Stargate SG-1 Game Interview
02 June 2004
John [JCal] Callaham
Stargate SG-1 has become one of the few TV shows based on a feature film that has actually surpassed it's source material in popularity and scope. The SG-1's team exploring the universe through the Stargate is about to start its eighth season and a new spin off show, Stargate: Atlantis, will also begin this year. Australian based game developer Perception recently announced plans to create a PC-console game based on the series and HomeLAN got a chance to chat with Perception's head Ben Lenzo to get some early details on their plans for the game, which will be published by JoWood.
HomeLAN - What can you tell us about Perception itself? What is it’s history?
Ben Lenzo - Perception was founded in 1995 and began working as a contract animation house to pay the bills. We did TVC’s and general contract work. Games were always the intention however. We did a number of contract jobs on few different games in the early days, but began developing our own titles in about 1998. We worked exclusively on coin-op games back then. Two games we did were Thunderboats and Top Down Racer. The company has now left its arcade roots behind and is working on the PS2, X-Box and PC’s.
Gaining the Stargate license has allowed us to differentiate ourselves from most other developers. We’re in a situation where publishers have almost complete control over the development process in terms of making big decisions. The developer is often left in the dark on a number of strategic issues in regards to where the product sits in its publishers lineup and projects can be canned with practically no notice and often without a real understanding of why that has happened. We try to work with a little more balance in the equation and be on an even footing with all our business partners.
HomeLAN - How did Perception get the rights to make games based on Stargate SG-1?
Ben Lenzo - We contacted MGM some time ago and made our intentions clear about what we thought could be done with Stargate. We had a couple of false starts in getting it all happening, and although you’d have to talk to them for specifics, I’d imagine that they were able to see that we could do a great job with the license and that we weren’t just looking to cash in and create a poor tie in. They could see that we were passionate about the title.
HomeLAN - A lot of movie and TV based games are not very well done. What will Perception be doing to combat this trend with the Stargate game?
Ben Lenzo - You’re right that there licensed games based on a tv or movie tie in have a bad rap. But I think that’s somewhat changing. To be honest, we’re tackling it much like any other game. We have an audience. In this case, that’s hopefully gamers of a certain genre and in this instance also fans of the show. For the gamers, well, we plan on making a compelling game. Simple idea really… We’ll get into details of how we’re going to do further down the track though. For the fans of the show, we’re taking some of the major themes that have been in the show for the last few years and tying our storyline into that. Both fans of the show and gamers new to the Stargate universe should be able to pick the story up and follow along immediately.
HomeLAN - How much input does the TV show’s cast and crew have in the making of the game?
Ben Lenzo - We’re working extremely closely with the producers, writers, cast and MGM to get this thing right. We’ve just received face scans that we had done of the cast and are busily implementing them into the game. We have a pretty good relationship with them all. ON a non game related note, we’re just about to finish some VisFX work for an upcoming Season 8 episode called Avatar actually.
HomeLAN - What can you tell us about the storyline for the first Stargate SG-1 game and how does it relate to the events of the TV series?
Ben Lenzo - Well, we’re keeping this puppy under wraps because we think it’s gonna be one of the cool elements about the game, but let me say that we take some of the major themes of the last 7 years, add a brand new enemy that links beautifully into many of those Stargate themes, and simply, just kicks ass. For fans of the show, you could probably say that the words Anubis, Replicators, Oma, Ancients, and Harcesis, will all feature prominently in the storyline.
HomeLAN - What can you tell us about the gameplay for the first Stargate game?
Ben Lenzo - Well, it’s pretty early on, but we’re working on (for want of a better term) an FPS. Unfortunately, I can’t give away to many details at the moment, but we are planning on some non traditional FPS features, and some way cool unique multiplayer ones.
HomeLAN - What sort of locations and settings will be seen in the game?
Ben Lenzo - Canada, Canada, and Canada…Kidding. One of the best things about doing a game on Stargate is that we’re really limited only by our imaginations in terms of what locations we can create. We’re not limited by physical locations, or costs to create a real set. You’re gonna see some very cool and unique environments that you haven’t seen on the show…Plus some familiar ones from the show.
HomeLAN - What playable characters will be in the Stargate SG-1 game?
Ben Lenzo - You’ll be able to play as any one of your favourite SG-1 characters, dependant on the mission.
HomeLAN - What kinds of weapons and items will be seen in the game?
Ben Lenzo - All the stuff you see in the show (e.g. P90, zat guns, shotguns, Staff weapons) plus a few new ones.
HomeLAN - What enemies will be encountered in the Stargate SG-1 game?
Ben Lenzo - Can’t go into to many details but based on some of the story elements mentioned above, you’re at least gonna see Jaffa and replicators. We do have some other enemies up our sleeves however, both familiar to Stargate fans and totally new.
HomeLAN - What multiplayer elements, if any, will be put into the game?
Ben Lenzo - There are several multiplayer elements for the game depending on format. We have all the traditional stuff like deathmatch and CTF etc, but we’re planning on some unique Stargate multiplayer modes. Something that when people play, it they can instantly identify that mode of play with Stargate. We’re pretty excited about some of those. We’re also looking at some co-op possibilities.
HomeLAN - What other unique gameplay elements will be used in the game?
Ben Lenzo - That’d be telling…Sorry
HomeLAN - What graphics engine will Perception be using for the Stargate SG-1 game and how is it being modified for use in the game?
Ben Lenzo - Sorry John, this isn’t one I can answer yet for a few reasons.
HomeLAN - What platforms will the game appear on when it is released?
Ben Lenzo - PS2, X-Box and PC.
HomeLAN - What is the current status of the first Stargate game’s progress and when will it be released?
Ben Lenzo - The game is pretty well underway. We’re right in the thick of production. Obviously our publisher JoWooD productions are involved in this decision too, but the game should be hitting the shelves sometime in late ‘05
HomeLAN - Finally, what future plans do you have for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis games?
Ben Lenzo - We plan on making Stargate a marquee gaming franchise. We expect that ultimately this will include not only future SG-1 games, but games based on the new spinoff series, Stargate: Atlantis as well. While I can’t go into to much detail at the moment, there are some elements in Atlantis that we’re dying to get our hands on from a games perspective. Just some things in the show that they have which are very, very cool. At the moment however, we’re concentrating on SG-1. That’s not to say that there would be no elements whatsoever from Atlantis in this game…
Richard Dean Anderson Fans