Illustration for article titled Bethesda Once Pitched Singleplayer Star Trek RPG

Before making Fallout 3, Todd Howard and Bethesda Softworks pitched a sprawling single-player RPG set in the Star Trek universe - of the Shatner Capt. Kirk era, Howard told Kotaku Talk Radio.

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Appearing on our call-in show earlier today, Howard said at one point Bethesda did have the rights to Star Trek games, acquiring them after Activision's license expired and some of its projects transferred to the Maryland-based studio. (One it published was Star Trek Legacy on the Xbox 360 and PC, developed by Mad Doc Software.)

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"Nothing was developed internally," Howard told KTR. "There was a pitch to do a big Star Trek RPG. [But] we were doing other things, we made Fallout. We can't do everything."

Asked by Kotaku columnist Tim Rogers in what era this RPG would have been set, Rogers replied "We were pondering Classic." And Shatner "did voice acting in one of the games we had," so if the project went forward, his ... distinctive cadence and ... inflection .... likely would ... have been used.

"I agree, I want the big Star Trek RPG that you go out and explore the universe," Howard said, acknowledging that Atari's upcoming Star Trek Online fits the bill, too.

Don't take our word for it; you can download the entire podcast, from iTunes or Blog Talk Radio. The relevant portion begins at 1:00:35.

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DISCUSSION

The problem with every Star Trek game I've ever played with the exception of the "Elite Force" series is that a good idea gets ruined and turned into either a "starship captain" simulator, and "away team selection" simulator, or both.

In the world of Star Trek, captaining a ship consists of setting on your ass and telling other people to work. Even if you play the part of the helms-man, your job consists of selecting a course or battle manuver and making the computer do all the work. The same can be said for almost every "profession" in the Star Trek universe. It all consists of micro-managing, which is incredibly dull. This is why an rpg or even an MMORPG is poorly suited for star trek.

Elite force was the only series worth playing because they understood ONE of the fun aspects of star trek, namely fire-fights with hostile aliens. That being said it was still far too limited. I want to travel to planet Vulcan and see vulcan cities. I want to infiltrate a borg cube and blow it up, saving the federation. I want to sneak around the enterprise gettign data for an annoculation that'll turn the crew back to normal after they all mutated into "generic space creature # 14". I want to get in fist fights with space Lincoln and space Hitler. I want to roam the cooridors of a starship and figure out where the bathrooms are hid. I want to eject the warp core. I want to use the holodeck. I want to have a story engaging enough for that climactic Wrath of Khan ending. I want to travel back in time and save some whales. I want to take on the Q.

My point is there are so many fun aspects to the Star Trek universe, but all were are ever offered are overly nerdy simulators, crappy fps and sparse, generic storylines where you go to sparse, uninteresting planets, visit uinteresting storylines and do uninteresting things to "hostile alien # 13459".

How hard would it be to make a Star Trek game where missions are layed out like... oh I dunno and ACTUAL EPISODE OF STAR TREK!

I've looked at screens of the mmo, but I'm not impressed. Sure they've added all the species, starships and a bunch of "fanboy" planets, but there's no depth to it.