The Star Trek franchise has fallen on hard times over the last few years. As fans wait for the JJ Abrams franchise reboot film to appear in May, 2009, there isn't much of anything else going on with regards to new additions to this big universe. What irritates a lot of fans these days is the utter mismanagement of the Star Trek Intellectual Property and the failures that go along with it.
There are a number of examples I can bring up here, but the only one I'll focus on is the Star Trek Online fiasco. Originally licensed to Perpetual Entertainment, this game was supposed to be a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing / Adventure game where you could go out on your own or with friends to explore the universe while surrounded by all things Trek.
Even though they only had two screen shots for us after well over a year of development everyone was pretty excited. Then the drama began. It became public knowledge that Perpetual was having financial difficulty, they put all work on a nearly completed game on hold to focus on STO, cutting off a potential revenue stream that could have helped sustain the company and there were other bits of financial drama that shouldn't have been publicized. I'm sure I'm missing a few details here, but in the end it amounted to one thing: the years of work that had gone into this game went to waste.
The content and game that was in development at Perpetual Entertainment will almost certainly not entirely be used. After the passing of so much time and keeping in mind that the graphics we did see looked dated when they came out along with the idea that Perpetual was about to include a Psionic class, loot and a focus on combat, I'm lead to the conclusion that what they were doing was starting to look like a disaster.
Paramount had nothing to say about the quality of the work when Perpetual went under.
Now Cryptic Studios, a game developer with a much longer track record and success with online games, has picked up the ball and are running with it. According to the official press release they won't be offering screen shots or previews until they have made significant progress. It was rumored that they were picking up the entire STO dev team from Perpetual, but there has been no confirmation. In fact, Cryptic is holding to their word and seem to have given themselves a little time to work on this title before revealing any official info. On their main website there is an ongoing count down set against some concept art that was made for the Star Trek Online title, and it's expected that we'll see some official announcement there when the time elapses. Take a look here: http://crypticstudios.com/
I still have a beef, however. If you were to go to www.startrekonline.com you'd be directed to a lovely logo and a promise: Coming Soon. Not only that, but it seems that the page is still registered to Perpetual. I have some advice for Paramount, the owners of the Star Trek Intellectual Property. Buy it back, take it down, then let Cryptic use it to tell fans what's going on and hear what we have to say. Star Trek fans are very supportive if you give them a forum to express themselves and offer assistance. Many of them are also writers, gamers, industry insiders and may have some really good ideas.
The only way we'll be seeing this game on the market in the next year or two is if Cryptic is keeping a good portion of the work that was done by Perpetual. If that's what's going on I certainly hope that they're keeping the good bits and completely discarding the stuff that just wouldn't feel very Trek. I just don't see myself playing in a Star Trek Universe that is based on a firm class system, focuses on combat, and drives people to search after loot and cash. That's great for something like World of Warcraft, but it's not Trek. Period.
The Star Trek fans are getting irritated with Paramount in general. First Star Trek Online is seriously delayed, then Paramount postpones the release of the new Star Trek film, rescheduling it from December 2008 to May 2009. If this keeps up fans will turn naysayer before they even see new content, they might just expect a disappointment, the next Trek film is an odd number, after all.
Edit: I contacted Paramount for more information on upcoming releases and was referred back to www.startrek.com. Not surprising, but at the bottom of the message was the announcement: Star Trek The Motion Picture, Coming this Christmas! It would be nice if they could at least publicize release dates correctly. As stated above, that film has been delayed until May 2009. That's a pretty late Christmas.