Star Trek: Resurgence Preview: A Day in the Life of a Starfleet Officer

Star Trek fans can soon look forward to a brand new gaming experience in Star Trek: Resurgence, the debut game from Dramatic Labs, a new studio founded by former Telltale designers. The project sees the designers applying their experience working on games like The Wolf Among Us, Batman: The Telltale Series, and The Walking Dead: The Telltales Series to the Star Trek universe. The game takes place in 2380, shortly after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, the final Star Trek: The Next Generation movie. During the Games Developers Conference, Cinematic Director Kent Mudle walked through a remote game demo, controlling the player character to show us three of the game's early scenes.

The first scene has players controlling Commander Jara Ridek as she boards the USS Resolute. She's the ship's new first officer and players navigate the way through her first conversation with her commanding officer, Captain Solano.

(Photo: Jara and Carter, Star Trek: Resurgence)

In the next scene, players control Carter Diaz, who enlisted in Starfleet because he was eager to see the stars but had no patience for four years at the academy. His scene is mostly a back-and-forth with his supervisor, Chief Engineer Chuvok, as Carter attempts to out-logic the Vulcan.

The final scene has Jara take part in a senior staff meeting with Star Trek icon Ambassador Spock. Starfleet is sending the Resolute on a diplomatic mission to help solve a dispute between the Hotari and the Alydian. The two societies are neighbors and a key part of the dilithium trade, with the Alydian supplying mining technology and the Hotari doing the actual mining, digging up their planet's deep deposits of dilithium. All the while, the Alydian have gotten wealthier and wealthier from Hotari labor. As Jara, players learn about the situation and, at various points, can offer their opinion about its practicalities, pitfalls, and ethical quandaries. At the end of the meeting, Spock makes an unexpected request, encouraging Jara to go outside the official negotiations to engage in some backchannel diplomacy.

Star Trek: Resurgence's gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played past Telltale Games releases. Players conversate in real-time, able to choose between three different responses at predetermined conversation branches. The other characters then respond in kind. In our past interview with the developers, they expressed excitement about being able to include new modes of play beyond their well-known conversation trees. Still, these dialogue mechanics remain the core of Star Trek: Resurgence.

I was consistently impressed that the game's writing finds nuances within Starfleet officer behavior, giving players room to explore what Starfleet ideals mean to their characters. Jara could show a powerful devotion to duty or strongly emphasize with the Hotari over their exploitation at the hands of the Alydian. Both tracks feel authentic and keep in line with what you'd expect from a Starfleet officer.

"You're never really going against the mission of Starfleet, but you do get to decide how to accomplish how to accomplish that mission, and that can involve some pretty drastic measures given certain circumstances you'll run into," Mudle tells us during a Q&A after the demo. "Desperate times call for desperate measure, and that happens within Star Trek: Resurgence as well."

Having two distinct main characters with two different points of view is also vital to the game. It allows players to experience life on the ship from the perspective of a non-officer serving in the ship's bowels, doing the dirty work like outfitting the ship's exterior to survive unusual cosmic phenomena, as well as by playing one of its senior staff. One might see something similar in this dichotomy and the balance of power between the Hotari and the Alydian.

(Photo: Bridge of the USS Resolute, Star Trek: Resurgence)

"One of the things that we talked about was wanting to see life on a Starship from two different angles," says Star Trek: Resurgence Lead Writer Dan Martin. "For the first officer, it's an interesting place to be in because they are on the bridge, they're the most important member of the senior staff, but they also have to manage up the chain of command as well as down, and it's very different than for Carter Diaz. He's a petty officer second class. He's mainly just taking orders at this point. What's it like on that side of it? We knew from the very beginning that we wanted to have those two points of view and wanted to have multiple characters, pulling from the TNG episode 'Lower Decks' and one of my favorite characters, Miles O'Brien. We were inspired to see those two sides. Also, the theme of duty versus friendship is something that we'll explore with the chain of command."

The Resolute itself is familiar but different from any other Star Trek ship. Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation will likely notice the wood panel arch behind the captain's chair and the carpeted floors similar to the USS Enterprise-D's design, while the command consoles are in alcoves, not unlike those on the Voyager's bridge. The LCARS wall surrounding the bridge brings the Star Trek movies to mind, and the blue color palette is similar to the systems seen in the second season of Star Trek: Picard. "It's kind of a beautiful mishmash to make something that is our own and unique from other Starships but still really screams Star Trek," Mudle says.

Martin adds that the ship "has its own lineage going back to the films of The Original Series. It could stand alongside the Enterprise-D, the E, Voyager, and look like it came off the production line at the Utopia Planitia shipyard."

What we saw in Star Trek: Resurgence is encouraging. The gameplay is familiar, but the efforts to bring Star Trek's distinct universe and storytelling style to life are apparent. We can't wait to dive deeper into its story when the game releases later this year for Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, and Mac.