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Stargate SG-1 has had an unprecedented 10 year run. Although the final episode of this hit science-fiction show aired earlier this year, its spinoff -- Stargate: Atlantis -- has been successful enough to enter its third season. Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, in conjunction with MGM Interactive (which owns the rights to the entire franchise), will soon reopen the Stargate and allow its legions of fans to actually live their own adventures.

For those unfamiliar with the story, the two television shows are sequels to the 1994 film starring Kurt Russell. In that movie an alien species called the Goa'uld visited Earth thousands of years ago and set up a Stargate - a device capable of teleporting people across vast distances of space. The primitive people of Earth mistook them for supernatural beings, inadvertently created the Egyptian culture and turned the aliens into the Egyptian pantheon of gods (Ra, Anibus, Osiris, etc.). The main Goa'uld posing as Ra used the "Egyptians" as slave laborers on other planets. Eventually the humans revolted and buried the Stargate, forcing Ra to abandon Earth. In 1928 the gate was rediscovered by an archeologist working in Giza, but it took decades before scientists were able to decipher the gate's coding system. Soon thereafter the military created Stargate Command (SGC) and began sending four-man squads through to explore what was on the other side. During these initial missions ,it was discovered that hundreds of these Stargates exist all across the cosmos and Ra was but one of many Goa'uld System Lords bent on taking over the universe.

The television show is tailor made for an MMORPG because of its continual hunt for new, more powerful technology to fight off the treacherous Goa'uld. In each episode, a team of four characters with completely different skills goes out and overcomes challenges, defeats enemies and obtains new technology. Players on a four-man team meet at SGC, receive their assignment from General Hammond and step through the gate to complete their mission. Using their disparate skills they discover "phat lewt," battle enemies and conquer challenges.

The Stargate Worlds (SGW) story takes place between seasons three and nine of the SG-1 show. Fans will be happy to know that the MMO will tell a whole new story and not rehash events from the TV series. There will also be class and faction storylines, along with a glut of local and larger area quests to pursue. Cheyenne Mountain has been working closely with Brad Wright and Robert Cooper (the creative team behind the television series) to make sure everything is 100% accurate. Players will get to visit locations seen in the show, but only those in the Milky Way, not the Pegasus Galaxy. The ultimate goal for everyone on both sides of the franchise is to reach a point where the game introduces ideas that get put into the television series and vice versa. In fact, the long rumored third television series will likely help facilitate this objective.

The game will focus on three key points: exploration through the Stargates, modern tactical battles via the squad-based combat system and re-playability. Players will be able to play as both factions, which Cheyenne refers to as light and dark sides. On the "light" side you have humans, Asgard (another alien race who visited Earth in its past and accidentally created the Norse mythology) and the free Jaffa. On the "dark" side you can play as bad humans, the Goa'uld, or the Jaffa who remain loyal to their System Lords. Each faction has different character classes. Humans can be any of the classic Stargate team - Soldier, commando, scientist or archeologist. The other races are defined by their particular skill trees. For instance, Jaffa are categorized as melee fighters while the Asgard are characterized as scientists. Cheyenne Mountain thinks this will allow for a great deal of re-playability because each faction and archetype will have a completely different experience.

The game universe will evolve as players inhabit and fight for control over the worlds via the Stargates. Each planet's population will shift their allegiance between the light and dark sides and outside threats (i.e., the Ori) will also play a factor. Missions will let players tip the balance of power on these worlds as well as sway the local people back to their side.

Player versus Environment (PvE) will emphasize exploration with puzzle based missions playing a large roll. Solving puzzles will not only unlock doors and chests, but will often advance the storyline. For instance, players will need to decipher the writing on an alien device in order to make it work (especially the Stargates themselves). To do this the player will be given an interactive mini-game that keeps them in game rather than abruptly yanking them out of their immersive experience. Furthermore, SGW will not be filled with mindless "kill X number of creatures" or "retrieve X number of items" missions. With access Stargates players won't have to walk forever to get to their objective. Completing exploratory missions to one planet may lead to obtaining the correct coordinates to another, thus allowing players to leapfrog across the galaxy.

The development team is aiming for highly dynamic combat. Everything in the shows will be available in the game - from conventional rifles, staff weapons and hand grenades, to mysterious Asgardian and Goa'uld weapons. Player versus Player (PvP) will consist of four-man squads that work together as a team, but players can also fight solo if they choose. Bigger teams called Commands (think Guilds) are planned, and by the time players reach the end game, there will be Command vs. Command wars raging across the universe. The PvP options will allow players to enjoy different characters on both sides of the war, furthering replay possibilities. If fighting isn't your thing it will be possible to go through the game without entering into any sort of combat.

Cheyenne wants players to take their time, explore the game world and enjoy the content they've created, thus players shouldn't feel rushed to reach the end of the game. Aside from planned expansions (Stargate: Atlantis will be the focus of the first), they will be adding new content to lower, previously visited areas to keep the world fresh. Considering this will be the first MMORPG to use the already proven (and incredibly gorgeous) Unreal 3 Graphics Engine, taking one's time to "smell the roses" at it were shouldn't be a problem. Plus, it will only take players roughly two hundred hours to reach the level cap, which isn't very long in the MMO world.

by Eli "The Mad Man" Shayotovich


Stargate Worlds - The Story
Stargate Worlds is a science fiction MMORPG based on the hugely popluar Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis TV series. Its development company, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, is a new kid on the block, but its team of industry veteran members posses a good deal of experience, having collectively shipped over 80 game titles. Stargate Worlds focuses on squad-based ranged combat and utilizes modern and science fiction weaponry, cover and terrain, but also offers a non-combat experience in the forms of detailed crafting and construction gameplay.

Being in the final stages of pre-production until probably late spring, little is known about Stargate Worlds. What is known is that playable areas in the MMO are based on both historical and fictional human time periods, alien environments, and interstellar space locales. Also, the choice to play as one of the ‘Big Four’ races within the Stargate Universe (Human, Jaffa, Goa’uld or Asgard) is planned and the MMOG will adhere to the backstory of the TV series, with players affecting future stories.

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