I recently got to sit down with the new Executive Producer of Star Trek Online, Stephen D’Angelo. I checked his Trekkie credentials, asked him about his future hopes for Star Trek Online and got information on things to come.
Maressa: First, congratulations from all of us at MMOGames on the new job as Executive Producer. How are you finding the new desk?
D’Angelo: The Executive Producer job is a challenging one, but it’s also very rewarding. I get to work with a fantastic team, contribute to the Star Trek universe, and work to make STO an even better game.
Maressa: I know the fans are eager to get to know you a little. So what better way to do that then talk about a shared interest. What would you say is your favorite Star Trek episode ever? How about your favorite Star Trek movie?
D’Angelo: I know this episode doesn’t hit everyone’s sweet spot, but my favorite is “The Inner Light”, where Jean-Luc Picard experiences a lifetime on a world that preserved their heritage by sharing a virtual experience. I love a well told story. Of the movies, The Wrath of Khan is my choice.
Maressa: What is one thing you’d really like to accomplish in your new position?
D’Angelo: I really have two big things I want to accomplish. First, I want to work to improve the parts of the game that are not up to par. This means fixing bugs and polishing, replacing, or removing things that don’t work as well as we’d like. Second, I want to push the game forward in a real way. I’m working with the dev team on plans here, and we should have something to share in March about big things coming this year.
Maressa: It has been announced that Tim Russ will be joining the Star Trek Online family along with Denise Crosby, Leonard Nemoy, and Michael Dorn who came before. Are there any other Star Trek actors lined up for future work? And who would you enjoy seeing added to STO with their actor in the future?
D’Angelo: We’re actively working to recruit more voice talent to bring their iconic Star Trek characters to the game, but we don’t have anyone new confirmed at this time. Who would I like to see join the game’s cast? Just about every memorable character that’s appeared in the show, from minor parts to the main cast. I’m a Star Trek geek and it’s always fun to bring even a small piece of the show to life in the game.
Maressa: You mentioned in your recent dev blog that hourly events are soon to be a thing of the past. Will there be any new events when they get moved to the weekend long events?
D’Angelo: Absolutely. We are looking to use the weekend events not just for extra marks or Dilithium. I want to see some fun things to spice up the game, like perhaps a shuttle play weekend, where players can gain extra rewards and have fun in small craft.
Maressa: A lot of people are very excited for the Undine changes. Are there going to be any others like them coming in the near(ish) future?
D’Angelo: We have a little more work on the Undine coming in Season 9, but otherwise we’ll be focused hard on content and story for that release.
Maressa: Season 8.5 is bringing with it an updated experience to some of the earlier Federation episodes. But most players have already been through these. Why should veteran players go back and re-experience this content?
D’Angelo: The main draw of Star Trek Online is the story, and if you love the story it will be worth your while to go play the episodes again. But the main reason we chose to rework the tutorial in Season 8 and these episodes in Season 8.5 is to give new players a better view of what the veteran players have been getting at the end game. STO has improved a lot since launch, and I feel that the experience should be more even throughout the game.
Maressa: There has been some mention from fans that the Foundry in Neverwinter seems to be slightly more advanced than the one in Star Trek Online. Is this true and are there any plans to give the STO Foundry a boost?
D’Angelo: Foundry in Neverwinter was nearly a complete rewrite based on what we learned in Star Trek Online, so it has many new things, but also has many elements missing. We would love to bring over all the changes, but it would be a project nearly as large as the original Foundry project for STO to do so. As a result, we are instead picking key features that players like in Neverwinter and are working to bring them over to STO one at a time.
Maressa: 2014 is well underway, are there any exciting things coming up that you can talk about?
D’Angelo: Once the anniversary celebration is over, we’ve got an entirely new event along the lines of the Crystalline Entity event. We’ve been playtesting it in the studio and it’s a ton of fun. We won’t be sharing details until the end of February.
I hope to see you, and your readers, in game next week to celebrate 4 years of Star Trek Online.
I’d like to thank the new Captain of STO for taking the time to answer these questions. With 4th anniversary events coming up, revamped content, and other new events on the way now is the best time to be a Star Trek Online player.Related: Anniversary, Article, Interview, Star Trek Online