Fans of “Star Trek” who are eager to connect with the franchise have many options, including meeting the stars of their favorite shows and films at conventions. This is a thrill, for sure, as fans of “Star Trek” can pose for photos and get autographs from the people behind the stories. While the fans mingle with the stars, many wear their Starfleet best and cosplay at the conventions.
Those who are interested in the physical hardware from the various shows are also able to dig in. Thanks to the hundreds of models and toys available — including the new Nerf Phaser Rifle and Hand Phaser models — which can help get fans to blast each other and walk away.
There are also hundreds of novels and comic books which can help fans fill in “Star Trek” missions that were not shown on TV or in the movies. These include the “Star Trek” comics series by IDW, of which artist J.K. Woodward is a big part. Read our interview with Woodward here.
While joining Starfleet and traveling into space aboard a starship is still about 300 years away, the closest thing a fan can do is immerse themselves into a “Star Trek” game. And lucky for Trek fans, there are some excellent options available, including the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), “Star Trek Online,” and “Star Trek Adventures” role-playing game. These two games allow fans to enjoy firsthand adventures within the “Star Trek Universe.”
‘Star Trek Online’ Ascension teaser trailer
Since these two games operate within the same shared franchise, it would make sense for the companies to collaborate and share resources. That is precisely what just happened. Heavy was able to sit down with members of the “Online” and “Adventures” teams and talk about how this new collaboration came to be. Art from the “Online” world is now a part of “Adventures,” specifically in the latest books, the “Star Trek Adventures Discovery Campaign Guide,” as well as the “Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook.”
Jim Johnson, a Project Manager for “Star Trek Adventures” and Thomas Marrone, Associate Art Director for “Star Trek Online,” were kind enough to walk us through this partnership. This conversation was edited for content and brevity.
HEAVY ON STAR TREK:
How did you guys come to collaborate?
Initially, it started off with some of our early books, where we would get a piece of starship art from the “Star Trek Online” team. Then we had a deal when a customer bought our book, they would get a free download code for that ship. We were doing some early, cross promotional stuff — we were giving away their ship, they were helping promote us a little bit. Within the last 16 months or so, we have been reaching out to folks in the “Star Trek” family. I came across Thomas’s we [started] all talking about different aspects of “Star Trek” and Klingons.
When Modiphius (the parent company behind “Star Trek Adventures”)started developing a “Discovery” campaign guide, I reached out to Thomas and I said, “What can we do? How can we get involved more closely with each other … and use some of your art?” Thomas was just super generous with his time and his ability to produce a lot of great art that we dropped right into the book.
“Star Trek Online” and “Star Trek Adventures” are very kindred games. It’s about creating. [The player] is not necessarily playing as Captain Kirk (William Shatner) or Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). Most of the “Star Trek Adventures” games I’ve seen are people creating their own Starfleet characters. They going into this saying “this is our adventure.”
So anytime there’s an opportunity for another licensed artist says, “We need a Gorn ship.” Right before “Strange New Worlds,” we started really diving into the Gorns on “Star Trek Online.” Now we have a lot of Gorn designs. And so because of that, we want our [art to appear] in other places. And so we were really happy to be able to do that and provide art for “Star Trek Adventures.”
Adding New Ships to Your Fleet
HEAVY ON STAR TREK:
What has been the fan reaction to seeing ships from “Star Trek Online” as a part of “Star Trek Adventures?”
I know for a fact that the fans notice this stuff. The fans that are really plugged into all the different licensees and all the different products that are out there, they notice it when artwork appears in different places. They get the fact that everybody’s working with each other to some extent. So I know — as a fan — I appreciated that, like back in the day when [another company] had the license for “Star Trek” tabletop games.
HEAVY ON STAR TREK:
Thomas, this isn’t the first time you’ve had “Online” ship designs appear outside of the game, right? Can you talk about how some of your designs appeared in Season Two of “Star Trek: Picard?”
A Jumping Off Point for ‘Star Trek: Discovery’
Dave Blass, the production designer on “Star Trek: Picard” reached out to me about two years ago. He wanted some help developing the Stargazer, and also building out the Starfleet ships that would be seen in the show. This is because of the negative fan feedback at the end of Season One, when you see that massive fleet of Federation starships. And they all looked largely the same. There were a few variations, but I think they underestimated how hungry fans were for some sort of canon example of what Starfleet ships would look like beyond “The Next Generation.”
That’s all we’ve been doing for the last 12 years. So Dave really liked our ships, and he reached out. He asked us to send a few of our best ship models. So I put it together [a package] and they saw them. I was honored that they were impressed with the ship designs, and they wanted to use them. I’m sure they spruced them up a little bit before they were used on the show.
I have a good friend, who said to me “Most people who are lucky, aren’t really lucky. They’re just prepared to be lucky. And they’re ready to seize an opportunity when it shows up.” That requires a lot of hard work and a lot of diligence to get ready to take advantage of something when they give you that opportunity.
It’s funny that you say that. In the writing circles I’ve been in for years, we have a saying: “The harder you work the luckier you get.”