MMOs come and go, for better or for worse. The relatively young genre has quickly become one of the hardest to make games for. Newly formed developer Cheyenne Mountain aims to take on that challenge, but they have a powerful weapon at their disposal. The Stargate license extends from the initial movie and spans 14 seasons of TV–quite the established universe to work in. But not only that, the creators of the show even told the developer give life to some of the worlds that fans have been longing to see. It’s support like this that could put Stargate Worlds on the map for both fans of the show and MMO players alike. While here in San Francisco for GDC 2008, we had a chance to talk to Cheyenne Mountain about the game.One of the things that a new MMORPG has to do is try and stand out from the rest of the pack. It seems that in this day in age there are more than enough elves with swords and warlocks that cast fire spells roaming the Internet. The Stargate world is based around the modern military taking on alien races far superior to itself. Cheyenne Mountain has a few ideas on how to make this successful and plans to create a game that is not only fresh, but true to what the fans of the show and movie would expect.
Setting the game between seasons eight and nine of Stargate SG-1 gave the company a lot of leeway. This was the time where the story arc of the Goa’uld posing as false gods was being closed and the new Ori story line was starting up. Doing this will allow players to travel to both new and old worlds or even worlds they had heard about but never seen like the Lucian Alliances’ home world of Lucia or the all new world of Anima Vetrus, a planet taken over by dense plant life. They can also do what the confines of a live-action TV show couldn’t portray, like the Jaffa being physically a little bit bigger and stronger than a normal human. But even above that, Worlds will be a huge expansion of this universe, and players will see the rise and fall of new and familiar races and factions, massive battles not seen in the show and even new cities within old familiar worlds.
Stargate Worlds is not your typical MMORPG of who has a higher level sword, but more of who can use tactics like cover while in a fire fight with machine guns. The battle system is a clever hybrid of a classic MMO system and a shooter. For the most part, players will face humanoids with projectile weapons like guns or staff weapons. This would pose a problem in a melee-based game because you would have two players just standing in an open field shooting until one of them dies. Instead, players will have to use cover and pay attention. Even though it’s not a purely real-time game, doing something like setting an attack macro and getting a sandwich just won’t work. The enemy AI will also take cover, split up, distract you and try to flank your position. Players will get a natural buff from cover objects that will protect them so they can survey the situation and act accordingly.
Although MGM and Cheyenne Mountain have been very quiet about the game, the little we have seen has us hoping for a great online experience. Stargate Worlds is set for a Q4 launch and we were told the game is right on track. As we approach the spring, we’re hoping to get a closer look and more info on the aspects of the game still being kept quiet.