Interview with Chris Stockman

With Star Trek: Elite Force II announced, Ritualistic caught up with lead designer Chris Stockman to get some more information out of the guy.

Chris Stockman
Image courtesy of Ritual Entertainment

First of all, congratulations! As a Trekker and gamer, this must be like a dream-come-true for you. Are you excited to be heading this project?

Definitely. I was a fan of the first Elite Force and having a chance to add that Ritual touch to that universe is a dream come true.

Do you fear the infamous Star Trek curse at all? Elite Force was probably the first Trek game that actually reached a broad audience, while still staying somewhat true to the license..

Nope, I knew all the talented people here would make a kick ass game. Heck, when you have the dude (Benson Russell) that did the Omaha Beach mission in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault on the team how can you go wrong? :)

Can you tell us anything about the story? Will characters from the original Elite Force make a return? Will we see any elements from the upcoming Star Trek: Nemesis in the game?

Can't reveal too much of the story other than what was announced in the press release. Yes, we will have characters from the original Elite Force return (sans that annoying guy that died towards the end). And yes, there will be a few things from Nemesis that might sneak their way into the game. :)

The original Elite Force featured the complete of cast Star Trek: Voyager, greatly adding to the game's atmosphere. Besides Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), will any other familiar Star Trek faces make an appearance in Elite Force II?

No comment. :)

The recently released Bridge Commander had veteran Star Trek writer and consultant D.C. Fontana involved. Are there any Trek people contributing to Elite Force II?

Me! j/k

Actually we do have a professional writer actually fleshing out the dialog and he has written a few Trek related novels.

In the original Elite Force, the environments were rather static and, apart from pressing buttons, not very interactive. How will Elite Force II compare to this? Will we see SiNful gameplay elements like drivable vehicles or usable computer terminals?

We will have usable and interactive objects in the game and they will be kick ass.

Those models and environments are looking great! How detailed is the new game compared to the original Elite Force?

Oh man, the difference is like night and day. Wait till you guys see the level of detail in our maps. Needless to say everyone will be very happy when the game is released.

People seem to be divided over the art style you are going with, claiming it's too stylized and not realistic enough. Why was this decision made, and how close, in your opinion, are the recently released screenshots to what will be seen in the final product?

Kenny Thompson: We are working toward a realistic but still stylized final product. We are hand painting all of our textures, not photo sourcing them. Inevitably, the result is a stylized representation of reality, which is our goal.

The game, as stated in the press release is 40% done. We will have time to do a second pass on any game asset we feel is falling short of our goals. Currently, I cannot commit to the specific assets that will get that pass. I can tell you that most character assets will see additional tweaks in a final polishing phase.

Class-based multiplayer has become very popular, with almost every new shooter offering this instead of the traditional deathmatch / ctf. What direction are you taking with Elite Force II? What about co-op?

We will be including the specialties mode from the Elite Force expansion set but with Ritual's own few twists to the mix. Also we are adding a few modes not originally found in Elite Force 1 multiplayer.

The game uses the Quake III Team Arena engine with Ritual's own modifications, which have powered several titles in the past, including Ritual's own Heavy Metal FAKK2 as well as EA's Rogue's American McGee's Alice and 2015's Medal of Honor. What improvements have you made to the engine since the release of FAKK2?

Our mad programming genuises have been slaving away at Ritual's UBER toolset for well over a year now! Wait till you see we have in store for the modders........

How much of the game will you be showing at this year's E3? Will you have a playable version of the game at the show?

We will definitely have a demo on the floor. It might be playable too! Stay tuned.

Three years after the release of Sin, you are working with Activision again. Think their QA staff will actually play the game this time? ;)

Oh Activision has been wonderful to work with so far. Those guys over there are Star Trek fanatics! Plus I hear their QA dept. is much better. :)


That's all for now, folks. We would like to thank Chris Stockman for taking the time to answer our questions and art director Kenny Thompson for answering the question about Elite Force II's art style.

Keep visiting Ritualistic for the latest Elite Force II news and announcements!

Related Links:
Ritual Entertainment
The Tribe: Chris Stockman
The Tribe: Kenny Thompson
Star Trek: Elite Force II Fact Sheet