At this year’s GDC, I had the chance to sit down with Dramatic Labs, an indie studio founded by former Telltale developers, and play a brief demo of Star Trek: Resurgence. As someone who played most of the Telltale games before the studio shuttered — and who has watched a healthy amount of Trek over the years — I was curious to see how well the two would mesh.
Resurgence is a narrative adventure game set in 2380 between Star Trek: Nemesis and Picard on the Prime timeline. In plainer terms, it’s set after most of the main series and can safely pull in cameos of characters like Spock without conflicting with other storylines.
The Star Trek shows often tackled real-world issues through allegorical conflicts. The difference with Resurgence is that you’ll choose how your character responds to these issues, which will shape the resolution.
JaraSource: Dramatic Labs
Telltale Games used its own engine, which was notoriously buggy and held back the gameplay beyond timed dialogue and QTEs. Star Trek: Resurgence uses Unreal Engine, which will unlock more gameplay mechanics and minigames than before.
Still, most of the demo gameplay was fundamentally similar to past games: you pick one of three dialogue options, then walk around and point-and-select objects or people to learn information or progress the story. I’m curious to see whether Dramatic Labs can deliver a more polished and well-rounded experience beyond dialogue. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any proper action, so we’ll have to wait and see.
The bridge of the U.S.S. ResolutionSource: Dramatic Labs
For instance, your captain asks definitively for your loyalty during tough situations, which I agreed to; that might come to haunt me later if he makes a fundamentally flawed decision and I must either enable him or disobey orders. But as a mere 15-minute demo focusing on multiple characters, I didn’t get deep enough into the story to judge how pivotal your choices will actually be. Some Telltale games had a tendency to force players towards specific conclusions and make choices feel superficial, and I’m hoping Resurgence avoids that.
Unlike Telltale games and the Star Trek TV shows, Star Trek: Resurgence will arrive in one complete package and tell one long-form story. In the past, Telltale would release early episodes before completing them all, which meant they couldn’t retcon the story if they decided to change the ending later. By releasing in one burst, the Dramatic Labs devs said, it allowed them to tell a more cohesive story than before, with early choices seeding directly through the rest of the story.
EngineeringSource: Dramatic Labs
On the other hand, when asked what “Resurgence” referred to, the devs told me that would be a spoiler. That made me wonder if the title refers to a dangerous foe or species from the past making a reappearance. Trekkies may get some enjoyment investigating the conflict, trying to catch clues as to what’s really happening behind the scenes.
CarterSource: Dramatic Labs
Star Trek: Resurgence will be available on the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PS4, and PC through the Epic Games Store. We’ll have to wait and see whether it can number among the best Xbox games available when it arrives later this year.