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Old 05-17-2003, 07:08 PM   #1
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Default Elite Force II Q&A

Transcript of Chris Stockman's interview on GameSpy LiveWire, which took place on Friday, May 16, 2003.

GameSpy: Joining us is Chris Stockman of Ritual and we're gonna talk about Star Trek Elite Force II. Chris, thanks for stopping by.

Chris Stockman: Thanks for having me.

GameSpy: And yes you get a parting gift, and yes you get a massage.

Chris Stockman: Sweet.


GameSpy: Absolutely.

Chris Stockman: I need one after the last few days.

GameSpy: You guys have had a demo for Elite Force II out for a while now. What kind of response are you getting?

Chris Stockman: It's been phenomenal actually. Within the first week we had over a 125,000 downloads.

GameSpy: And it's not a slouch download either. It's like 11 megs right?


Chris Stockman: Well, 15.

GameSpy: 15? So, okay, still not a slouch. What kind of response are you getting?

Chris Stockman: Oh. The feedback has been tremendous. A lot of e-mail support. On our Ritualistic fan site, we've had a lot of messageboards lighting up. It's been just amazing. Everyone's been really really surprised at the amount of gameplay we presented in the demo as well as the difficulty to it. You know, they're pretty happy with it - it wasn't a cakewalk for most people.

GameSpy: For people who haven't downloaded it yet, tell us about the gameplay.

Chris Stockman: Sure. Elite Force II is the sequel to Elite Force I, an incredibly popular Star Trek game. We primarily are set in the Next Generation universe. So we have Patrick Stewart doing the voice-over for Captain Picard. A lot of other Trek actors also come along for the ride.

Dwight Schultz reprises Barclay. Jeffrey Combs is in there, he plays some Andorian on Enterprise and he was on DS9 as Weyoun. J.G. Hertzler, Tony Todd, most of the original [Hazard Team voice actors] --

GameSpy: Q?

Chris Stockman: Q is not there, unfortunately.


Chris Stockman: He didn't --

GameSpy: Where was he? Where was John?

Chris Stockman: The continuum maybe.

GameSpy: Maybe.

Chris Stockman: The demo has two maps. Part of 2 missions, 4 and 7 [in the retail game]. We have roughly 3-4 different weapons, not including the phaser, so really 5-6 actually. The tricorder is there.

We show a little bit of the interactivity with the tricorder. You can scan pretty much any creature in the game. You can also interact with various little tricorder puzzles we have. So the demo gives you a good idea of what to expect in the full game.

GameSpy: We're talking with Chris Stockman. Get your questions ready in the chat room.

As game designer, what're you most excited about with the new game?

Chris Stockman: Primarily, the way we reintroduced some of the Star Trek elements back into the FPS. Star Trek has been a great license to work with and we get to expand upon the universe. We introduce two new races [three new races including the Exomorphs] and that was pretty exciting to be able to develop those races, to develop their backstory.

GameSpy: All on your own?

Chris Stockman: Pretty much. We had a lot of assistance with Activision --

GameSpy: Is Rick Berman involved at all?

Chris Stockman: He is not. I believe that he gets updates.

GameSpy: Who from the franchise is in contact with you, anybody?

Chris Stockman: Harry Lang. He's director of [interactive] product development over there for Paramount. He's been our primary contact with getting things approved through the licensing.

GameSpy: It must be really cool to be sitting there and then get a call at your desk. You know, Rick Berman just hanging around.

'Yeah, I got Enterprise, gotta figure out what to do with that.'

And hanging around and the phone rings.

'Hey, they wanna create two new races for Elite Force 2, is that cool with you?'

'Yeah that's fine, what do they wanna, yeah whatever.'

Chris Stockman: It's amazing. They've been really really great to work with. You know, they gave us a lot of freedom to create and develop these races. All we had to do was pretty much follow with the Star Trek canon and didn't go off the deep end but it's been great, it's been wonderful.

GameSpy: Star Trek has always been about morality plays. What do you have as part of this game that lets people experience good and evil?

Chris Stockman: Well, there's a lot of sequences in the game where you can protect someone or you don't have to protect someone.

GameSpy: Does that game back to bite you in the butt if you don't?

Chris Stockman: Sometimes it does.

GameSpy: Yeah.

Chris Stockman: Sometimes it does.

One of the key elements, I think, that our game has that helps appeal to a variety of people, especially the male population, is you get to interact with females throughout the game through different +use experiences basically, and choices as well - dialog choices that come up.

Throughout the course of the game, depending on who you interact with the most, you'll get a different ending featuring the female that you were most friendly with.

GameSpy: Okay, cool. And who of the female voices do you have?

Chris Stockman: I can't recall off the top of my head their names.

GameSpy: Anybody famous from the series or just people you hired as actresses?

Chris Stockman: Just as actresses. No one that we know from the series.

GameSpy: Cool.

Chris Stockman from Ritual talking about Star Trek Elite Force II. Let's go to the chat room and see what we've got there.

Chat Moderator: Absolutely. General Sniper wants to know about mod support and multiplayer in Elite Force II.

Chris Stockman: Sure.

GameSpy: We should just have a checklist: mod support, multiplayer, system requirements --

Chat Moderator: Absolutely. When it comes to 1st person shooters and games like that on GameSpy Arcade that's the stuff our users want to know about.

Chris Stockman: They certainly won't be disappointed. Full mod support. We use Ritual's own UberTools. Like we said, we've heavily modified the Q3 engine.

We'll be releasing the tools shortly after the game is done. It's real easy to mod stuff. It's really easy to put multiplayer characters into the game. It's real easy to create levels, real easy, we have a powerful scripting system.

Our multiplayer component of the game is gigantic. Most of the modes, most of the modifiers from EF1 are back with some new ones. We have Bomb Defusal mode, some different little modifiers that are waiting for the player to discover them. So yeah, definitely, huge huge part of the game

GameSpy: Gotcha.

Back to the chat room.

Chat Moderator: Tunksten, my brother in arms over here today, is saying that low-gravity CTF was the best thing ever. Is it coming back to Elite Force 2?

Chris Stockman: We have that support. And we do have a low-gravity map that I was just playing today with one of the Activision guys. Deathmatch map where you're jumping around all in space, from platform to platform, and it's a blast from sniping people to IMODing them. It's awesome.

GameSpy: What type of weapons?

Chris Stockman: We have a gatling gun type weapon that's Klingon made so it's got that Klingon style. The IMOD returns. We have a [Federation] sniper rifle. We have a shotgun based type of weapon. We have this really really cool lightning weapon where you shoot bolts of lighting and the secondary actually shoots a grenade canister and you can ignite the gas dispensed from the canister. And big explosion --

GameSpy: So basically, you lob the canister and it fills the space up with gas, and then you ignite the gas and you get an even bigger explosion.

Chris Stockman: Then we have one of my favorite weapons. It's called the Romulan Radiation Gun. It's huge. It shoots out these radiation waves, it'll irradiate the creatures and the creatures around them, it'll spread --

GameSpy: Which would make them suitable for food since they're irradiated.


Chris Stockman: And the secondary explosion is this nuke blast. Just launch it and --

*insert big explosion sound effect*

GameSpy: I gotcha.

Alright, back to the chat room.

Chat Moderator: We've had 2 questions. 1 from Balzeeron and 1 from Nemisis. How many multiplayer levels are there going to be (playable), and whether or not you're going to be able to go to different planets and things like that? So maybe talk about the different settings.

Chris Stockman: Sure. Definitely. We have about 14 different multiplayer maps. They range from the Borg to some of the environments that we include in the game. Attrexians, which is one of the new races, and Idryll. Both environments, we have terrain environments --

GameSpy: So the 2 races are called the Attrexian and the Idryll.

Chris Stockman: Yes.

GameSpy: Is Idryll plural or singular?

Chris Stockman: Singular.

GameSpy: Singular, so what're they called in plural? Idryllians or Idrylls?

Chris Stockman: Oh, I'm sorry. Idryll is plural. And Attrexian is singular and Attrexians is plural.

We have Enterprise based environments, Romulan based environments, Klingon based environments. So pretty much most of the maps that the player will go through in single-player. The multiplayer maps are loosely based around those.

Chat Moderator: TitanX wants to know if there's any deformable terrain or anything like that in there.

Chris Stockman: No, unfortunately. That was not a part of the intitial technology.

Chat Moderator: Dr. Mac wants to know how --

GameSpy: Dr. Mac! LeVitus! Bob LeVitus is in the room?

Chat Moderator: He's not just a Mac, he's also a doctor.

GameSpy: There you go.

Chat Moderator: But he's wondering how different the gameplay is going to be compared to the first Elite Force.

Chris Stockman: Oh, definitely. Wow. Our creatures display a level of intelligence that is rarely seen in a FPS. They'll run, they'll hide, they'll duck and cover. We have humanoid combat as well as regular I should say canon fodder --

GameSpy: The dispensables.

Chris Stockman: Exactly.

Our teammates as well behave much more intelligently. They'll actually take up positions within various environments and they'll duck and cover and shoot. They'll try to come into the best line of sight and so they'll manuever around like a real tactial team within the environment, taking out the bad guys. It's a lot of fun.

GameSpy: What're you most proud of in terms of the gameplay? I kinda asked about the storyline before, but in terms of the gameplay. You kinda got all glossy-eyed about some of the weapons, but in terms of the strategy, what're you happy about?

Chris Stockman: I think overall, if I looked at the gameplay as a whole, the size of the game is probably one of the best things about it. A lot of people had some complaints about EF1's initial size or play through. We went back and we doubled the size, almost tripled it.

We have a lot of different variety of gameplay. One mission you're hopping around on the Enterprise, sniping bad guys that are trying to take it over. Ten minutes later, you're in a turret taking out a capital ship. Then a few missions later you're in a Romulan intallation dressed up as a Romulan. You can talk to all the Romulans --

GameSpy: Doing undercover stuff.

Chris Stockman: Doing undercover stuff, yeah.

GameSpy: And you're automatically translating to Romulan?

Chris Stockman: Well, the tricorder helps actually. One of the cool things is there's like signs --

GameSpy: But if you were undercover as a Romulan, you don't want to referring to a tricorder while talking to somebody that you're trying to --

Chris Stockman: Right. And that's why the tricorder you have is a Romulan tricorder.

GameSpy: Aww, it's a Romulan tricorder. I see.

Chris Stockman: You can actually pull out the Tricorder and decipher text as Romulan. It translates it for you.

GameSpy: Back to the chat room.

Chat Moderator: Balzeeron wants to know if we're gonna see this coming to consoles at all, or is it just gonna be PC only?

Chris Stockman: Right now it's PC only but you know anything is possible.

Chat Moderator: Is there gonna be a co-op mode?

Chris Stockman: No. No co-op mode.

GameSpy: We're getting through the guts of the 'yes' and 'no' questions here.

We're talking by the way with Chris Stockman of Ritual Entertainment and you're listening to GameSpy LiveWire. I'm David Lawrence and we've got Sean here and Todd here as well.

Back to the chat room.

Chat Moderator: George wants to know how influential ex-Ion Storm artist Eric Smith has been contributing to some of the animation you guys are doing.

Chris Stockman: Eric, he's been amazing. He came in when a lot of our cinematics weren't completed yet and he pretty much ran with it. I can't say enough good things about him. It's been an amazing situation. He pretty much ran with it and we're done with all the cinematics.

GameSpy: What's your balance between internals and outside talent?

Chris Stockman: Well, we don't really have any outside talent that's working on the game. We have contractors, Eric was one of the contractors --

GameSpy: That's what I meant.

Chris Stockman: Very few. Most of it's internal.

GameSpy: And in terms of the music, the soundtrack, the sound effects.

Chris Stockman: Danny Pelfrey, he did some music on the first game as well and he's done some film stuff. He's provided a couple tracks for the game. And our resident sound expert Zak Belica did all the sound effects and all the voice-over processing and whatnot.

GameSpy: What were you handed by the franchise in terms of music that you could use in the gameplay? Were you given the themes? Were you given the --

Chris Stockman: No.

GameSpy: None of the transition music from the television or movie stuff?

Chris Stockman: No. We took elements of each piece but we pretty much recorded our own.

GameSpy: But you were given the music, you were allowed to use the music from the series, yes?

Chris Stockman: No. We were not allowed to use the music from the series.

GameSpy: Interesting.

Alright, back to the chat room.

Chat Moderator: ClanMan wants to know while making games did you ever think of making a Klingon version?

Chris Stockman: As in a Klingon main character?

Chat Moderator: As in a Klingon main character, but I think people also wondering if there's gonna be something from the Klingon perspective.

GameSpy: More and more people are speaking fluent Klingon.

Chris Stockman: That's what I hear. I read that story just the other day where they need to bring in translators for the Klingon language.

GameSpy: Ya know, if this ever develops into a community and then you know like a subculture within the United States and around the world, it is gonna be so goofy to look back on these years and realize that a television show spawned like this subculture that speaks this completely made up language.

Chris Stockman: Right. It's been amazing.

GameSpy: Right. So any thoughts on that?

Chris Stockman: You know what, from a creative standpoint, I would definitely like to delve into some different races other than the traditional human Federation.

We did that with EF2 a little bit, you get to interact with a Ferengi. And you kinda have a sequence where you use the rules of acquisition against him. It's a classic sequence and Trek fans, Trekkies alike, will love it - they'll go nuts.

GameSpy: So it's basically a huge negotiation.

Chris Stockman: Yeah, basically. It's fantastic, it's wonderful.

GameSpy: How do you approach that? Give us some clues, give us a tip on what we do when we pop to that part of the [game] - that's not part of the demo, right?

Chris Stockman: It's not part of the demo.

GameSpy: Okay, so when we get the game and when will that be?

Chris Stockman: Summer, summertime.

GameSpy: When that happens, just give us something that we couldn't get any other way than talking to you now. When we come up against the Ferengi, give a hint as to how we should start things off and what we should watch for.

Chris Stockman: Pretty much read what he says and then you'll have a couple choices. Reply to the one that makes the most sense based on what he says. That's about the only clue I can give.

GameSpy: So, when you're doing negotiations there are leaders and there are followers. Should you follow what's he doing or should you lead the negotiation?

Chris Stockman: You should attempt to try to take it over --

GameSpy: Try to take it over. There you go.

We're talking with Chris Stockman, Ritual Entertainment, and we're talking about Elite Force II.

Back to the chat room.

Chat Moderator: I think we've got one last question from the chat room, it's from Grumble who wants to know what the minimum requirements are gonna be for the game?

Chris Stockman: PIII 600 with a TNT2.

Chat Moderator: Really?

Chris Stockman: Yes.

Chat Moderator: That's pretty smooth.


I think most people have systems better than that.

Chris Stockman: Yeah, yeah. But I wouldn't --

GameSpy: Are there advantages to having a better machine?

Chris Stockman: Yeah, definitely. Just the graphical effects, the shaders --

GameSpy: Do you auto-tune or do you let people -- ?

Chris Stockman: We do auto-tune, we do auto-tune.

GameSpy: Cool.

Alright, Chris Stockman from Ritual Entertainment.

Anything else left from that chat room? Anything you guys wanna ask?

Chat Moderator: Havok kinda wants to know a little bit more about some of the voice work. Whether the actors are finally giving the game some of the status and effect the gamers think it deserves.

Chris Stockman: You know what, yeah. I was actually in the voice-over sessions. You know what, I can't say enough good things about Patrick Stewart, but professional all the way. Came in, delivered his lines, you know, very very few retakes, really powerful lines. He's definitely throughout the whole game so he just doesn't disappear midway or anything like that. He's from the beginning to the end when you transfer over to the Enterprise.

GameSpy: He is an actor.

Chris Stockman: Yes, he is.

Tony Todd, he plays one of our Klingons [Crewman Korban, Heavy Weapons Guy], teammates actually. He was fantastic, he was great. He'd come in and you know - he was Kurn in Next Generation, Warf's brother. And he just had a lot of fun.

Same with Dwight Schultz, Barclay. He played a couple of characters. He played an alien Attrexian that can be heard in the demo and he played Barclay and he did some great multiplayer taunts, you know, 'Barclay does not mean Barclay' or something. You know, it's just awesome and Jeffrey Combs --

GameSpy: Do the Attrexians speak English or do they have their own language?

Chris Stockman: Well, they speak - as you know Star Trek, most races in Star Trek kinda have that universal translator. Kinda all speak English maybe a little bit of dialects, a little bit different. So we created on the spot, an Attrexian dialect. It's kinda Transylvanian British.


It's really really weird. But it's quite unique and both him and Jeffrey Combs had a great great job trying to match each other because they both played Attrexians.

GameSpy: Gotcha.

Well, there you go. Chris Stockman from Ritual Entertainment. Thanks so much for being with us.

The demo is up on FilePlanet.

Chat Moderator: I've been pasting the link in the chat room pretty much throughout the entire interview.

Chris Stockman: Awesome.

GameSpy: If you get it, get it over at If you're not in the chat room - you're just sorta listening on the stream. If you're hearing this after the fact, go check it out.

You said midsummer, can you narrow that down a little bit?

Chris Stockman: Before July. How bout that?

GameSpy: Is there some sort of point deadline that you're working on before July?

Chris Stockman: Yeah, we're actually still trying to go release candidate 1 (RC1). So we're really close. Anyday now.

GameSpy: How much time do you spend playing the game all day?

Chris Stockman: These days. A good most of the day because we're still close. And we're fixing bugs now and it's only a matter of fine tuning here and there, polishing here and there, you know. So, definitely.

GameSpy: Alright.

Chris thanks for being on with us. We appreciate it very much.

Chris Stockman: Thank you very much.

GameSpy: We've got a massage for you, we've got parting gifts. All yours from GameSpy LiveWire.

Chris Stockman: Fantastic.
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