Ahead of last week’s launch of Star Trek: Prodigy: Supernova, TrekNews.net sat down with lead game designer Pere Suau of Tessera Studios to discuss what it took to bring the animated series into the world of gaming.
TrekNews.net: How were you folks approached to create a game based on Star Trek: Prodigy? Why Prodigy specifically, considering all the other Star Trek shows currently airing?
Suau: Outright Games has a great relationship with our partners at Nickelodeon and Paramount, and we are always looking to develop more family-friendly experiences. Many of the team at Outright Games and at Tessera Studios are fans of the Star Trek series and love the direction of a younger, more ragtag crew that is still telling a full, authentic Star Trek story. This pairing of Star Trek: Prodigy with Outright Games, and the creatives at Tessera, seemed like a perfect match, and a great opportunity to share Star Trek with the next generation.
TrekNews.net: Star Trek video games have been around for quite a while, and we’re curious if members of the dev team have fond (or not-so-fond) memories of playing any of them over the years.
Suau: Yes, the team at Tessera Studios has played, and has fond memories of, several games from Star Trek — such as Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, and Star Trek Online. Hopefully Star Trek: Prodigy: Supernova joins the list of players’ favorites.
TrekNews.net: What makes a good Star Trek game? Plenty of developers have tried their hand at games within the Star Trek universe. What do you think will make Supernova successful in this regard?
Suau: The team at Tessera has always kept the Star Trek fan in mind while developing Supernova. We have been faithful to the lore of the series, and we believe we’ve been able to respect the personalities of the different characters as well as the relationships that exist between the crew of the Protostar.
The values of teamwork or cooperation, friendship, freedom, etc. are intrinsic to the Star Trek saga and we didn’t want fans to find themselves with a videogame in which they didn’t recognize their favorite characters. We are proud of the way we captured these in the fundamental game design, and hope players identify these core values while playing.
TrekNews.net: What was it like bringing the Prodigy aesthetic to video game form? What challenges did the art team face in this regard?
Suau: The aesthetics of the series were a reference that we were very clear that we wanted to respect, but since it was set in another galaxy, we had to create new planets, environments, and civilizations with all the challenges that this implies.
Another challenge we faced was the design of the interfaces. We took as a reference the old LCARS sketches and their new aesthetics in the series and we analyzed their organization, shapes, elements, and color palette to apply them to the game. It is a challenge, but also such a privilege to be able to create in the Star Trek universe, with all its history.
TrekNews.net: This game is no doubt aimed at kids, but what could a parent look forward to as they watch their kid play this (or if the parent plays with the child via the co-op mode)?
Suau: We’re sure that parents who are fans of the series will have fun picking up on the many references to the series scattered throughout the game. The game might be targeted towards a younger demographic, but parents will still find themselves challenged when facing off against tough alien enemies and solving the game’s many mind-bending puzzles.
TrekNews.net: This game features three alien planets; talk a bit about the process of bringing a novel world in Star Trek to life within the context of a video game. What design challenges did you folks face as you were creating these worlds?
Suau: The three planets we visit in the game (Orisi, Mirios and Taresse) have been designed and created from scratch to match the gameplay of the game and bring out its full potential. To be honest, we didn’t face any design challenges because Paramount, Nickelodeon, and the Star Trek teams gave us full support in creating as long as the focus was creating a fun, authentic Star Trek game experience!
TrekNews.net: Many children (and adults) play on Switch, but it’s clearly the most constraining console from a technical aspect. Was creating this game on Nintendo’s handheld particularly challenging compared to the other systems?
Suau: The Switch is a perfect piece of hardware for our target demographic: younger kids and families playing together in a two-player co-op. Having the JoyCon readily available makes it seem like the hardware was built to play our game! Of course, from a pure hardware/power perspective, the Switch is distinct from other platforms, so inevitably we have to develop the game with these specifications in mind. We’re incredibly happy with the performance and look of the final product, and the Switch version has the obvious benefit of being playable both in docked mode and portably. At Outright Games, we’ve always had a very close connection with the Nintendo Switch console, as it’s a place where many families come together to share gaming experiences with each other.
TrekNews.net: What was it like working with the cast of Star Trek: Prodigy? What did they bring to the voiceover booth that you might not have had otherwise?
Suau: It was such a pleasure to work with the voice talent from the show! They were also recording for the show, so they really brought energy and insight into their characters. It really did feel like they were a crew: they all have their own personalities, but they are all working together on an epic journey. I want to give a special shout-out to our voice director, who helped keep everyone enthusiastic and up to date as we tweaked the narrative, and gave us lots of info on how to best capture the essence and authentic interactions of the Protostar crew. It was tricky balancing these characters in the particular time period of this game versus the show, but we’re all really proud of the story we’re able to tell, character development and humor we captured, and the new characters we were able to introduce!
Star Trek: Prodigy: Supernova is available now digitally on the respective PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch storefronts, and on Amazon for Xbox (digital code), Xbox (physical), Switch (physical), and PlayStation 4 (physical). There doesn’t seem to be a PS5 Amazon listing for this game at this time.
Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for all the latest news on Star Trek merchandise, along with details on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, and more.