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StartGame ZoneStar Trek: Resurgence"Star Trek: Resurgence" – Interview with Writer Andrew Grant (Part 2)

“Star Trek: Resurgence” – Interview with Writer Andrew Grant (Part 2)

We continue our interview with writer and producer Andrew Grant from Dramatic Labs.

Andrew Grant, Writer of “Star Trek: Resurgence”

TrekZone.de had the opportunity to sit down with Andrew Grant, writer and producer on “Star Trek: Resurgence”, and chat about his approach to storytelling in general and “Star Trek” in particular. You can read the first part of the interview here. There are spoilers ahead. We’ve hidden them in collapsible boxes. If you haven’t had a chance to play “Resurgence” yet, you may skip them.

For reasons of length and clarity, the following interview has been edited.

Fan Service vs. Originality

TrekZone Network: It’s interesting that you mention “Strange New Worlds.” As in that series, the character of Spock appears in “Resurgence”. You chose to recreate the late Leonard Nimoy by a spot-on imitation of his likeness and voice. Since the 2009 movie, the character seems ubiquitous to any “Star Trek” production. It’s certainly a nod to the fans, and it makes any piece of “Trek” easily recognizable. But I’m curious if the character of Spock has always been an integral part of the story you wanted to tell.

Andrew Grant: From the start our goal was to create a unique cast of characters and new species that would hopefully feel like an organic fit within the larger canon. In the earliest conversations we drew up a ‘wish list’ of iconic characters who might credibly intersect with our timeline and our narrative and Spock was always at the top of the list. Of course there was also a bit of concern because there are so many ways an impersonation can go wrong and we didn’t want his inclusion to feel gratuitous.

Fortunately, we found an amazing actor named Piotr Michael who delivered a Spock impression that was uncanny in its accuracy and gave us the gravitas only a character like Spock can bring to the narrative.

To your question, there conceivably could have been a version of our story that didn’t include Ambassador Spock, but strictly as a fan I think “Star Trek: Resurgence” would be the lesser for it. To be immersed in that narrative universe and have the opportunity to interact with one of your favorite characters AND earn his respect (or possibly his scorn) taps into a dynamic unique to our medium and is something a linear story cannot offer. Fans have been posting on social media about the thrill of those interactions in the game and that has been really gratifying for us to see.

TZN: Spock is not the only established main character to appear in “Resurgence”. There’s also Jonathan Frakes as Captain Riker.

Possible Spoilers for “Picard” (Season 1), “Lower Decks” (Season 1) and the “Resurgence” finale

In a fun twist, Riker shows up in the season-one finale of both “Picard” and “Lower Decks” to save the day. He plays a similar role in “Resurgence.”

I read that you started working on “Resurgence” before the first season of “Picard” was released. I’m wondering if that was an allusion that you added to the script late in development – or if it just so happened that you and the writers of the TV series independently came up with a similar use for the character.

Grant: We did start development of “Star Trek: Resurgence” before the first season of Picard came out and we weren’t privy to any of the storylines they would pursue in that season or any that followed. For us the idea of including Jonathan Frakes as Captain Riker came from the TNG episode “The Last Outpost”, which first introduced the Tkon Empire and Portal 63 (who both figure prominently in the game). We were all fans of Captain Riker and, given his firsthand experience with the Tkon and Portal 63 in particular, finding a way to incorporate his character in the narrative was a goal from the very beginning. Any parallel to “Picard” or “Lower Decks” was strictly coincidental.

TZN: A similar coincidence concerns the second act.

Possible Spoilers for “Picard” (Season 3) and the second act of “Resurgence”

There the Tkon’s body-snatching abilities are revealed. Some plot points reminded me of the paranoia triggered by the changelings in “Deep Space Nine”. Incidentally, “Picard” picked up on the changelings again in the final season with an infiltration thread.

Playing the game so close to the release of these episodes, I couldn’t help but think about the differences and parallels. Which makes me wonder: How do you experience “Star Trek” or other properties you’ve worked on, especially when they deal with themes and ideas similar to your own work?

Grant: I think those parallels are inevitable – especially when you have tens of thousands of hours of content with a franchise as rich and deep as “Star Trek”. As far as how that informed our approach, we intentionally tried to steer clear of anything too familiar or similar and even abandoned certain ideas if we felt like they had already been explored in the franchise.

There is something interesting about how certain ideas appear in the zeitgeist at roughly the same time (vis-a-vis “Picard”, for example), but I can say with absolute certainty we were pursuing these themes and ideas long before the first season of that show even aired. But to your question, I take tremendous inspiration from so many episodes that stand the test of time.

For example, the TNG episode “The Inner Light” and the brilliant premise of time dilation has been a touchstone for me throughout my writing career and represents the best that “Star Trek” has to offer. As we honed and refined our story for “Resurgence”, the litmus test was always whether or not it would feel like a classic TNG episode from that era, which is why the positive response from the fans has been so gratifying for the entire dev team.

The Future

TZN: With “Resurgence” being so well received by fans, is a sequel in the cards?

Grant: We have been thrilled by the reception thus far and I can speak for the entire dev team and say that we would love nothing more than to continue the adventures of the crew of the U.S.S. Resolute. There are certainly more stories to be told, but we have nothing to announce as of yet and for now our primary focus is promoting the game since a vast percentage of the wider “Star Trek” audience doesn’t even know the game exists.

That has been one of the challenges since we’re a much smaller team at Dramatic Labs and we don’t have the resources at our disposal that we had in the Telltale days. Positive word-of-mouth is so critical in the competitive video game market and we’re grateful to all of our fans who have been supporting the game in any and every way they possibly can. It’s their faith in the game that keeps us hopeful that a sequel will become possible.

TZN: In the past year, we’ve seen the rise of text and image generation and speech synthesis. This technology seems particularly poised to change the way stories are created and how we can interact with them. Do you already have an idea of how these technologies will affect your particular genre?

Grant: So, I have some strong opinions about how AI can be successfully integrated into the creative process and the limitations of that approach. Overall, I think AI can become a nice resource for creators of narrative content, but in my obviously biased opinion nothing can replace or even replicate a well-crafted story with dimensional characters written by a professional writer.

That’s not to say AI can’t be useful for idea generation or possibly for some tangential narrative arcs and from a production standpoint there are huge benefits to be reaped with animation smoothing and asset generation, etc. That’s where the value lies! In nuts-and-bolts production elements that would otherwise take thousands of man hours to create.

Where I become cautious (if not outright skeptical) is when people talk about AI-generated stories or AI-voiced characters, which are the lifeblood of a compelling player-driven narrative and just can’t compare to something created by a human being. They just don’t feel or sound authentic to me. We may likely get there some day, but we’re not there yet.

“Star Trek: Resurgence” was releases on 23.05.2023 for PC in the Epic Store, along with versions for XBox One, Series X/S, Playstation 4 and Playstation 5. As we write this article download copies are available for 24,99 €, physical copies for consoles are 29,99 € at online retailers.

Update (01.03.2024): After the end of its one-year exclusivity on the Epic Store, “Star Trek’: Resurgence” will be released on Steam for PC on 23.05.2024.

Christopher Kurtz
Seit den frühen 2000ern ist Christopher Redakteur im TrekZone Network. Wenn er nicht in den unendlichen Weiten nach kritisch rationalem Humanismus Ausschau hält oder sich über die Plausibilität fiktiver Technologien und Gesellschaftsformen den Kopf zermartert, findet man ihn meistens in der Nähe von Spielen der geselligen Art, egal ob analog oder digital, ob als Mitspieler oder Gelegenheitsautor.


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