GamesBeat: I was going to ask how you decide what characters to bring in, but that seems like pretty much all the main characters from the shows.
Radoff: That’s a much bigger number, actually. In Star Trek: Timelines, it’s not just about the individual main characters. It’s the different versions of them across the course of their lives, as well as the alternate versions. For example, take Captain Sisko from Deep Space Nine. We have Sisko when he was a new officer. We have Sisko later as commander of the Defiant. We have Sisko in his alternate-universe form. We’re doing a lot of that. We even have holodeck versions of the characters, Dixon Hill versions of the characters, stuff like that. Yes, 150 sounds like a lot, but it’s the tip of the iceberg compared to what we want to get in the game.
GamesBeat: So can I have an away team of all Picards if I wanted to?
Radoff: You could, sure. It’s possible, if you have that many different Picards. You can never use two of the exact same character, but you could come up with enough different alternate versions of Picard. You could go with Captain Picard. You could go with him when he was a new ensign, back in that episode where he got stabbed.
Radoff: Yep, exactly. You also see him in an alternate future where he’s an astrophysicist instead of a command officer. You could use that version of him. You could use Dixon Hill Picard. You could use the later version of Picard from the movies. You could even do Locutus of Borg, if you wanted to.
GamesBeat: Did you guys have a lot of leeway with the property, or did you get a lot of guidance from the studio and the IP owners?
Radoff: We were always the source of the creative ideas in the game. We were the ones who drove the conversations around what content ought to be in it. We, of course, worked closely with CBS through the course of development, and we’ll continue to work with them as we add more content updates to the game. They always had opinions. They have the relationship with the cast members. They have a lot of background as far as what fans really like, what’s popular, and where the problem areas are. They had feedback on literally every single character that we put in the game.
But it came from us, as far as what we wanted to put in the game, and then we’d take each character and concept back to them. They’d give us feedback on it. Fortunately, the company here is full of Star Trek fans. I don’t think we could have made the game without them. Everyone who’s worked on this game has loved Star Trek for years, and it gave us the background to create a great game that’s really built for fans.
GamesBeat: Was this something that sort of fell into your laps, or did you actively seek out the project?
Radoff: Oh, we actively pursued it. Star Trek is a huge property. There’s no such thing as something of the magnitude of Star Trek falling into anyone’s lap. But we’d been working Game of Thrones: Ascent. We were already about a year into the development of Game of Thrones when we approached CBS. They were looking at a couple of different options for licensing Star Trek on mobile. It was a very competitive process.
We had to prove the combination of both our ability to deliver a product that would be authentic for the fanbase, but also that we had the ability to deliver a game that would be at the leading edge of gaming once we launched. This is a game with amazing 3D graphics and great production values alongside all the content. We had to prove all that. It wasn’t a fast or easy process. We wanted Star Trek. We want to build games that are based on things we’re familiar with and love ourselves.
But what’s compelling about Star Trek, along with the number of characters, is the fact that so many of the situations in Star Trek are resolved not through combat, but through things like diplomacy and politics and science. We felt that provided us an opportunity to create types of gameplay we hadn’t tried before. That’s what’s exciting about it. People will sit down to play Star Trek: Timelines, and they’ll be playing a kind of game they haven’t experienced on a mobile device before.
GamesBeat: It’s a free-to-play game, right?
Radoff: It is.
GamesBeat: What kind of premium options are there?
Radoff: You can get any character just by playing the game, but there’s also the ability to buy premium packs that give you a higher chance of getting rare characters. If you’re particularly interested in certain kinds of characters, buying packs will get you access to more characters. That’s the primary way we generate revenue in the game, by making collectible content available for people to buy.
GamesBeat: Every Star Trek fan has their favorites. Is it hard, as a developer, not to play favorites when you’re working with the entire franchise?
Radoff: We recognize the same thing. In Star Trek, there’s this huge long tail of interest around individual characters. That’s what’s neat about Star Trek. You can’t just build Kirk and Picard and Spock, even though those are the three most popular characters in Star Trek. You miss out on the majority of things people are interested in.
To really build a game for the fanbase of Star Trek, you have to tap into this much deeper reservoir of characters and stories and alternate versions of characters. So, I think, given that we have 150-ish-and-growing characters in the game, we’ve avoided that. We’ve tried to bring back what we think is really interesting and what will, in some cases, remind players of characters they haven’t seen in years. That’s a big part of the fun of creating a game like this.
GamesBeat: You guys are in beta right now. Do you have a window for the official launch?
Radoff: We haven’t announced a day, but it’s going to be in January. Coming soon.