Star Trek Online hit some pretty major windfalls, even disregarding the fact that it's built on a popular intellectual property with legions of dedicated fans. It launched during a timeframe when there were no other major releases scheduled, came out not too long after a very popular movie in the franchise, and caught a lot of exposure with its open beta. And as executive producer Craig Zinkievich points out in a new interview, the entire operation relied not just on hard work, but also on luck.
The full interview confirms that the whole game had a two-year development cycle -- an astonishingly short turnaround for a game starting, essentially, from nothing -- and details the scope of problems that the staff had to deal with. The game included a number of major departures from expected norms, up to and including divorcing the player from their avatar to a greater extent than normal and creating two different combat systems with just one team on the assignment.
Whether or not you're happy with the end result is a matter of personal opinion, but Zinkievich is quite pleased with what the team produced operating under their several constraints. He also details some of the planned enhancements for Star Trek Online in the near future, which promises to be a bit less risky and a bit more straightforward.
[Thanks to Randomessa for the tip!]