cheyenne Mountain's studio head Dan Elggren, creative director Chris Klug, art director Howard Lyon, VP of technology Demetrius Comes, and senior marketing manager Kevin Balentine, we talk about the team's plans to reach out to Stargate fans with little gaming experience and we learn about the classic Stargate characters and lore we'll see in the game.

Let's think for a second about Stargate's target demographic. For example, my mother loves Stargate and plays World of Warcraft. She's not your typical gamer. I would assume that you guys would be interested in the sort of person who is a Stargate fan and likes games, but maybe has a full-time job, or has three kids, or just isn't part of the core gamer culture, and can't do this 20-hour-a-week raiding schedule. How are you designing the game to tailor to that kind of Stargate fan?

Dan Elggren: There's a couple different areas. Mini-games, that we just talked about, is one area for sure, because we're going in and allowing people like your mom to go and play mini-games and go to a city. If all she wants to do is be the guru at mini-games, she can do that. But we also want to make sure that the gameplay is fast enough and rewarding enough that if she is only there for a half an hour or 45 minutes, she can get a rewarding experience without feeling like she has to go through a four-hour experience just to get anything done.

Chris Klugg
: And our raids are not designed to be that massive or last that long. So assuming that your mother gets to the endgame, there's going to be other things for her to do besides investing a whole Saturday just to get a raid together.

After release, you guys are planning to run the game like a TV series, with regular episodic content. What would an episode be like?

Chris Klug: We fundamentally believe that if you're gonna charge a certain number of money per month for someone to subscribe to your service, that it's incumbent upon you to entertain them. And so Demetrius and I believe that you've gotta regularly, on a real schedule, deliver content to people, whether that content is systemic upgrades, or more worlds, or more missions, or more archetypes or expanded archetypes. All those things fall into that category.

Let's assume you were delivering expansion PvP, and let's say you wanted to deliver that with a galaxy-wide event that would put in context that PvP experience. That would be the kind of thing we'd push as an episode.

Demetrius Comes: I think the other thing you'll find us doing is trying to separate the concept of a patch from an episode. A patch to us is really gonna be bug fixes, that sort of thing. It's really in the episode releases that you'll see new content, new features, that sort of thing. So separating those two concepts is something we'll probably try to communicate to the public as best we can.

In the episodes that will tie into the Stargate story, will we be seeing familiar system lords like Baal?

Chris Klug: If you're asking us specifically about Baal, yes, he is in the game.

Early in Stargate SG-1, we learned that there were five main races. One of those, called the Furlings, we never actually saw. It was a running joke in the series: what do the Furlings look like? You guys have the opportunity to go beyond what's in the series. Are we going to see the Furlings in Stargate Worlds?

Kevin Balentine: The Furlings do not look like Ewoks!

Dan Elggren: We've had a lot of conversations with Brad Wright and Ryan Cooper [the producers of the TV series]. They're great partners in building this game. They've given us great feedback, and they've given us great opportunities to expand the universe. So when it comes to content like the Furlings, they've given us the opportunity to expand on that.

Chris Klug: And they've been quoted as saying that, as far as they're concerned, it's one big universe. What's in the game is just as canon as what's on the show. There is no separation in their minds. One of the goals that we both have once the game launches and we're up and running, is to co-tell stories about stuff that's happening in the show, talking about it in the MMO world and vice-versia.

So does that mean that you are planning to expand to Atlantis, since that's the only show that's running right now?

Chris Klug: Those exact plans are uncertain at this point.

Are we going to encounter ascended beings in Stargate Worlds?

Chris Klug: No comment. Well, I will say this: the full spectrum of the Stargate lore is involved in the game we're doing, so anything is possible in that regard.

I've read that the Go'auld are going to in some ways either be more powerful, or have more powers than other players. What does that mean for PvP balance?

Chris Klug: All of the archetypes are balanced. So wherever you have read that, that's erroneous speculation. In fact, one of the things we did with our Go'auld -- again, in concert with Wright and Cooper -- is create a new Go'auld, a "New Mind Go'auld," we call them, that are slightly different than the Go'auld in the show, that are more like Baal as he evolved in the later seasons.

So morally grey, rather than a cackling supervillain?

Chris Klug: Well, morally grey, correct. Also, there's a quote from Baal in season nine where he's trying to make a business deal with Teal'c. He says, more or less, "the whole pretending we were gods thing didn't work, so why don't we just make a business deal?" That's kind of a motif for the way our Go'auld work in the universe. Again, the Go'auld, the Asgard, the Humans, and the Jaffa are all balanced. I don't think any one of them is more powerful than any of the others.

Continue to Part 3 of 4!