How would you say you are pushing the MMO envelope with the game?
Elggren: I think what gamers will appreciate the most is our advanced AI. In most games, once you see how an enemy reacts once, you know how they will react every time.
In Stargate Worlds, when you enter a room filled with enemy Jaffa, you will get a different reaction each time based on where you enter the room, how the cover is set up, are they outnumbered and what kind of enemy they are facing.
So, even though we are using the traditional MMO combat interface with hotkeys and tabbed targeting, combat is a new experience that will require tactical use of cover, suppressing fire and manoeuvre for victory. In other words, characters better fight smart, because their enemies will.
You must have a huge amount of source material at your disposal. What particular elements of the Stargate universe have you tapped into?
Elggren: Stargate SG-1 ran for ten seasons, a total of 213 episodes. We identified a few of the things that define Stargate, such as the modern combat, the technology/arms race and the humour, and we really focused on capturing those aspects in our game.
Of those three aspects, humour is probably the most difficult thing to capture in a videogame, but we've got scientists with guns, supermodels with god complexes - the Goa'uld - and archaeologists saving the galaxy. What's not funny about that?
What can we expect in terms of content on launch?
Elggren: In terms of characters, players will be able to choose from seven archetypes. Humans on the light side have four archetypes to choose from, Scientist, Archeologist, Soldier and Commando. Also on the light side are the Jaffa warriors and the Asgard, technologically advanced grey aliens that are allies with the humans in their fight against the Goa'uld.
The dark side mirrors the light side with the four human archetypes and the Jaffa. Instead of the Asgard, the dark side has the Goa'uld, megalomaniacal parasites that take a human host and use scavenged technology to dominate less advanced races.
We'll have dozens of zones to visit at launch of various sizes, but we also have a very aggressive live team plan that will add content on a regular basis.
How does character development operate in Stargate Worlds?
Elggren: Stargate Worlds will use a level system to mark player progression. As characters advance, they will be able to choose skills from a pool. During the skill selection process, they will have to decide if they want to specialize in one skill tree or be a more versatile character by taking skills from a variety of skill trees.
There are obviously pros and cons to both approaches that players will have to balance to seek the right option for their play style.
We have abandoned the old tank/healer/nuker paradigm in favour of a more balanced approach to gameplay, so players who opt for versatility shouldn't be punished for not taking the absolute min/max path for character development.
We've read that combat in the game won't be 'twitch shooter' but more traditional MMO, but you've also spoken of a tactical side to the combat. Could you elaborate on that?
Elggren: The important thing for us is to feel like the combat you see on the show. When the bullets and lasers start flying, you really don't want to be out in the open. The first action most characters will want to take when entering a firefight, even if they are facing off against much lower-level opposition, is to grab some cover.
Battles won't be won on the basis of who has more hit points. Bullets don't really care how many hit points you have. A well planned ambush in Stargate Worlds will allow low-level characters to take down more experienced foes.
We will do these things in an MMORPG-style combat system that is easy to pick up, but difficult to master.